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Popular 80s TV Show Gets All-Star Makeover in 'The A-Team'


" I love it when a plan comes together," is the signature line of Col. Hannibal Smith, the leader of the A-Team. (Left to right) Bradley Cooper as Templeton "Face" Peck; UFC light heavyweight Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as B.A. Baracas; Sharlto Copley as H.

" I love it when a plan comes together," is the signature line of Col. Hannibal Smith, the leader of the A-Team. (Left to right) Bradley Cooper as Templeton "Face" Peck; UFC light heavyweight Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as B.A. Baracas; Sharlto Copley as H.

An action-packed TV show that was a worldwide hit in the 1980's finally makes it to the big screen in a slam-bang escapade that reintroduces the roster of favorite characters and - if their plan comes together - could launch a franchise with many more adventures to come. Here's a look at the movie version of The A-Team.

U.S. Army colonel 'Hannibal' Smith leads his squad of special forces troops into the most dangerous situations, always with a meticulous plan and ready to do what it takes to stop the bad guys. When his "Alpha Team" gets framed for war crimes …something they did not and would not do …they escape from prison, join together again and fight to clear their names while also continuing to take down the bad guys.

Oscar-nominee Liam Neeson stars as Hannibal, leader of The A-Team.

"These guys know no fear and that's really interesting," Neeson says. "I'm scared when I wake up in the morning, just over what the day is going to entail, but it's interesting what these guys do. They actually are not scared. I think that's an amazing quality. I'd love to have that quality in real life."

Neeson recalls the original TV series was popular when he was a young actor making his mark on the Irish stage; but he admits it was not one of his favorites.

"It was very, very popular [but] to be honest, it wasn't my cup of tea," he admits. "I was in my 20's and was in professional theater; but my nieces and nephews were crazy about it. It was hugely successful and popular and still is in re-runs."

Co-writer/director Joe Carnahan reviews a scene with Liam Neeson on the set of The A-Team

Co-writer/director Joe Carnahan reviews a scene with Liam Neeson on the set of The A-Team

Co-writer and director Joe Carnahan says he shared Neeson's attitude toward the TV series.

"I was not the biggest fan of the show as a kid so I think that probably helped because I didn't have all these things I had to pay homage to," Carnahan says.

On the other hand, Sharlto Copley, who starred in the 2009 smash "District 9" and plays The A-Team daredevil pilot "Murdock," says the popular TV show was a major influence on him growing up in South Africa and actually sparked his interest in acting.

"I was a huge fan of The A-Team as a child," Copley says. "There was very little I could do as a fan in terms of what the film was going to do, what the script was going to do; but I just brought everything I could to try to honor a character that was a big part of my childhood and, I think, was a big part of a lot of other peoples' childhoods. I hope from my section of playing Murdock that I've done that for people.

"The interesting thing about the character is, although on the one hand he's very comedic, there's a lightness [and] when you view the world through those kind of eyes, nothing is actually as serious as you might think," Copley adds.

Face (Bradley Cooper) left, and Hannibal (Liam Neeson) plot their next move during their climactic showdown with their enemies

Face (Bradley Cooper) left, and Hannibal (Liam Neeson) plot their next move during their climactic showdown with their enemies

Bradley Cooper is the daring and dashing member of the team nicknamed "Face".

"I love 'Face.' I love his sort of child-like enjoyment of what he did," Cooper says. "He's the first guy in and the last guy out and he'd die for his friends in a heartbeat. I really loved playing that guy."

Cooper adds that it wasn't all fun and games: some serious fighting and weapons training was involved.

"I found myself discovering new bruises every time I came home at night. Epsom Salts were my savior on this movie. I still have a scar, actually, from the training. I got banged up on this movie," he says.

Liam Neeson also had his share of injuries making the over-the-top adventure seem real.

"I tore my rotator cuff in the first week bursting through the van in the opening sequence," Neeson says. "So I had a dead arm for about three months. It was awfully painful, but the guys rallied round and I don't think you'd notice."

Clockwise from left: Face (Bradley Cooper), Murdock (Sharlto Copley), Hannibal (Liam Neeson) and B.A. (Quinton "Rampage" Jackson) make sure their plan comes together

Clockwise from left: Face (Bradley Cooper), Murdock (Sharlto Copley), Hannibal (Liam Neeson) and B.A. (Quinton "Rampage" Jackson) make sure their plan comes together

In fact, says Neeson, it was the camaraderie in character as well as off-screen, that made the experience memorable for him and Neeson believes that comes through to the audience.

"Something clicked. We all liked each other and liked being with each other and looked forward to going to work every day. It was as simple as that …and as complex as that," he says.

"I love it when a plan comes together."

The A-Team also features Jessica Biel as an Army intelligence officer who has a history with members of the team. Mixed martial arts fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is 'B.A. Barracus" (Mr. T's character in the original TV show); and Patrick Wilson is a less-than honorable spy who attempts to sidetrack these do-gooders.

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