Review Date: June 05, 2002
Director: Joel Schumacher
Writer: Jason Richman, Michael Browning
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Mike Stenson
The CIA recruits a down-and-out ticket scalper to help them foil some international arms dealers, after the scalper's twin brother (whom he didn't know existed) gets killed in the line of duty. It's the job of an older, wiser agent to turn this hipster into a sophisticated spy over the next nine days. Hilarity is supposed to ensue.
Serviceable entertainment if you don't mind plot holes, don't mind completely forgetting about your movies the minute that you walk out of the theater, don't mind unoriginality and generic gun fights galore, and don't mind the fact that it outstays its welcome at an unnecessary two hour length. As for the lame title...yeesh! Although it is fitting to have such a generic title, since it does kind of lay the groundwork for the generic proceedings to follow. So is it a horrible movie? Not entirely. Nobody is going to compare this film to Schumacher's other major stinkbombs in which he took a cool, masked, dark hero and turned him into a colorful, bombastic fairy, but I don't foresee anyone slipping this flick on their X-Mas lists either. It's basically a lazy conglomeration of many other movies that we've seen before, and with Jerry Bruckheimer behind it all, nobody should be surprised to discover very little character development for anyone in the movie. Chris Rock basically plays the "fish out of water" dude again (didn't you learn your lesson in DOWN TO EARTH, bro?), tossing one-liners around like nobody's business. Unfortunately for us, most of them are either unfunny or dated, so you end up snickering at only a few, and groaning at the rest. Rock has yet to find the ideal cinematic vehicle to showcase his innate comedic talents, and this film is certainly not a step in the right direction. Anthony Hopkins, on the other hand, appears to be sleep-walking through his part so much that if you pay really close attention, you may just catch him dozing off behind those infernal sunglasses which he sports through much of the film (maybe he didn't want the crew to notice him sleeping during the actual filming-not good for morale). This is a "paycheck" movie if I ever saw one for the man, and even though his character does apparently have a tendency to put things in his mouth (toothpick, gum...), that really wasn't enough character background for us to give half a shit about his aloof persona overall. He actually looked like he didn't care throughout the whole picture (both as a character and an actor), so why should we? There's also dick chemistry between the two actors.
As for the rest of the cast, I wish that I could remember even one standout among the gaggle of no-name faceless extras running about around them, but sadly...they're all mostly there to create "bussle" around the two uninteresting leads. Peter Stormare does show up as a bad guy, but all he does is embarrass himself with a really bad job of hamming it up. As for the action sequences, the film does actually move at a breakneck pace, but none of it is particularly memorable, exciting or suspenseful. Granted, I was never really bored through the movie, but I don't think that I was presented with one original moment either. It didn't help that the lame story about a bomb in NY didn't add up, with bad guys apparently falling for the old "transfer of fake money into your account" trick and assassins showing up in someone's apartment with a knife (ever heard of a gun, dude?). Plot holes, let me count the ways. Also, as opposed to THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, whose main narrative was also closely related to the tragedy of 9/11, I found this one a little insulting being that as such a sensitive topic was handled with so little substance or thought behind it. Sure, the film is not gonna make you wanna scratch your eyes out, but it also won't blow you away with anything creative, tense, funny or memorably action-packed either, and if you're looking for any surprises...look elsewhere. The best thing that I could suggest for this lame duck is a cheapie evening run through your VCR with a plate of nachos making up for the lack of taste in the actual movie. Whoopee...look, another cliched gun battle! Ugh. Bad Company indeed.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian