On Friday ‘The A-Team’ movie was released in cinema’s, and with former UFC light-heavyweight champion Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson taking on the role of B.A Baracus, it’s another sign of mixed martial arts move towards becoming a mainstream sport.
The reviews for the film have been mixed with aggregate sites rottentomatoes.com and metacritic.com having awarded it 53% and 46% respectively.
Meanwhile it’s somewhat ironic to note that a film based on martial arts – ‘Karate Kid – The Return’, which was released on the same day, looks to have stolen the films thunder, pushing the film into second place in the charts by taking double ‘The A-Team’s’ $9.65 million opening day haul in the U.S.
It’s early days but that estimate indicates it’s likely to be a solid rather than a spectacular hit at the box office.
What about Rampage’s performance though? Is he set to become a major Hollywood star of the back of the film? Read on to find out what the critics had to say.
“UFC light heavyweight champ Jackson makes a perfect B.A” – Box Office Magazine
“Wrestler Quinton Jackson does a credible imitation of Mr. T – an approach that allows his apparently limited acting skills to be camouflaged.” - Reel Reviews
“Even Rampage Jackson, in the role made famous by a guy donning the entire payload of Ft. Knox around his neck (that’d be Mr. T), turns in a respectably tough performance with a few moments of decent hubris.” – Hollywood.com
“The four central characters are well cast and updated, from Liam Neeson’s Hannibal to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s B.A. Baracus. Both performances feature enough homage to please traditionalists while throwing in a few wrinkles to satisfy new recruits.” – Film.com
“the most impressive turn is actually Jackson’s. Sitting in the shadow of Mr. T and with only the barest cinematic experience under his belt, he manages to both invoke the character’s quintessential 80s-ness and attain something resembling a realistic personality in the bargain. His B.A. is his own, but he still tips his cap to the icon he follows, and like the rest of the film, the combination of elements feels just about perfect.” - Mania.com
“Perhaps the biggest surprise is mixed martial artist Quentin “Rampage” Jackson as the second coming of Mr. T; I totally accept him as B.A.” - Decent Films Guide
“Rampage does his best Mr. T and the character proud.” - EFilmCritic.com
“Finally, there’s UFC champ Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson as B.A. Faced with the unenviable task of filling Mr. T’s mohawk, Mr. Jackson comes out swinging (literally) and does an admirable job. He’s clearly an inexperienced actor, but he holds his own in a nearly impossible situation.” – Big Picture Big Sound
“The biggest question mark has always been Jackson, who delivers the best athlete-to-actor transition since Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Incorporating a few of Mr. T’s trademark exclamations into a more thoughtful performance than one might expect, he turns out to be a better choice than Ice Cube likely would have been.” – E! Online
“Mixed martial arts champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has the difficult task of assuming the iconic “pity the fool” image of Mr. T from the TV series, the most cartoonish A-Teamer of all. But Jackson’s B.A. Baracus makes for an agreeable facsimile, even if it is tough to figure out what he’s saying at times.” – Toronto Star
“Ultimate fighter “Rampage” Jackson–nice of him to bring his own “A-Team nickname” to the show–takes a bit more adjusting to than Neeson’s impression of Peppard, though he does a good job easing into the role, especially in the second half where they give B.A. Barracus a funny twist. In general, he’s better than most “actors” that come from his field, more on par with rapper-turned-actors – not quite as bad as 50 Cent, but not quite as good as Common or Ludacris.” – Comingsoon.com
“Rampage” Jackson is actually a stronger actor than Mr. T was, and he makes B.A. Baracus into a welcome part of the team, menacing but loyal, all brawn and happy to leave the brains to other people.” – HitFlix
“Even mixed martial arts star Quinton “Rampage” Jackson offers a solid presence, filling the intimidating shoes of Mr. T to play B.A. Baracus. One would, in theory, pity the fool asked to do that; Jackson does just fine in his first film role.” – Associated Press
“Unfortunately mixed martial arts fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is a let down as BA Baracus mainly because of his poor enunciation. When Baracus is engaging in “witty banter” with the rest of the team it would be far more entertaining if we could understand more of what he is saying other than the occasional “I pity the fool!” - Cinema Autopsy
“Quinton “Rampage” Jackson possesses about a fifth of the charisma Mr. T brought to Baracus, and none of the originality, and acts about as well as you’d expect an Ultimate Fighting Championship vet to.” – The Portland Oregonian
“While mixed martial artist Jackson does his best to make the part of B.A. Baracas his own, pity the fool who has to follow in Mr. T’s supersized footsteps. Note to Mr. Jackson: next time, hire a decent diction coach. A dramatic scene in which he wrestles with violence (pun unintended) is nearly unintelligible.” – Indie Movies Online
“The script gives Jackson plenty of opportunities to say, “I pity the fool,” but he just doesn’t have the anger – or the comedy. There’s something missing there.” – San Francisco Chronicle
“As B.A., Jackson isn’t nearly as memorable as Mr. T — the latter always looked like he could beat you to a pulp just by staring.” – Creative Loafing
“Rampage Jackson … well, let’s just say he’s no Mr. T.)” – Cinematical
“Jackson has a scary physicality but needs to take the marbles out of his mouth.” – Star Tribune
“Quinton Jackson, as B.A., is stuck updating an iconic yet anachronistic character (Mr. T played him like an angry action figure), and he’s a little innocuous, if likably quick.” – Entertainment Weekly
“Behind him was the enforcer, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (code name: B.A. Baracus). He bore a tattoo on his sizable bicep that read “MMA,” which could mean either “mixed martial arts” or “middling movie actor.” – St.Louis Post
“B.A. Baracus is played by former UFC light heavyweight champ Jackson, who has almost nothing to do except scowl and look brawny.” – Movieline
“Former mixed martial arts star Jackson is just OK. He lacks Mr. T’s glower.” – Kansas City Star
“UFC champ Quinton “Rampage” Jackson makes B.A. Baracus a teddy bear with bite. He’s got the right energy and the camera likes him well enough, but this isn’t yet his break out performance—for one, he smashes all his words together when he talks.” - Inland Empire
“Only Quinton Jackson comes off okay. Then again, he’s playing to type as a brawny he-man.” – Aisle Seat
“Jackson—a mixed-martial-arts fighter making his acting debut—shares Mr. T’s bulk, but not his goofy charisma.” – Film Journal International
So overall the reviews are a mixed bag for Rampage. Nobody is proclaiming him to be the next big thing in Hollywood, but he’s not getting mercilessly slaughtered either.
Having just watched the film for myself I’d say that’s just about right. He certainly looks the part on the big screen, but his acting still leaves a bit too be desired, feeling a little off the mark in certain scenes, and mumbling his way through a few lines.
Overall though it’s nothing to be embarrassed about and it’s certainly a leap forward compared to the travesty that was ‘Death Warrior’.
It’ll be interesting to see what effect, if any, his role will have in spreading awareness about MMA in the mainstream. So far there hasn’t been too much focus on his life before acting in the press, and the fact that he was beaten by Rashad Evans just two weeks ago has barely been mentioned.
Instead his bigger name co-stars like Liam Neeson and Jessica Biel getting more column inches, and it should be noted that some reviewers seemed to be a little confused about what Rampage’s day job actually is, with one writer saying he was a former UFC fighter, while another claimed he was a WWE star.