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Mr. T, after all of this time, still pities the fools; and there's no case that he pities them greater than that of the 2010 film adaptation of The A-Team. In fact, Mr. T recently chalked up the film's lack of success to one, key factor that was missing from the film's arsenal: the power of the T himself.
During a conversation with Uproxx, the 80's icon who originated the role of B.A. Baracus had some choice remarks to make about Joe Carnahan's allegedly tepid take on the classic television show. Most importantly, Mr. T's rant about the recasting of his memorable role is an incredible, and totally believable, theory as to why the project failed to catch. His hypothesis is as follows:
The A-Team movie, people would even tell you: boy did we make a mistake trying to get somebody to replace Mr. T. There’s nothing like the real thing. There’s too many perpetrators. There’s only one Mr. T. They learned the hard way. You can’t just put a guy with muscles and the haircut in there. They learned. They learned, when it got beat at the box office. People went to the movies and said, ‘That fool ain’t Mr. T.’
Indeed the "fool" playing B.A. Baracus in The A-Team movie was not Mr. T, rather it was MMA fighter turned actor Quentin "Rampage" Jackson. Now certainly, while Mr. Jackson's primary vocation is beating people to a sound pulp in The Octagon, could his performance really been all that bad? Well, to test Mr. T's theory, let's compare the two variations of Baracus' character, and see what we find. For starters, let's look at Jackson's 2010 variant from Joe Carnahan's The A-Team:
Forgiving the fact that this scene is one of action and panic, Quentin Jackson throws the word "fool" around quite a bit. While that was Mr. T's strong suit back in the day, it wasn't as out of control as it was in this short instance of footage. Not to mention, while B.A. Baracus was afraid of even the mere prospect of flying, he tried not to fly off the handle too much when in an unfavorable situation. The bottom line is while Jackson's performance was fun, it still didn't have the polish and style that Mr. T brought to the role. You can compare for yourself with some footage of the original B.A. Baracus, complete with Mr. T's classic variety of delivery.
Mr. T's variation on B.A. Baracus is in charge of his fear, despite the fact that he is slowly losing his grip on the fear that prevents him from flying. But even throughout the ruse that George Peppard's Hannibal engages in with the intent of knocking Baracus out enough to get him on a plane, he doesn't shout at the situation. Rather, he speaks with a firm tone of disapproval, followed by some quick physical action when negotiations break down. It may not be Shakespeare, but what Mr. T could do with Baracus at the height of his career was a good part of the reason why The A-Team became enough of a legend that it seemed like a natural candidate for a film adaptation.
Like any iconic actor linked to that one performance that they made 100% their own, Mr. T is, and always will be, the genuine B.A. Baracus. While many may try to replicate the magic and the majesty of the man himself, you really have to pity the fool that tries to think they can actually pull it off.