Movie vs. Movie: The A-Team vs. The Losers
By Reagen Sulewski
April 19, 2010
A group of specially trained black ops forces are framed for crimes they didn’t commit, turned into outlaws and forced to fight against the system in order to clear their names, utilizing their improvisational skills to their advantage. As a plot of a movie, that can only be The A-Team … or The Losers.
In this new feature, we pit movie versus movie in order to best identify the placement of your hard-earned movie money for two films that just happen to bear a lot of resemblance to each other – not that Hollywood has a habit of doing things like this (*cough*ArmageddonDeepImpact*coughcough*).
Source Material: For the seven people out there that aren’t aware, The A-Team is based on the 1980s Stephen J. Cannell (also responsible for The Rockford Files, The Greatest American Hero and Hunter, among others) series which made a household name out of Mr. T, which, if memory serves, was all about pitying fools, plans coming together, and building functional Abrams tanks out of spare parts. Ridiculous to the core, it was a cultural phenomenon and now exists mostly as kitsch.
The Losers, meanwhile, enters the world with much less awareness, and baggage. Based on a DC Vertigo comic series (so, read by 18 nerds), it touches on more or less the same plot points and themes, though with a touch less ridiculousness. As a touchstone of culture though, it’s starting from scratch. Advantage: A-Team.
Director: The A-Team is helmed by Joe Carnahan, who rose up through the northern California indie scene to create the cult class Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane, then went to direct the underrated Narc. After pissing off Tom Cruise and getting himself kicked off of Mission: Impossible III, he gave us the dreck of Smokin’ Aces … which is probably worse than disappearing for eight years would have been. Still, we at least know he’s familiar with what overly-testosterone filled action looks like.
The director of The Losers, meanwhile, is Sylvain White, whose work so far includes a straight-to-video erotic thriller, the second sequel to I Know What You Did Last Summer that you didn’t know existed, and the step dancing movie Stomp the Yard. OK, even James Cameron worked for Roger Corman once upon a time, but that’s not the resume of a budding Richard Donner. Stranger things have happen, but Advantage: A-Team.
Team leaders: Stepping into the role of Hannibal, the weather-beaten chief planner of The A-Team, is Liam Neeson. Aside from being a decent ringer for George Peppard, Neeson’s turned himself into a fairly credible bad-ass in the past few years, starting with the villain role in Batman Begins, and most recently in the surprise hit Taken.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan leads The Losers, and is arguably best known as the dad on the WB show Supernatural or as the heart patient Denny on Grey’s Anatomy. I think we can draw our conclusions here, right? Advantage: A-Team.
Muscle: MMA fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson takes on the unenviable task of stepping into an iconic role as B.A. Baracus, which could potentially both make him a laughing stock and end his career before it starts. Judging by the trailer, he’s not going for a straight impression, which is a wise choice, but mostly is taking on the broader elements of the character – jive-talking and quick-tempered with a big heart, and of course a fear of planes.