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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Bad Company (2002)
Bad Company (2002)
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG-13 // November 12, 2002
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted November 7, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:


Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has been known for delivering intense action pictures - more often than not, big Summer releases. Unfortunately, the quality of the producer's offerings have been steadily declining since the mid-90's, where the producer delivered such pictures as the moderately intelligent and well-acted thriller "Crimson Tide" and the sharp and funny "Bad Boys". Bruckheimer's action pictures have never been known for exceptional writing, but "Bad Company" has an unusually poorly written screenplay - it feels like it must have been taken from the bottom of the pile in the producer's office.

"Bad Company" stars Chris Rock as both Kevin and Jake Pope, two brothers who were separated. One (Kevin) is an elegant spy in Prague trying to broker a deal to get a weapon before someone else gets ahold of it. When things go wrong, Gaylord Oakes (Anthony Hopkins) must recruit Kevin's brother to take his place. The only problem? Jake is a wise-cracking ticket-broker who is street-smart but not elegant. They only have a few days to train one to be like the other. The fact that Rock's character can be trained to be a spy within a matter of a few days is the first of the film's countless (literally, the most I've seen in a film in recent memory - while I don't expect action films to embrace logic, this picture gets too ridiculous) instances where believability and logic are thrown out the window.


The second hour quickly becomes a bit more serious as Rock's Jake must step into his brother's shoes, to mixed results. A couple of the action sequences (an impressive car chase in a field of tall grass) are nicely done, although it's strange that Jake is calm and level-headed in one scene and screaming and running away in the next action sequence. There's even a scene (also shown in the trailer) where Jake discovers his brother's ex-girlfriend and CNN reporter (Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon) in his shower. He has a girlfriend at home (Kerry Washington) that he loves - and early scenes with the two are quite believable. Why they felt the need to show the character being tested (and the reporter joining him in an action sequence) is baffling. After the action is over, she leaves as the characters lamely try to explain to her why she just went through what she just went through. The character is never seen or heard from again.

I'm still unsure why Anthony Hopkins took on this role. Given little to do, the actor walks through most scenes with a baseball cap on. Although the audience chuckled when he gets to call Rock's character a "bitch", the two really don't have much chemistry with one another. Hopkins also looks uncomfortable with the running and whatnot required for the action.


As for Schumacher, it seems as if he's attempted to make a Tony Scott film (I sort of felt as if I was watching "Enemy of the State II" at points) and not done as well as Scott would likely have, nor did he bring the energy Scott might have delivered. Scott's "Crimson Tide" cinematographer Dariusz Wolski provides the same sleek, desaturated look that Scott's films usually offer. Frequent Bruckheimer collaborator Trevor Rabin provides a flashy, slick score that works for the material and Sound mixer Peter J. Devlin (Bruckheimer's "Gone in 60 Seconds") provides an agressive sound mix that should go over especially well once the film eventually reaches DVD. Looking over the behind-the-scenes credits, Bruckheimer once again has brought together a group of some of the strongest artists (no, I am not counting the director) in their specific fields. So, why not bring all these people together in service of material that's not so remarkably mediocre? As for Schumacher, he proves that his somewhat overrated indie "Tigerland" was a one-time-only hit before the misses returned again. Maybe the director should continue with smaller budgeted pictures. Or, maybe he just shouldn't be directing.


"Bad Company" was delayed from last Winter due to the final quarter of the film, where the Hopkins and Rock characters must chase the stolen bomb to New York City - these scenes will almost certainly make many uncomfortable. Overall, "Bad Company", while as well done technically (and even more unconcerned with things like logic than usual) as most of Bruckheimer's other glossy action pictures are, is as generic as its title.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Bad Company" is presented by Buena Vista in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is also THX Certfied. The presentation is generally quite good - most of the film looks marvelous, although some of the usual flaws get in the way of the presentation achieving true greatness. Sharpness and detail are first-rate, as the picture achieves exceptional detail and clarity, with no noticable softness.

Pixelation doesn't appear throughout this presentation, nor really do any print flaws. However, edge enhancement appears in several scenes and gives the image a rather harsh appearance. Dariusz Wolski's cinematography has some intentional grain, but this was so minimal that it was hardly noticable and certainly not bothersome.

The film's very subdued and sleek color palette looked accurately presented here, with smooth, crisp colors that didn't appeared smeared or otherwise flawed. Black level was solid, as well. A solid, but not flawless, effort.

SOUND: With "Bad Company", Buena Vista once again presents a title with both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. This is a typical high-energy Bruckheimer soundtrack, outfitted with the usual intense Trevor Rabin soundtrack, which propells the movie forward fairly well. Although most of the composer's Bruckheimer scores sound familiar, this is the most enjoyable and propulsive of this series of works. Surrounds kick in for the Rabin score, the rap songs occasionally on the soundtrack and plenty of sound effects during the action sequences.

While the action sequences sound terrific, there are a few aspects where this soundtrack lacks. Although the rear speakers kick in pretty often, there are plenty of outdoor scenes where the surrounds could have provided more noticable ambience. Dialogue, sound effects and music are clear and crisp, though, and bass is respectably deep and punchy. Both the DTS and Dolby Digital soundtracks seemed the same, although the DTS soundtrack seemed to boast slightly greater clarity.

MENUS: Techno-themed menus with decent animation.

EXTRAS: A handful of "Sneak Peek" trailers (including "Reign Of Fire", which comes out on DVD on 11/19 and I enjoyed quite a bit) and a nearly 12-minute "making of" featurette.

Final Thoughts: Chris Rock gets some very funny lines through, but "Bad Company" is otherwise an uninspired mess, full of cliched action and some noticably slow stretches. As noted in the supplements section, action fans should consider 11/19's "Reign Of Fire", instead. Buena Vista's DVD of "Bad Company" provides very good audio/video, but (thankfully) little in the way of supplements. Fans of the actors may want to check it out as a rental, but otherwise, I wouldn't recommend it.

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