Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, Liam Neeson, Quinton Rampage Jackson, A-Team

Doug Curran/20th Century Fox

By now you know that Mr. T—who still looks almost exactly the same as he did when he shot to fame on the campy '80s action series—isn't in the big-screen A-Team, opening today.

This may make you nervous: Will a sufficient number of fools be pitied? Will Hollywood trample on the memory of a beloved series by forgetting what made it great?

Here are five things you should know about this 21st century remake:

1. Character acting, to a T: Several actors' names were thrown around to reprise Mr. T's Bosco "B.A." Baracus, a role specifically conceived in the original series with the former bouncer in mind. Among the most talked-about were rappers Ice Cube and Common. The filmmakers ultimately went with UFC fighter Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, who makes his big-screen debut alongside Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper and Liam Neeson. Though he lacks gold chains, the new B.A. does have the words pity and fool tattooed on his fists, as well as a sculpted Mohawk.

2. Answers finally revealed: On the TV show, we were told the team were sent to prison for "a crime they didn't commit." In the movie, we'll actually see what happened and what went wrong—though the Vietnam setting has, naturally, been updated to Iraq. Also, B.A. was famously afraid of flying and frequently had to be drugged, hypnotized or clubbed in order to get him on a plane. The movie will at last uncover the origins of his phobia. (Hint: It also involves the origins of his animosity with Murdock.)

3. The team's Lynch nemesis: In the movie, Watchmen's Patrick Wilson plays Lynch, a mysterious CIA operative whose allegiances are unclear and whose moniker is an inherited codename. This is a reference to the A-Team's original TV foe, a military policeman named Colonel Lynch, played by William Lucking.

4. It's PG-13: One of the running gags on the TV show was that despite massive amounts of gunplay and explosions, characters almost never died. While that has changed somewhat in the movie, don't worry about the Team going hard R. The tone is, as you can tell from the trailers featuring a parachuting tank, decidedly light-hearted.

5. The geeky: In one notable scene, Murdock (Sharlto Copley), confined to a mental institution, shows his fellow inmates an action movie on DVD. The audience will recognize that the movie's theme song is that of the A-Team TV series. But what you might not catch is that its opening credits list an actor named "Reg Barclay." This was the name of the character played by original Murdock actor Dwight Schultz on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Oh, and pity the poor fools who don't sit through the end credits: There's an extra-special treat waiting for hard-core fans—and it doesn't involve Thor's hammer.

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