Bad Company (12)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/07/2002

One out of five stars
Running time: 116 mins

Extremely poor “comedy-thriller” that fails to deliver on both laughs and thrills – note to producers: Chris Rock is a talented comedian, but he is a very, VERY bad actor.

Bad Company has not had an easy ride. Originally intended as an 80s action vehicle, it finally got dusted off and brought to life, only for September 11th to put the kibosh on its oh-so-topical ‘terrorists planning to blow up New York’ plot.

Hence its somewhat rushed release now, complete with Men In Black-style posters, in case anyone is stupid enough to confuse it with MIB II and goes to see it by mistake. Do not be fooled – this film is extremely aptly named…

Very Serious Face

The plot is basically the same as Spy Game, but reworked as a Chris Rock vehicle. And yet, incredibly, it’s even worse than that sounds. Chris Rock uses his Very Serious Face to play CIA super agent Kevin Pope (yes, that’s right, a super agent named Kevin). Only he’s not so super, because –whoops- he gets gunned down in the first ten minutes. But wait! It turns out Kevin had a twin brother! And neither of them knew about each other! (And yet, strangely, the CIA did).

Anyway, this Other Brother is played by the more familiar, wisecracking Chris Rock that you may remember from such great concert movies as Bring The Pain, as well as such stinkeroos as Down To Earth.

He gets drafted into the CIA by a sleep-walking Anthony Hopkins and, wouldn’t you know it, the Fate Of The Free World depends on him passing himself off as his brother…

An Abominably Bad Actor

It’s hard to believe that at no point during this movie did anyone stop to say “Er…Chris? Could you just do it a little, you know, better?” Because, make no mistake, Chris Rock is an abominably bad actor. A gifted stand-up comedian, certainly. A welcome presence when restricted to cameos in Kevin Smith movies, even. But one hell of a lousy straight actor.

Sure, he has the occasional funny line, but that just isn’t enough. The ‘comedy’ aspect of the film has to rely entirely on his presence and it fails spectacularly, with many of his one-liners falling flat. In fact, he’s actually (unintentionally) funnier when he’s called upon to do a serious scene – he appears to believe that “acting” is the same as “Looking. Very. Serious. Indeed.”

Little Chemistry

The other actors don’t fare much better. There’s little chemistry in evidence between Hopkins and Rock, and, frankly, whoever thought there would be needs their head examined. The only remotely interesting element is Hopkins’ developing relationship with his partner, played by Brooke Smith (from Series 7: The Contenders and Silence of the Lambs), but there’s much too little of this, and Smith isn’t given anything interesting to do.

The film doesn’t even deliver in terms of its action sequences, which are poorly handled and completely lacking in invention. This means that any residual kudos director Joel Schumacher may have earned after Tigerland has now well and truly disappeared.

In short, this is a film to be actively shunned. Perhaps if we all just try and forget about it, it might just go away and leave us alone. And if you just can’t get through a Saturday night without a dose of big screen thrills, then go and see Minority Report again.

Film Trailer

Bad Company (12)
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Content updated: 13/12/2017 09:05

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