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Bad Company (PG-13)
Touchstone Pictures
Official Site
Director: Joel Schumacher
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
Written by: Jason Richman, Michael Browning
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Chris Rock, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, Gabriel Macht, John Slattery, Peter Stormare

Rating: out of 5


I had such great hopes for Bad Company. The trailer enticed me with the promises of gratuitous pleasures particular to the high- budget action film: scenes of spectacular violence and destruction gracefully perpetrated by leather-clad, renegade personalities; a lightly constructed and slightly comedic plot to organize and soften the gore; just enough dialogue to endear characters to the audience; and a storyline so quick that it accelerates even time itself. Bad Company delivers little of what makes an action film fantastic despite its intentions. Although there is a good measure of stylized violence, suspense, testosterone, and even a likable character or two, the film doesn’t have enough of these elements to conceal its flaws, which are considerable.

What’s good about this film? The plot is believable enough. Kevin Pope (Rock), the ultimate CIA spy, gets offed by some terrorists before the completion of his assignment, which in short, would save the world from nuclear annihilation. Fortunately for our American operatives, Kevin has a long- lost twin brother, Jake (Rock), a street-hustler who is in most ways the opposite of the refined, Rhodes-scholarly Kevin but who is good enough, according to the CIA, to stand in for Kevin.

CIA’s top-dog and Kevin’s partner, Gaylord Oakes (Hopkins), is made responsible for Jake’s transformation, one that takes place in nine days and is intended to birth sophistication that took decades of specialized training to realize from the person of an undereducated hustler. And that’s not including Jake’s requisite mastery of the Czech language. Needless to say, by miracles known only to the screenwriter, Jake accomplishes just enough keep the story alive as he dodges the perils of international spydom.

Hopkins as usual is in true form, bringing grace to his morally conflicted character. Not only is it his job to keep Jake alive, but he must do it with the knowledge that Jake is an expendable figure, a victim of the gravity of the situation (saving the world, that is) and a victim also of his professional inexperience as both an operative and his brother’s ghost. Rock, although not well cast for the complexity of his role, plays a likeable, funny Jake who counterpoints Hopkins’ stern character. The rest of the cast is forgettable unfortunately. This film’s poorly developed script allows little room for anyone other than the main characters to add interest to the film.

Although this film seeks to represent the glories of successful action filmmaking— there are a couple of chase scenes that are relatively heart- stopping— it falls short of the true excess that makes this genre worthwhile. The crashes and bullets aren’t loud or bloody enough. The dialogue isn’t sufficiently adequate to garner sympathy for or interest in the characters. The films seems to slow toward the end, in a way that I can’t explain, which means that I probably just tuned out somewhere before the credits. Finally, any suspense- building plot devices collapsed into a predictable end that‘s guessable halfway through the movie. Finally, I spent too much time counting the characters who, logically, should’ve died. If you haven’t already guessed, Bad Company, means bad theatre experience. Save your money for a trip to the video store on a rainy day when you don’t care what you watch.

Maria G. Rios

 

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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