Bad Company

It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound an fury, signifying nothing” – Macbeth  (V, v, 19). This is probably the best way to describe Bad Company, the latest offering from Chris Rock, Anthony Hopkins and director Joel Schumacher. Another one of the films that was delayed due to the events on 11th September 2001 its finally been released.  

Let’s jump right in: Jake Hayes (Chris Rock) is a ticket scalper in New Jersey and lives an existence of selling tickets to events while trying to stop his girlfriend from moving away. Cue CIA, in the guise of Gaylord Oakes (Anthony Hopkins) who has a predicament. His top agent, working in Prague, was killed whilst negotiating a deal for the purchase of nuclear weapons from a black market dealer Adrik Vas (Peter Stormare).  

What’s this got to do with Jake? It just so happens that the agent, Kevin, had an identical twin brother (see where this is heading?) who is now the only person who can complete the transaction without raising suspicion. Lo and behold, that twin brother happens to be Jake. 

Oakes has 9 days to recruit (i.e. agree to pay $100 000) Jake and train him to a level that the bad guys cannot differentiate between the two. The problem is that Kevin was an intelligent, articulated and sophisticated spy while Jake is a fast taking hustler with no loyalty to anyone in authority and would rather spend his time listening to rap music and partying. 

The stakes increase when its discovered that a psychotic Yugoslavian (Matthew Marsh) is also trying to get his hands on the nuclear device with the intention of setting it off on American soil (New York to be exact). 

In a race against time the CIA have to turn Jake into a spy, broker the deal for the nuclear weapon before the Yugoslavians and keep Jake alive in the process. The odds are stacked against them. 

In typical ũber style, producer Jerry Bruckheimer has managed to get a glossy, fast, and loud film made. However, this time things just don’t gel at all. Joel ‘I-Killed-The-Batman-Franchise’ Schumacher manages to have very little emotion into the proceedings at all. The end results are very lacklustre at the best of times. Strange really, seeing that the formula is in place – humour, action, explosions and loud music. It’s hard to place the exact reason why the film doesn’t really work – most probably because the Bruckheimer formula is no longer fresh and we’ve seen it done before (bigger and better). It just didn’t have the pumped-up feel of Bruckheimer’s previous films such as Bad Boys or The Rock.  

Chris Rock plays… well… the same character as always. Which is a shame as he does come out quite well during the earlier dramatic side of things as Kevin (for once he seems comfortable acting instead of ranting and raving). It would have been nice to see more of that side of him. Anthony Hopkins seems to be enjoying himself, running around New York and Prague with a gun. He’s performance, much like Rocks, is too light – especially for an actor of his calibre. His cameo in Mission: Impossible 2 was better than this.  

The film leaves you feeling that you have missed something and are left unsatisfied on the whole. Very much by-the-numbers filmmaking, ends up with an average film save for a good performance (albeit a lazy one) from Hopkins and a lot of noise. It will probably do better on DVD or video before disappearing onto cable TV. 

Score 4/10