Plot: What’s it about?
Bad Company. Bad movie? In some senses of the word, "Yes". Then again, it’s not often that we’ll get two actors of such opposite ends of the spectrum to act together. The "buddy" action/comedy movie was essentially invented with Beverly Hills Cop (ironically enough another production from the testosterone-fueled Bruckheimer). We’ve seen Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, Tim Robbins and Martin Lawrence, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. Now we have Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock. Why must there always be a black actor involved for the "humorous" aspect of these films? And, to tell the truth, the plot has been done a million times before (i.e. Terrorist with a bomb or we’ll kill your girl and then blow up New York City). Ok, we’re all reeeeeeeaaaaaaaaly scared here…then again, The Sum of All Fears did have a scene in which they blew up half of Baltimore; so was there more to meets the eye with Bad Company?
No. Anthony Hopkins, as great of a performer as he is, seems to be going through the motions here. He sighs, moves slowly and seems to be thinking "What the hell am I doing?" Truthfully, any actor could have played the part, but we have the "Old White Guy" with the "Cocky Young Black Guy" thing going on and we wouldn’t want to ruin that chemistry, do we? As we meet Jake Hayes/Michael Tucker (Chris Rock) we see him hustling people at a local park while playing chess. His "other job" is to scalp tickets to sporting events. What Jake doesn’t know is that he has a twin brother, separated at birth, who works for the CIA. His brother has just been killed in the line of duty and now the CIA needs Jake to play the part of his brother. Why, you ask? Well, Michael Tucker (also Rock) was in the process of purchasing a nuclear weapon that cleverly fit inside a briefcase. Had he not showed up to "pay" for it, then the terrorists would use it to blow up whoever they wanted. Lucky for us an identical twin came into the mix.
The movie plays itself off as an action/comedy, which it might be. I think, as funny as Chris Rock is, that I laughed out loud only a few times. The plot is formulaic and predictable and I could (and probably should) have turned off the TV after the first twenty minutes to come and write this review. Jake’s faithful love for his girlfriend also wears thin. At the end of the movie, we wonder if the bad guys will get the money, kill the good guys and then blow up a small part of the United States. Ok, right…you think that’s really going to happen? Not in my game of poker! Audiences obviously found this as dull and drab as I did as this made it to home video in somewhat record time. For as talented as the cast is, this wasn’t the right outlet for their talents. You can essentially read the back of the box and know how the movie ends. While this was a Bruckheimer production, it obviously shows that he doesn’t have the "Midas Touch" for every single movie he’s involved in. Joel Schumacher directed this as well…what does that tell you? A rental at best, maybe good for a rainy day. Like today.
Video: How does it look?
The 2.35:1 anamorphic image was actually one of the high points for the film. In a very few scenes, the print showed some haze and a bit of grain, but for the most part the transfer here is outstanding. Detail was crisp, sharp and we even can see very light rain in some sequences (that’s good). While what was happening on screen might have detracted from how good a transfer this was, it wasn’t perfect. The film has several sequences that tend to reflect the mood of the film. In the opening, there are more scenes with daylight and bright light, as the movie progresses, the physical look of the film gets darker. Several of the scenes have the same effect that Saving Private Ryan does, with the same sort of photography used there. Still, this doesn’t detract from a fine-looking transfer.
Audio: How does it sound?
There are two soundtracks offered in 5.1 sound (three, actually if you count French). A Dolby Digital and a DTS soundtrack help to try and give life to the action that is taking place on screen. As per usual, I listened to the DTS first and was impressed, but have a complaint. Five or six times during the film, the soundtrack seemed to cut in and out. I checked and it did coincide with the chapter stops, but this was not a problem with the Dolby Digital version. Aside from that, the effects are very detailed and clear throughout. There are a few great shootouts that sound great, but yet not "loud", from the speakers. Proof that things don’t always have to blow up to make something sound good.
Supplements: What are the extras?
"In Bad Company" is a behind the scenes featurette that pretty much outlines why the film was as bad as it was. While interviewed, Chris Rock was obviously asked why he did the film. His answer: "Jerry Bruckheimer showed up at my place with a suitcase full of money…" this is probably an exaggeration, but it still shows the lack of dedication on his part for this part. Hopkins admits that he did the movie because his agent "…though it might be a nice change of pace…" for him. Wow, and those are the two leads. Still, it’s got plenty of statements from Actor A saying how impressed they were to work with Hopkins and/or Rock. Yeah, yeah, yeah…we’ve heard it all before. Next up is the lone DVD-ROM supplement that wants you to "Register your DVD". I’m not kidding. Evidently, by registering your disc you can be entitled to replace it should something ever happen to it (i.e. faulty DTS track on the disc) and you can be emailed of specials. For my two cents worth, no thanks. Still, there are some who like the "Big Brother" feeling and for those I say "Stick the disc in your DVD-ROM drive and give ’em your email address" I know I won’t.