Bad Company (2002) - (DVD)
Starring Anthony Hopkins et al
List Price R 69
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Steve, . 26 March 2003
A film review by Steve Rhodes
Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes
RATING (0 TO ****): **
So are you ready to laugh at a movie about nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists in the United States? Disney apparently thought you would be, so they made not one but two films about the subject. The latest, BAD COMPANY, directed by Joel Schumacher (8MM and BATMAN & ROBIN), is admittedly much better than the first one, Barry Sonnenfeld's BIG TROUBLE, which was released just two months ago. Personally, I don't find atomic bombs and terrorists in our midst funny. Taken seriously, as THE SUM OF ALL FEARS does, the subject can be an extremely powerful and quite appropriate movie topic.
Unlike BIG TROUBLE with its slapstick, BAD COMPANY tries to wrap a perfunctory thriller around a tired buddy comedy. Anthony Hopkins plays Gaylord Oakes, a wise and taciturn CIA leader, and Chris Rock plays Jake Hayes, a street hustler who is drafted into The Company when the twin brother he never knew he had is killed on a mission. The plot gives Gaylord nine short days to turn the smart-mouthed Jake into a suave and sophisticated antiques dealer, which was his twin's cover.
Rock, as always, can cut-up with the best of them, and Hopkins adds class to any production with which he is associated; but the chemistry between them is a bit labored. Although Rock is clearly in his element, Hopkins is getting a little old to play an action hero.
The story and screenplay, by the writing committee of Gary Goodman, David Himmelstein, Jason Richman and Michael Browning, needlessly strains credulity. The most glaring example of this occurs when a nuclear bomb is about to level New York. Hopkins doesn't call for any backup when he goes to where he knows the bomb to be. Other scripting problems are less preposterous. The bad guys -- there are two complete sets -- are carefully chosen not to be of any nationality of real terrorists who are currently a threat, lest we offend their sensibilities. The villains are all clichéd slime balls who might as well have "Scums 'R Us" tattooed on their foreheads.
And then there is my favorite ridiculous part to the movie, a flaw shared with other such pulp pictures. Why is it that the bad guys can afford lots of machine guns, but our guys keep getting stuck with just pistols?
BAD COMPANY runs 1:55. It is rated PG-13 for "intense sequences of violent action, some sensuality and language" and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.
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