In which the team are captured, but there are four more seasons left.
On the set of cheap B-Movie, a rough old woman who’s missing a tooth for some reason is being frightened by a monster jumping out a dumpster. Suddenly, the scene is interrupted by the arrival of Colonel Lynch (in person this time). He’s worked out that Hannibal is starring in the film under the name of Lynch, which everyone tells him is a terrible name.
The MPs apprehend the monster only to remove his mask and reveal a black man who’s very clearly not John ‘Hannibal’ Smith. Turns out Hannibal was playing the old woman and he’s now escaping on a motorbike in full costume. Hannibal races through the streets of LA to pick up Face, who’s busy womanising and dodging questions about why he’s always leaving for weeks at a time.
The pursuit continues and we get the most obvious use of a dummy hanging on to the back of a stunt driver I’ve ever seen. The fake Face has no weight to it at all, it must be inflatable as it just floats above the bike clearly tapped to the driver’s back. I’m hoping the director was in on the joke as we get two or three lingering shots of the bike jumping in the air with floaty-Face almost ready to take to the skies like a helium balloon.
Not far away, BA is corned by some MPs but bursts out of a garage, weirdly in a car and not his van. We soon find out why when he has to crash to avoid running over Hannibal and inflatable Face. After a decade of trying, Colonel Lynch has got his men.
The victory is short-lived, as a Government agent played by the wonderfully named Alan Fudge, orders Lynch away to speak to the A-Team privately. It turns out a US General they knew in Vietnam has been captured in Borneo trying to rescue his daughter from a warlord called Rashaad. The army can’t risk a mission ‘on the books’, so he’ll offer the A-Team release if they go bring them both back.
While Hannibal is immediately onboard, BA and Face aren’t so happy. BA has beef with the General and once punched him in the nose, plus he won’t fly to Borneo anyway. Face meanwhile doesn’t think the offer is good enough and considers jail might be better than just starting again where they were before Lynch caught them. It’s a great moment to see the way the three deal differently with their situation. It’s clear Hannibal is happy as a vigilante; it gives him the jazz he needs. BA doesn’t seem to mind but Face is tired of running and wants a normal life. We even have the agent describing their story as “a ten year-old crime no-one remembers”, hinting that it’s really Lynch with the agenda and no so much the government any more.
Outside, Amy and Murdock watch the team being escorted to the airfield. Amy heard about the arrest at her paper and was able to contact Murdock who promptly escaped for his low-security hospital. Cameo fans will enjoy a young Denis Haysbert as an orderly at the VA. Haysbert would go on to play President Palmer in 24.
As Amy and Murdock tail the team, we hear some weirdly dialogue dubbed over each car explaining what’s going on. It feels like they forgot to film a scene or they didn’t think it was clear what was going on and got the actors back later to force some awkward exposition over the cars.
Murdock steals a plane and Amy forces herself aboard (always good to see the bold Amy we usually miss out on). Everyone parachutes out over Borneo, with BA unconscious and the two groups still separated with Hannibal unaware Murdock is nearby. To cap the scene, we cut to some incredibly grainy stock footage of a very different plane crashing into the sea.
With only a few hours before extraction, Hannibal, BA and Face locate the enemy base and begin a pincer attack on the main headquarters. Against the odds, they’re successful in storming the building but find out they’ve only conquered the kitchen. The warlord Rashaad captures them and throws them into a building with the General and his daughter.
Refusing to film confessions that they are US agents, the team are sentenced to be shot in one hour. Thankfully that’s plenty of time for them to notice some explosive barrels and disassemble one of the beds over a short montage of hand acting to create a spring-loaded catapult.
Despite his best attempts, Hannibal isn’t taken out first for execution but Face instead. BA shoots a barrel, splining gasoline onto the floor but Face can’t spit his cigarette far enough to ignite it. As the firing squad take aim, Amy manages to shoot a flare gun at the explosives to save his life.
As the compound falls into chaos and smoke from more flares, the team begin to climb aboard Rashaad’s helicopter. BA refuses but is hit over the head by the General, happy to get his revenge, and Face managed to leap onto the landing skids and holds tight as the team flies away to safety.
Perhaps surprisingly, the government keeps their end of the bargain and allow the team to escape (in the van this time). Unfortunately for them, they manage to drive past Lynch who immediately begins the chase and we’re back to where we started. Freeze frame on Hannibal’s wry smile.
Let’s wrap up with a few key questions.
Does Hannibal wear a disguise?
Yes and it’s a double bluff. Instead of being the monster, he’s an old bag lady with a blacked out tooth who escapes on a motorbike.
Does BA get on a plane?
Yes. He’s knocked out when Hannibal spikes his milk and parachuted into Borneo.
Should someone be dead?
Just like in West Coast Turnaround I’m going to say no. The bike/car crash at the start wasn’t enough to kill any of the team and the battle at Rashaad’s compound is explosive but never looks deadly.
One More Time is a solid but lacking episode for me. The idea is great, the government recruiting the team for a mission, and there are a lot of great moments with Hannibal’s disguise, Lynch capturing the team, Face almost getting killed and Amy has a real impact. Despite that, it doesn’t quite hang together as the previous run of adventures have.
On top of that are the noticeably production issues. The A-Team was never about film-quality visuals but the ropey Face mannequin, the stock plane crash and dubbing are enough to take you out of the story just enough that you lose some momentum.
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