The A-Team (film)

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The A-Team
Neeson, Cooper, Jackson, and Copley stand in a line facing the viewer
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joe Carnahan
Produced by Stephen J. Cannell
Tony Scott
Spike Seldin
Jules Daly
Alex Young
Iain Smith
Screenplay by Joe Carnahan
Brian Bloom
Skip Woods
Based on The A-Team 
by Stephen J. Cannell
Frank Lupo
Starring Liam Neeson
Bradley Cooper
Jessica Biel
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
Sharlto Copley
Patrick Wilson
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Mauro Fiore
Edited by Roger Barton
Jim May
Production
  company
Dune Entertainment
Top Cow Productions
Scott Free Productions
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • June 11, 2010 (2010-06-11)
Running time 117 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $110 million[2][3]
Box office $177,238,796[3][4]

The A-Team is a 2010 American action-comedy film based on the television series of the same name created by Frank Lupo and Stephen J. Cannell. Co-written and directed by Joe Carnahan, the film stars Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson, and Brian Bloom. The film tells the story "The A-Team", a Special Forces team imprisoned for a crime they did not commit, who escape and set out to clear their names. The film was produced by Stephen J. Cannell,[5] Ridley Scott, and Tony Scott.[6][7]

The film had been in development since the mid-1990s, having gone through a number of writers and story ideas, and being put on hold a number of times. Upon its release, the film received mixed reviews from critics[8] and performed slightly below expectations at the box office.[2]

Plot[edit]

John "Hannibal" Smith (Liam Neeson) is held captive in Mexico by two Federal Police officers working for renegade General Javier Tuco. Hannibal escapes and sets out to rescue Templeton "Faceman" Peck (Bradley Cooper), who is held captive at Tuco's ranch. Hannibal saves Face after enlisting fellow Ranger BA Baracus (Quinton Jackson), driving to the rescue in BA's modified GMC Vandura van.[9] Pursued by Tuco, they stop at a nearby Army Hospital to recruit the services of eccentric pilot Howling Mad Murdock (Sharlto Copley). They flee in a medical helicopter, chased by Tuco, in a dogfight that leaves BA with a fear of flying. The battle ends when they lure Tuco's helicopter into American airspace, where it is shot down.

Eight years later in Iraq, Hannibal is contacted by CIA Special Activities Division operative Lynch (Patrick Wilson), who assigns them a black ops mission to recover U.S. Treasury plates and over $1 billion in cash from Iraqi insurgents slated to move it out of Baghdad in an armored convoy. Hannibal's commanding officer, General Morrison (Gerald McRaney), consents to the operation but Face's former lover, DCIS Capt. Charissa Sosa (Jessica Biel), tries to discourage the team against getting the plates. The mission is successful; when the team returns to base, however, the money and Morrison's vehicle are destroyed by Brock Pike (Brian Bloom) and his men from the private security firm Black Forest. Without Morrison (the only proof that they were authorized to act), Hannibal, Face, Murdock, and BA are court martialed where they are sentenced to ten years in prison and dishonorably discharged. Sosa also ended up court martialed and is demoted to lieutenant.

Six months later, Lynch visits Hannibal in prison and tells him that Pike may be trying to sell the plates with the help of an Arab backer. Hannibal, who has been tracking Pike on his own, makes a deal with Lynch: full reinstatement and clean records for his team in return for the plates. Lynch agrees and Hannibal escapes, breaking out Face, BA, and Murdock in the process. Sosa is hot on the team's trail. The team hijacks a military Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft, which is later shot down by Reaper UCAVs, but not before the team flies away in a tank stashed aboard and make it to the ground safely. The team moves to reclaim the plates and kidnap Pike's backer. It is revealed that the backer is actually General Morrison, who plotted with Lynch and Pike to steal the plates but teamed up with Pike to double-cross Lynch and fake his death. Lynch orders an airstrike to kill the team and Morrison, but the team manages to escape.

Hannibal arranges to meet Sosa on board a container ship at the Los Angeles docks, saying he will hand over Morrison and the plates. Face then calls Sosa on a drop phone he planted on her at the train station, and conspires a different plan with her. It all unfolds according to plan until Pike, who is now working with Lynch, blows up the container ship and chases Face to near death. BA finally gives up his pacifist ways and kills Pike, saving Face. Hannibal leads Lynch into a container with Murdock, who, wearing a covered bullet-proof helmet, is portraying Morrison. Lynch shoots at Murdock’s head, believing that he is killing Morrison, and is later tricked into admitting that he stole the plates, and is subsequently arrested by Sosa.

The CIA agents led by a man named "Lynch" (Jon Hamm) comes and claims custody of the other Lynch. Despite their success, the military still arrests the team for escaping from prison. Sosa is reinstated to captain, but she promises to do all she can to set the team free and kisses Face as everybody is led into a prison van. In the van, Face opens his mouth and reveals a handcuff key, given to him by Sosa through the kiss. The final scene includes a narration (spoken by Corey Burton) that is similar to the show's opening narration.

Cast[edit]

In a post-credits scene, original series actors Dirk Benedict (Face) and Dwight Schultz (Murdock) have cameos with their film equivalents Bradley Cooper and Sharlto Copley. Benedict plays Face's fellow tanning bed client, credited as "Pensacola Prisoner Milt," and Schultz plays one of two neurologists observing Murdock during a shock-therapy session.

Production[edit]

The entire film was shot at various locations in Canada including Kamloops, Cache Creek and Ashcroft,[13] British Columbia, with much of the studio works being done at Mammoth Studios.[11][14][15][16] Other footage was included as well, such as aerial shots of Cologne (though falsely referred to as Frankfurt in the movie).[17] Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake is also featured in the German escape scene where a number of base buildings and landmarks are clearly visible, as is the false canopy painted under the CF-188s.[citation needed] The Royal Canadian Air Force along with some USMC squadrons are the only Hornet users to have the false canopy painted on the bottom.[citation needed] American markings were digitally added later.[citation needed] The Hawaii Mars Martin Mars water bomber, based at Sproat Lake, British Columbia, is also used in one scene of the movie to cross the Atlantic.

Development[edit]

The film had been in development since the mid-1990s, going through a number of writers and story ideas, and being put on hold a number of times. Producer Stephen J. Cannell hoped to update the setting, perhaps using the Gulf War as part of the backstory.[18][19] John Singleton was initially assigned to direct, but in October 2008 he pulled out of the project.[20] When Singleton was still attached to the project as director, Ice Cube was approached for the role of B.A. Baracus.[21]

The production budget for the film was $110 million,[3][4] but the cost came in at $100 million after tax credits.[2]

Casting[edit]

In June 2009, Variety revealed that Liam Neeson was in negotiations with 20th Century Fox to star as Hannibal Smith,[22] and Bradley Cooper announced to MTV News[23] that he would be playing the role of Templeton Peck after he first denied the rumors saying that he was not involved and insisted that he had not seen any script.[24]

On August 26, 2009, MMAjunkie.com reported that mixed martial arts fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson would play the role of B.A. Baracus in the upcoming film,[25] but this was later denied by a representative for Jackson.[26] In September 2009, The Vancouver Sun suggested that Jackson has been attached to the role and was postponing his fight at UFC 107 with Rashad Evans due to filming for The A-Team. Filming started in Vancouver in late 2009, and Jackson's involvement was then confirmed.[27][28]

On September 15, 2009, Variety confirmed the casting of Neeson, Cooper and Jackson. They additionally reported that Sharlto Copley and Jessica Biel were in final negotiations to join the cast. Copley would be playing the role of H.M. Murdock and Biel would be playing the ex-lover of Face who is a disillusioned and ruthless Army officer in charge of pursuing the team.[29] 20th Century Fox later confirmed that Copley and Biel were cast in the film.[11]

On September 30, 2009, Liam Neeson and the rest of the cast were seen filming scenes in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, as shooting got under way.[30] The first official pictures of Neeson, Cooper, Copley and Jackson in character were soon released, including one which features the iconic van in the background.[16]

On October 30, 2009, Dwight Schultz confirmed that he had filmed a cameo scene for the movie.[31] This news was followed on the November 23, 2009, that Dirk Benedict would also make a cameo.[32] Schultz and Benedict played Howling Mad Murdock and Templeton Peck respectively in the original series. Mr. T, the original BA Baracus, did not appear in the film. In an interview with Wendy Williams, he said he did not like doing a cameo appearance in a film based on the original series he once did.

Music[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

The A-Team: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Alan Silvestri
Released June 21, 2010 (2010-06-21)
Genre Film score
Length 72:28
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer Alan Silvestri
Alan Silvestri chronology
A Christmas Carol
(2009)
The A-Team
(2010)
Captain America: The First Avenger
(2011)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [33]

The soundtrack album of The A-Team was released on June 21, 2010, by Varèse Sarabande.[citation needed] On December 1, 2009, it was announced that Alan Silvestri would compose the film score.[34] Silvestri recorded his score with a 90-piece ensemble of the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Newman Scoring Stage at 20th Century Fox.[35]

All music composed by Alan Silvestri unless stated otherwise.

No. Title Length
1. "Somewhere in Mexico" (Uses original The A-Team Theme composed by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter) 2:12
2. "Saving Face"   3:32
3. "Alpha Mike Foxtrot"   4:29
4. "Welcome to Baghdad"   4:22
5. "The Plan"   6:11
6. "Court Martial"   3:09
7. "Putting the Team Back Together"   3:39
8. "Flying a Tank"   6:10
9. "Frankfurt"   4:11
10. "Retrieving the Plates"   4:09
11. "Safehouse"   3:50
12. "Safehouse Aftermath"   4:58
13. "Shell Game"   2:44
14. "The Docks (Part 1)"   7:35
15. "The Docks (Part 2)"   5:47
16. "I Love It When a Plan Comes Together" (Uses original The A-Team Theme composed by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter) 5:26

Songs used in the film are:

Marketing[edit]

Comics[edit]

In February 2010, it was announced a series of comics for the movie would be released beginning in March. Written by Carnahan and Chuck Dixon, the series, The A-Team: War Stories is a prequel to the film, featuring one-shots focusing each on Hannibal, Face, BA, and Murdock.[36] A second series, The A-Team: Shotgun Wedding, is a tie-in to the film by showing an all-new adventure set after the quartet escaped. Film director Joe Carnahan and Tom Waltz collaborated to pen the series.

Jazwares released a line of action figures featuring the four main characters, plus the GMC Vandura.

Video game[edit]

An application for the iPhone was released as part of the marketing blitz for the film. The A-Team application is a side-scrolling, third person, action shooter game. Produced by RealNetworks the game includes voice-overs from B.A. Baracus.[37]

Release[edit]

The film's first trailer was released January 8, 2010.[38][citation needed] The film's second trailer was released April 1, 2010.[39] The film premiered in Los Angeles on Thursday June 3, 2010, at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Liam Neeson arrived in The A-Team custom Chevrolet G20 van; Bradley Cooper and Sharlto Copley rode in on a real U.S. Army tank.[40][41] The film opened nationwide on June 11, 2010.[42]

The film premiered in the United Kingdom on July 27, before going on general release the next day. The event was attended by the four team members along with Jessica Biel, and the A-Team van.[43]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on December 14, 2010 on DVD and Blu-ray.[44] It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 27 in Australia and on November 29, 2010 in the UK. An extended cut was also released, pushing the running time to 133 minutes.[45] Two of the most noteworthy additions in the extended cut were the two cameo scenes of the original Face and Murdock, which were pushed back after the end credits in the original cut due to pacing.[46]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The film received mixed reviews.[8] Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 47% based on reviews from 203 critics, with an average rating of 5.4/10.[47] The site's critical consensus is: "For better and for worse, Joe Carnahan's big-screen version of The A-Team captures the superficial, noisy spirit of the TV series."[47] Another aggregator Metacritic calculated a weighted average score of 47% based on 37 reviews.[8]

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly says of the film: "It's trash so compacted it glows".[48] Richard Corliss of Time magazine calls the film "the best in a mediocre line-up of summer-action flicks". He goes on to say the film lacks "a coherent plot and complex characterization", though he does note that these qualities "are irrelevant to the genre".[49] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine calls the film, "big, loud, ludicrous and edited into visual incomprehension", but "pity the fool who lets that stand in the way of enjoying The A-Team".[50] In contrast, Lou Lumenick of the New York Post, who titled his piece "Pity the fool who sees 'The A-Team'", is among the most critical, calling the film "overlong, overblown and utterly forgettable."[51] The Hollywood Reporter criticizes the film's story, character development and logic, calling it "nearly writer-free",[52] while The St. Petersburg Times was far more positive, calling the film "literally a blast" from start to finish, and praises it for "containing more thrills than the average shoot-em-up".[53]

Film critic Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times said The A-Team is an incomprehensible mess, criticizing the film for being as shallow as the television series, which he describes as "punishment" when drawn out to a two-hour long film.[54] Stephen Whitty of The Star-Ledger complains the film makers remembered little more from the television series than a Dirty Dozen gimmick and compares the film to the "awful" Smokin' Aces by the same director.[55]

Comments by original cast[edit]

Dirk Benedict, who played Templeton Peck in the TV series, spoke of regretting his cameo, stating "You'll miss me if you blink. I kind of regret doing it because it's a non-part. They wanted to be able to say, 'Oh yeah, the original cast are in it,' but we're not. It is three seconds. It's kind of insulting."[56]

Mr. T, the original B. A. Baracus, was offered a cameo, but turned it down.[57] In a 2010 interview with Script magazine director Joe Carnahan reported that Mr. T, after viewing scenes from the film, thought the final product was "the greatest thing in the world".[58] After the premiere of the film Mr. T allegedly stated that he had become disillusioned and felt the story emphasized sex and violence, and that it was unfaithful to the original series.[59] An attorney for Mr. T later stated that the actor had not yet seen the film and could not comment on it.[60]

Dwight Schultz, who played the TV series' "Howling Mad" Murdock, issued a statement to his official fansite that the film "pays homage to the series while it eschews its essential working premise: a band of capable military brothers for hire determined to save underdog and usually poor civilians from scum." However, Schultz did acknowledge that the movie is not faithful to the TV series. "The team characters are sufficiently different and, with so many roles reversed from the original, one could say they are not really derivative, save for their names." He also noted that Sharlto Copley's Murdock "is faithful to the original, but at the same time is big screen twisted and right at home with the new team."

In the psychiatric hospital scene, Reginald Barclay, Schultz's character from Star Trek: The Next Generation, is credited during the opening title of a film, as is G.F. Starbuck, referencing Lieutenant Starbuck, Benedict's character from the original Battlestar Galactica.[61]

Box office[edit]

The film had an average[disputed ] performance at the box office. It fell slightly short of expectations for its opening weekend, earning $26 million, as opposed to the initially predicted $30–35 million.[2] The film opened behind The Karate Kid, which took in $56 million.[62][63] The film opened in the UK./Ireland on July 28, 2010, and came at No. 3 in at the box office with a first weekend haul of $5.6 million.[3] As of August 26, 2010, The A-Team has taken over $77 million at the U.S. box office, and $99 million internationally, for a worldwide total of over $176 million.[3]

Canceled sequel[edit]

Neeson, Cooper, Copley, and Jackson have expressed interest in doing a sequel.[64][65] Joe Carnahan has expressed interest in directing a sequel and said it will depend on DVD and Blu-ray sales and rentals.[66] On March 10, 2011, Cooper stated that the film had not generated enough revenue for there to be a sequel.[67] This was confirmed by Liam Neeson in a webchat.[68] Neeson later commented in early 2012 that he understood why the film was not successful: "I watched it about two months ago and I found it a little confusing and I was in the thing. I just couldn’t figure out who was who and what’s been done to him and why, a little bit."[69] Later in 2013 Carnahan said on his Twitter account "For the record guys and as much as I appreciate all the A-TEAM love. There will NOT be a sequel. It didn't make enough $$$ and that's that."[70]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ASIN B002ZG994U, The A-Team (2010)
  2. ^ a b c d Fritz, Ben (June 10, 2010). "Movie projector: 'The Karate Kid' and 'The A-Team' fight it out in battle of the '80s". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved 2010-06-10. "on track to sell between $30 million and $35 million worth of tickets at the box office this weekend, people who have seen pre-release polling results say." 
  3. ^ a b c d e The A-Team at Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2010-08-26.
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  10. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (2009-10-16). "EXCLUSIVE: Jessica Biel Reveals New Details About Her 'A-Team' Character". MTV Movies Blog. Viacom.  (Video)
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  12. ^ Lemire, Christy (2010-06-09). "Surprisingly, movie version of '80s TV series 'The A-Team' is flat-out fun". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2010-07-23. [dead link]
  13. ^ Mike Youds. "A Team advance team in town". 
  14. ^ "Past Productions | TNFC". Tnrdfilm.com. Retrieved 2011-10-31. 
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  17. ^ "Welcome to Frankfurt, Norway: New 'A-Team' Film Gets 'F' for Geography". SPIEGEL Online International. 2010-08-17. Retrieved 2010-08-18. 
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  33. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r1819532
  34. ^ "Alan Silvestri has been slated to score 'The A-Team' for director Joe Carnahan". 2009-12-01.  cf. "Alan Silvestri slated to score 'The A-Team'". Movie Score Magazine. 2009-12-02. 
  35. ^ Goldwasser, Dan (August 4, 2010). "Alan Silvestri scores The A-Team". ScoringSessions.com. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  36. ^ "THE A-TEAM Comic Book Series Will Act as a Prequel to the Movie". Collider.com. 2010-02-23. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
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  41. ^ Thomson, Katherine (2010-06-04). "'A-Team' Premiere: Bradley Cooper In A Tank, Liam Neeson & Jessica Biel (PHOTOS)". The Huffington Post. 
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  44. ^ http://www.cinemablend.com/dvdnews/The-A-Team-Blows-Up-Blu-Ray-December-14th-27763.html {Press release}
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  52. ^ Honeycutt, Kirk (2010-10-14). "The A-Team". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  53. ^ Persall, Steve. "The A-Team". St. Petersburg Times. 
  54. ^ Ebert, Roger. "A-Team". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  55. ^ Whitty, Stephen (June 11, 2010). "'The A-Team' movie review: Revisiting TV's 'A-Team' without a plan". The Star-Ledger (Newark). 
  56. ^ Wightman, Catriona (May 17, 2010). "Cult - News - Dirk Benedict criticises 'BSG' remake". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  57. ^ "News: Exclusive: Sorry Fans, Mr. T Will Not Appear In The A-Team Remake". Latino Review. 2009-12-24. Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  58. ^ "There is No Plan B: Roundtable with The A-Team Writers", Script 16 (3), May/June 2010, p. 46 sqq.; cf. William Martell, Script Magazine interview of The A-Team movie creators" (part 2) on YouTube
  59. ^ "News: Mr. T Is Not a Fan of the New 'A-Team'". 
  60. ^ Bierly, Mandi (2010-06-10). "Mr. T denies saying 'A-Team' movie is 'too graphic'". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved 2010-07-23. 
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  63. ^ "The A-Team". Box Office Mojo. 
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  69. ^ Howell, Peter (2012-01-26). "Liam Neeson’s an action man for all seasons - thestar.com". thestar.com. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  70. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

External images
Gallery of promotional images at Box Office Mojo
A-Team Poster
Cast group
Quentin Jackson as BA Baracus
Jessica Biel as Charissa Sosa