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The Mr. T Experience 

Making The A-Team a good movie might be mission impossible

There's a good reason Mr. T is more ingrained in your brain than The A-Team, his 1980s TV show about a rogue group of ex-U.S. Army Special Forces. Sure, the series included some over-the-top action during its five seasons. The cigar-chomping Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith and his boys definitely liked to blow shit up. And yeah, the guys got involved in some remarkable missions, fearlessly infiltrating religious cults, busting into prisons, and going head-to-head with military police. But none of this compares to the sheer power of the tough-talking Sergeant Bosco Albert Baracus, played in the show by former bouncer and bodyguard Mr. T.

B.A. — the A-Team's main muscle (and a pretty good mechanic to boot) — didn't take jibba-jabba from anyone. In fact, he pitied the fools who tried to stand up to him. You didn't want to be the sucka who got in his way. A holdover from '70s blaxploitation movies, Bosco was basically Mr. T being Mr. T. Even before he landed his star-making role, the actor sported an outrageous mohawk and wore heaps of gold necklaces and bracelets. He made bling-bling fashionable long before Master P. The persona became so famous that even after The A-Team ended, Mr. T carried on in his own cartoon show and made appearances in various TV programs and commercials, including a cameo on The Simpsons.

When it came time to cast Bosco in the new movie version of The A-Team, director Joe Carnahan (Narc, Smokin' Aces) tapped UFC fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. We'll see on Friday whether or not Jackson has the proper "bad attitude." Filling Mr. T's shoes is no easy task, fool!

The film certainly looks as campy as its small-screen predecessor. "They are the best, and they specialize in the ridiculous," says Captain Carissa Sosa (Jessica Biel) in the movie's trailer. But making a forgettable TV show about soldiers of (mis)fortune into a memorable movie won't be easy. Just look to the ill-conceived and abysmal versions of Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, and The Dukes of Hazzard for proof.

Send feedback to jniesel@clevescene.com.


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