About this blog

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire ... The A-Team.

This was the introduction to one of the great TV series of the eighties. The purpose of this blog is to build up the definitive episode guide to the show across its five seasons which ran from 1983 to 1987. So this isn't too much of a burden, I'm intending to watch a couple of episodes a week and given that there were around 100 episodes made during its run, this will turn into a year-long project!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The Maltese Cow s2ep12

co-starring: James Hong as Wan Chu, Paul Mantee as Chris Thomas, John Milford as Detective, Peter Kwong as Tommy Chen, Keye Luke as Sam Yeng
Written by Thomas Szollosi, Richard Christian Matheson
Directed by Dennis Donnelly

The team fight Chinese gangsters who have wrecked a restaurant of which they are part-owners.

A strong episode from a strong season, this enjoyable tale gets a lot of mileage from the clash of styles between the more rigid approach of the Chinese bad guys and the more fly-by-night A-Team. The story is fairly standard but the script is peppered with dialogue that bristles with snappy remarks and sharp comebacks. Referring early on to the men who wrecked the restaurant, Hannibal states in grizzled tones, “If they walk on two legs and breathe air, they can eat dirt and do the chicken like everyone else”.

All A-Team episodes were shot in and around LA and here that is an advantage as it is also the setting, allowing for plenty of location filming which gives the story a real sense of place. There’s a classic A-Team infiltration as they bluff their way into the dragon’s lair (so to speak) and come face-to-face with Hong, who makes an excellent villain.

The various fights play up on the difference between A-Team fists and Chinese karate, notably sending BA flying through the air for a change. There’s also a great Raiders-style gag in which BA is confronted by a sword-wielding henchman and just knocks him out (“Ai-ya that, sucker!”)

Murdock is on a Philip Marlowe kick in this one, something which memorably pays off in the final scene when BA gets in on the act. Good fun. 8/10

1 comment:

  1. A few well-known Asian actors appear in this episode. Sam Yeng is played by the late Keye Luke ("Gremlins"); Wan Chu is played by James Hong ("Blade Runner" + over 300 roles in movies and TV); Ling is played by former professional wrestler "Professor" Toru Tanaka ("The Running Man" + two dozen other film roles).

    Al Leong ("Lethal Weapon," "Die Hard") makes an uncredited appearance as one of the Lung Chin's thugs on the boat. He would appear in two more A-Team episodes in Season Four: "Lease with an Option to Die," and "Mind Games" (which also featured James Hong).

    One of my only complaints about this episode is that both of Mr. T's face-offs against Toru Tanaka only lasted a few seconds!

    The police station sequence is the episode's highlight for me, and is one of Hannibal's best "on the jazz" moments.