ZERO STARS/**** Image A Sound A-
starring Anthony Hopkins, Chris Rock, Gabriel Macht, Garcelle Beauvais
screenplay by Jason Richman and Michael Browning
directed by Joel Schumacher
by Walter Chaw Apparently named after a dinosaur rock band for no other reason than that it is a logy, prehistoric stillbirth imbued with the corpulent stench of excess (and probably a scattershot popularity attributable to a feeble-minded few), Bad Company would be the worst film I have seen this year had I not attended Cameron Diaz's The Sweetest Thing. It's professional hack extraordinaire Joel Schumacher's latest sloppy bucket of pyrotechnic tripe, and not coincidentally the umpteenth summer skinny dip in Jerry Bruckheimer's putrid pond of retread action twaddle. The collaboration of Schumacher and Bruckheimer, incidentally, should be warning enough to most sentient beings--the addition of Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins, only overkill.
Bad Company is a turbid cross between Twins, Enemy of the State, and La Femme Nikita, with all of the tissue rejection such a massively unwise series of grafts would suggest. It proves that bad jokes can bomb not once but twice if offered consecutively (Bad Company, because it fears correctly that its target audience won't understand a joke unless it's repeated, does two Czech language jokes and two New Jersey jokes one after another to a rising chorus of crickets), and it will demonstrate by its inevitable box-office failure that even the dumbest members of the audience have the animal sense not to sit through something this appalling a second time.
That Bad Company panders to the drool-cup and bib crowd is further supported by Jason Richman and Michael Browning's unforgivable screenplay and its propensity for narrating the very obvious while attempting to capitalize on zeitgeist for a quick "Hello St. Louis!" arena band cheer. Consider the character who answers a cell phone given him by a terrorist for the express purpose of arranging a meeting, holding a hand over the receiver, and solemnly informing: "It's the terrorist." Or another moment in which an obviously over-dubbed throwaway line is added to describe a villain with: "He looks Afghani!" In other words, not only is it never funny or exciting: Bad Company, among the dumbest movies in history, actually has the temerity to patronize us.
Jake Hayes (Chris Rock) is a ticket broker/chess hustler/DJ whose one-dimensional (and inevitably imperilled, no matter the logistical difficulties of endangering a Jersey girl when you're based in Russia) girlfriend is leaving him because he has no money. (When we meet Jake, he earns about a hundred dollars in six minutes.) Later, veteran eccentric bad guy Peter Stormare says something about the wonder of Swiss bank accounts after it's made clear that a hefty sum has been deposited into his Cayman Islands bank account, and later still one comes to realize that in regards to Bad Company's logical gaffes you'd have to be a moron not to notice them, and a bigger moron to think it's fruitful (or possible) to list them all.
Jake's identical twin brother Kevin (Chris Rock again, marking the most painful onscreen pairing since Van Damme and Van Damme in Double Impact or Arnie and Arnie in The 6th Day) works for the CIA, and because Rock can't for a moment pull off a Harvard-educated sophisticate, he's killed off after three lines. Unluckily for lovers of cinema, Kevin's retirement-age partner Oakes (Anthony Hopkins) decides along with a couple of other spooks indistinguishable from each other (even though one of them is a woman) that in order not to jeopardize the purchase of an atomic bomb from Stormare, they will train Jake to act like Kevin. Whether these assclowns were going for comedy, action, drama, or thriller, what they got with Bad Company is a steaming pile of cinematic effluvium that has Rock screaming his every line whilst rolling his eyes in fear, Hopkins droning all of his dialogue in that half-lidded, disinterested way of his, and a half-packed screening audience trying to keep their eyes open against their better judgment.
Bad Company is an example of what happens when filmmakers decide to engage in a feckless cash grab--a greatest hits compendium of stolen moments so bombastic and dreary that when the film actually rips off a gag from Fletch (like that balding loser at the bar thinking himself a wit while well into the second decade of quoting Chevy Chase vehicles). One doesn't cringe so much as contemplate maiming oneself. Something dawned on me as Schumacher ripped off entire sequences from The Killer and La Femme Nikita (and, before my very eyes, wondrously sucked them dry of their excitement and kineticism): the reason these idiots on screen were having so much trouble finding the bomb was that they were too busy starring in it. At the end of the day, it says a lot that I'd rather endure an entire Bad Company concert than any portion of Bad Company again. Originally published: June 7, 2002.
by Bill Chambers Am I the only one who likes Buena Vista Home Entertainment's practice of preceding the feature on DVD with trailers? It transforms your living room into a multiplex (albeit one owned and operated by Disney), and, in the case of the title we're here to discuss, it delays the 117 minutes of fucking torture that is Bad Company. Presented in a predictably slick and sleek, THX-approved 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, the film is all high-contrast Bruckheimer sheen, though Bad Company doesn't look as smart on the format as, say, Black Hawk Down. The Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 mixes are a bit of a letdown, despite much ricocheting of bullet effects between the split-surrounds; dialogue sounds damp, particularly with the DD track, and bass is unusually reserved, if punchy when called to arms. Bonus material includes sneak peeks for Frank McKlusky, C.I., Reign of Fire, and Big Trouble, as well as the 12-minute "In Bad Company: An Inside Look", wherein interviewees alternately fellate Anthony Hopkins and, somewhat more incredulously, Chris Rock and Joel Schumacher. Asked why he took the role in Bad Company, Rock says, "'A,' they paid me." Funny, I don't remember a "B." Originally published: November 9, 2002.