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Bad Apple

Paramount // PG-13 // May 10, 2005
List Price: $24.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Scott Weinberg | posted May 9, 2005 | E-mail the Author
The Movie

It would be easy to dismiss Bad Apple as a somewhat pedestrian American take on the whole Lock, Stock / Snatch "colorful gangster"conceit - except for the fact that Bad Apple is based on a 1995 novel by Anthony Bruno. But knowing that this material predates most of the modern crime thrillers doesn't do much to elevate it beyond a mildly engaging cops & robbers tale.

Chris Noth plays an undercover FBI agent who tries to get close to a suspected murderer with the help of a stoolie called "Freshy." If I were to say that "complications ensue," that would be a serious understatement. Also along for the ride are a grouchy agent with a toothache, his well-meaning (but somewhat annoying) wife, a goofball technician sidekick, a blonde bad-ass of a hitman, a gorgeous brunette bombshell, and a typical Italian don who speaks in tones of "dese" and "does."

What Bad Apple lacks in startling originality it makes up for in energy and a surprisingly strong cast of actors. Nearly the whole movie takes place over the course of one eventful afternoon: the villainous "Bells" catches wind of the FBI's sting operation and kidnaps our hero, leaving a bunch of confused parties with little choice but to give chase. There's a bunch of twists, turns, divergences, and double-crosses, several of which capably keep your attention ... even if they're not particularly new or unique.

Chris Noth is quite strong as the kidnapped Tozzi, and the guy is supported by an eclectic cast of character actors. Jim Gaffigan earns a few laughs as an ironic field agent; the always-dangerous Robert Patrick is a lot of fun as the slowly-unraveling Bells; Colm Meaney steals a few scenes as an abscess-afflicted FBI agent who's always in a bad mood; Mercedes Ruehl is his devoted-yet-exasperated wife; and Elliott Gould seems content to reprise his performance from Oceans' Eleven and Twelve.

As far as middle-of-the-road cable-flick fodder is concerned, Bad Apple's not exactly an awful pick. While you won't find one thing here that's not available in a standard episode of your favorite TV cop series, Bad Apple moves along at a brisk pace, highlights a few consistently strong performers, and heads out the door before overstaying its welcome. If you're a big fan of the actors involved, I'd say it's certainly worthy of a rental. Otherwise, just wait for it to pop up on cable again.

The DVD

Video: Since the film was originally produced for cable TV broadcast, the Full Screen transfer is to be expected. The visual quality is fairly strong across the board, though it's unlikely you'll be blown away by the sheer visual spectacle of it all.

Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, which, like the visual presentation, is just good enough to keep you moving through the show. Optional captions (in English) are available for those who need 'em.

Extras: Nary a one.

Final Thoughts

Not much more than a standard time-waster of a cop procedural cable flick, Bad Apple earns points for a quick pace, a solid cast, and an earnest attempt at quirky good humor. Those familiar with the novels of Anthony Bruno may find the film particularly worthwhile, and newcomers might just find enough entertainment to keep their interest maintained for a full 90 minutes. But don't expect a whole lot more than that.

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