In which we ain’t afraid of no cab.
Winston from Ghostbusters has opened a taxi firm, but a rival company is trying to put him out of business. One of his drivers gets a call and takes a fare to an obvious trap, he’s surrounded by henchmen until Michael Ironside (paying Miller Crane but I’ll be calling him Michael Ironside) comes out to strike fear into the cabby. The cab is torched and it looks like Lone Star Cabs in out of business.
We find out that the company has tried to contact the A-Team as a last resort, but having met Mr Lee there’s been no other contact. They reported Michael Ironside, who owns the Love Cab Company, to the commission and he’s waged war against them ever since.
Fortunately, the cabbies get a visit from Clarence Wickersham III who offers to lend them enough money to rebuild, in exchange for 10% of the business. Winston accepts and to no-one’s surprise, Clarence reveals himself to be Hannibal.
The team’s first action is to replace the cabs destroyed by the Love Cab Company. Typically, Hannibal finds a unique solution – stealing three new cabs on their way to their rivals. The cars don’t seem to be tied down to the transporter and Hannibal, Murdock and Face each drive one away. BA is waiting nearby to respray the cabs to Lone Stare colours.
We’re introduced to a few new characters as cab drivers, firstly Murdock as Captain Cab and sidekick Socky then BA’s talking fist Knockout. The team set out to start picking up fares with Amy as a dispatcher.
It’s not long before a Love cabbie tries to steal BA’s passengers, commenting “you’re a big one” for BA to reply, “more to the point, I’m a mean one sucker”.
There’s soon a chase on, with Amy sending Hannibal and Face as backup but all three end up forced off the road by the Love Cabbies – Hannibal’s car even flipping onto its roof in a spectacle stunt. Of course, everyone survives, despite not one o them wearing a seatbelt. Simpler times the 1980s.
Having been roundly beaten, Hannibal heads off as Clarence Wickersham III to confront Michael Ironside at his lavish home. There’s a good wheeze when Face complains about taking his new Corvette in and Hannibal says he’ll “ask them to shoot around it” – as everyone does in The A-Team anyway.
At Ironside’s house, we also meet his henchman Leon from Blade Runner (Brion James) and his much younger girlfriend. Face leaves a bill for the replacement of cabs, other damages and interest. As ever, there’s no deal and the team escape in the van to prepare for the final act battle.
We enjoy a montage of a cab being stripped and armoured, while Face vents some rare frustration about Murdock only to be reassured by Hannibal. The two then drive over to the Love Cab Company headquarters and shoot up most of the cars, drawing Michael Ironside makes the classic error of deciding to lead the attack on Lone Star Cabs himself. As he does so, Murdock breaks into his safe and relieves him of a pile of cash.
At the Lone Star depot, there’s a short battle until BA plays a game of chicken in his armoured cab, flipping his opponent’s car over and winning the taxicab war.
We end with Face smooching one of Winston’s cabbies and a monologue to the camera from Socky until we freeze on BA’s bejewelled hand grabbing him.
Let’s wrap up with a few key questions.
Does Hannibal wear a disguise?
Yes. He twice dresses as wealthy businessman Clarence Wickersham III to test the Lone Star Cab Company and later to confront Michael Ironside. We also hear Mr Lee mentioned.
Does BA get on a plane?
No, a very grounded episode.
Should someone be dead?
Yes. None of the team are wearing seatbelts when they get forced off the road by the Love Cab driver – Hannibal even flips upside down.
The Taxicab Wars is a perfect episode of The A-Team, with a brilliant mix of underdogs, oppressive businessmen and starring roles for both Ernie Hudson and Michael Ironside. By taking the case of a struggling taxi firm, the team get to both help out a small business under pressure and set up a range of impressive car stunts.
BA is on top form arguing with Murdock and introducing his talking fist, Knockout. We also get a rare period of uncertainty from Face as he questions Murdock’s fitness for the mission. Seeing Hannibal pit himself against legendary 80’s villain Michael Ironside is a treat, it’s just a shame we don’t get more Winston to enjoy as the world-weary cab company owner.
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