That bit of bad taste is strike two.  

BAD COMPANY

An Illusion Review by Joan Ellis


            What is Anthony Hopkins doing in this terrible movie?  As he moves through the ridiculous scenes of Bad Company, we wonder if this is the same man who created the superbly repressed butler of Remains of the Day, the edgy adventurer of The Edge, or the notorious nightmare man of Hannibal.  Here is positive proof that a bad and lazy movie can tarnish the best of actors.  Even under these depressing circumstances, Mr. Hopkins is the only interesting focus in the movie.  Somehow, we hope, he will spring a surprise that will explain the confusion.  He doesn’t; he can’t; no one could. 

            Kevin (Chris Rock) is a CIA agent known for his sophistication.  Strike one.  Mr. Rock can be funny, but not sophisticated.  Jake’s handler is Agent Oakes (Anthony Hopkins) who is very sophisticated but tries here not to be by yelling phrases like “Get outta the way” as he is racing through Grand Central Station.  

Kevin is killed off almost immediately, a calamity that endangers the CIA deep cover effort to stop terrorists from setting off a nuclear suitcase bomb in New York City.  That bit of bad taste is strike two.  

To salvage the operation, Oakes turns up the identical twin brother the dead Kevin never knew he had.  Jake (still Chris Rock) is a street lounger, a Washington Square chess player whose everyday speech is couched in the rhythms of rap.  CIA will do the makeover.  Jake will become as sophisticated as his late brother.  Mr. Rock, never credible as the CIA agent, has moments of fun when he is surprised by the luxuries of the role he is being trained to play.  That praise, however, may be excessive.  Please take it in context.

We must endure a wine tasting training session where the ancient cliché “dry, but never precocious,” is actually spoken as a mark of progress.  The Russian villain, Vas (Peter Stormare) speaks in an accent that borders on libelous caricature.  He is a carnival creature.  We are subjected to double agents, betrayals, and a host of characters who remain forever lost in confusion.  Can you imagine the odd couple, Hopkins and Rock, trapped in a car they have just smashed into a tree, screaming in exaggerated fear at the approach of the enemy? 

This scene raises the possibility that producer Jerry Bruckheimer may intend that we take this mess as a spoof of spy movies.  If so, it’s a bad spoof.  Satire or straight, this movie is that worst of all things, an insult to the audience, a lazy undertaking that wastes our time.  Bad writing, miscasting, silly premise - with one of the world’s most exciting actors trying only half-heartedly to save it.  He knows it’s bad.   

Someone had the good sense to cast Kerry Washington as Jake’s girlfriend and Brooke Smith as sidekick to Oakes.  Someone else decided to give each of them next to nothing to say.  Strike three, Jerry Bruckheimer, you’re out.

 


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