Bad Company (2002) / Thriller-Action
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for violence, some sensuality and language
Running Time: 116 min.
Cast: Chris Rock, Anthony Hopkins, Kerry Washington, Peter Stormare, Brooke Smith, Gabriel Macht
Cameo: Charlie Day
Director: Joel Schumacher
Screenplay: Jason Richman, Michael Browning
Review published November 28, 2002
I've heard that Bad Company was originally made before the events of 9/11 and has been postponed because the plot involves terrorists setting up a nuclear bomb in the heart of New York City. Although some may say it's still too soon to want to watch a movie like this, this misfire would not have really been worth watching even if the WTC tragedy had never happened. Some people must have thought Chris Rock (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Nurse Betty) would be funny playing off of the more serious plot and supporting cast and Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal, Instinct) would evoke laughs deviating from his stuffed-shirt seriousness into moments of dry wit contrary to Rock's brash style. Those people were right, but unfortunately those are the only things right in this very routine and predictable affair.
Chris Rock plays two roles, one as the educated CIA operative killed while performing an important undercover job and the other as his street-smart twin brother hired by the CIA to replace him until the case is cracked. Rock must change his spots to act educated and cultured, but the role proves difficult as his idea of classical music is "Run-DMC". However, Rock is all they have as the bad guys have obtained a nuclear device and threatens to explode it in NYC, potentially killing millions.
Granted, it's a Jerry Bruckheimer (Pearl Harbor, Remember the Titans) production, which usually means non-stop camera movement and cutting every 2 or 3 seconds in short-attention span style. It also usually means most of the enjoyment is going to come from the interaction of the actors who must provide entertainment while being stuffed into a run-of-the-mill plot with unscrupulous bad guys and explosions galore. The frustration comes from Chris Rock himself, who is definitely miscast when trying to play the CIA agent initially and definitely would not fool anyone when he pretends to be one later, yet Rock's quips also provide the film with most of the entertainment value. Hopkins is wasted in a role that really did not need someone of his talent, but he does as well as anyone would reasonably expect.
Bad Company is only recommended for undiscriminating action fans and those who find Chris Rock hilarious in anything he does. For the rest of us, there's minimal interest in the idiotic plot, and not enough laughs to justify putting up with the noise and stupidity. Luckily, it's instantly forgettable when it's all over.
©2002 Vince Leo