Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bad Company

2002, US, directed by Joel Schumacher

Ah, the things you'll watch late at night on a hotel TV in a strange city. Like many a sleek Hollywood vehicle, Bad Company passes the time effectively enough, but as soon as it's done, it's banished from the brain. Perhaps that's no bad thing, for the film makes terribly light of nasty nuclear-bomb stealing terrorists and messy bloodbaths, as it tries unsuccessfully to graft Chris Rock's rapid-fire patter to an often violent thriller. The film presents itself as a face-off between Rock and straight-laced Anthony Hopkins, a CIA veteran who barely cracks a smile, but even this confrontation is a damp squib since the pair have relatively few scenes together; the film's (absurd) premise results in Hopkins spending what seems to be much more time watching Rock on surveillance cameras rather than actually acting with him. In any case, while Rock brings some energy to proceedings - making the absolute most of his lines - his co-star mostly looks as though he's sleepwalking his way to a paycheck on this occasion. As the film progresses, the brutality seems ever more jarring when juxtaposed with Rock's routine, while the coda is incongruous, with no justification in what precedes it.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States