Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: In Bad Company: An Inside Look.
THE old mis-matched partnership routine is given another tired
re-working in this by-the-numbers action flick from the Jerry
Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock star as the mis-matched duo in
question, this time pitting their wits against two groups of Eastern
European terrorists bidding to bring a nuclear bomb to America.
Yet try as they might, the stars lack the necessary chemistry
or direction to elevate this dumb thriller above the mediocre,
making this an instantly forgettable movie experience.
Given that this is a Bruckheimer production, however, viewers
have every reason to expect the usual high-octane show of pyrotechnics,
but even these lack much spark, with Joel Schumachers direction
failing to strike the right balance between the comedy and the
Hopkins stars as veteran CIA agent Gaylord (!) Oakes, who must
transform Rocks sarcastic, street-wise punk, Jake Hayes,
into a sophisticated spy to replace his murdered identical twin
brother, Kevin Pope (also Rock), in order to complete the purchase
of a nuclear bomb and thus save the free world.
Yet while the two initially get off on the wrong foot, a begrudging
respect develops between them, with Oakes forced to come to terms
with his role in the death of Pope, and Oakes finally being forced
to live up to his untapped potential (he is great at chess).
Bad Company strives very hard to recapture the type of successful
Box Office formula displayed in action flicks such as Enemy
of the State and Lethal Weapon (that of the older charge taking
on a younger, more reckless partner) without ever really coming
close. Rock lacks the emotional gravitas of a Will Smith or
Danny Glover, while his stand-up routine is frequently tiresome,
leaving Hopkins to pick up the pieces. Sadly, he doesnt
look interested, turning in the type of performance he could
prepare for in his sleep.
In fact, the best person in it is Gabriel Macht, as Oakes's
right-hand man, who handles most of the action sequences,
while exuding the type of charisma usually reserved for the
leading man. He deserves his own movie, but is sadly wasted
at every opportunity.
Worse still, the film looks and feels like it has ripped-off
better movies, most of them Bruckheimer productions, as well
as the likes of The Peacemaker (particularly during its New
York-based, race-against-time climax).
Schumachers direction also feels thrown together at
times, allowing very little time for any character development
or, worse, tension or excitement. Scenes have the habit of
ending very suddenly, creating a jarring effect to the flow.
The director is one of those Jekyll and Hyde types, who can
produce work of the quality Falling Down and Tigerland
one minute, or Dying Young and Batman and Robin the next.
His collaboration with Bruckheimer falls into the latter category,
so it remains to be seen what type of treatment the partnership
will give to the forthcoming Veronica Guerin, the true story
of the Dublin journalist who was assassinated while reporting
on Irish organised crime.
Ironically, it is Hopkins on-screen character who sums
up Bad Company best, for when hearing about the CIAs
plan to recruit and train Rock to save the world, he merely
sighs and mutters
this smacks of desperation.
Hes not wrong.