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Overall Rating
1.75

Awesome: 3.51%
Worth A Look: 5.26%
Average: 7.02%
Pretty Bad: 31.58%
Total Crap52.63%

5 reviews, 27 user ratings


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Bad Company (2002)
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by Erik Childress

"In The Bad Company Of Sheep"
1 stars

The new thriller with the old title, Bad Company, was not only one of several films postponed in the aftermath of last September, but had its title changed from “Black Sheep”…which wasn’t all that original of a title to begin with. It wasn’t altered in response to a theory put forth by Conspiracy Brother in “Undercover Brother” to call Chris Rock a sheep, but perhaps to avoid moviegoers associating it with the Chris Farley film from 1996. After all, audiences are likely to think of that first instead of any one of the ten other, better films labeled with the title of Bad Company. And from the way this film was put together, it’s obvious that it doesn’t matter what shade you color us in, the filmmakers are obviously considering the moviegoers as the sheep.

How else to describe a movie where the very pronunciation by comedian Rock is supposed to overpower the utter lack of creativeness of the written punchlines. Only about two of his quips (out of probably 30) caused my face to express even the slightest hint of genuine laughter. The biggest laugh of the film doesn’t even come at the expense of Rock opening his mouth, but the look on his face when, in his early moment of heartbreak, he chooses to play Air Supply in a dance club. The look on my own face was rather sullen and sleepy through the rest of the film as I prayed that the action would lift my eyelids.

That action in question results from the story of Jake Hayes (Rock), an enterprising ticket scalper whose twin brother was CIA and was recently killed in an assignment to ensnare an arms dealer (Peter Stormare) selling one of those now infamous suitcase bombs with nuclear capabilities. Hayes is recruited by his brother’s team, led by Gaylord Oakes (Anthony Hopkins) to impersonate his twin and help complete the mission. In only nine days, the street-smart, rap-lovin’ Hayes must transform himself into the upper-class, classical-chillin’ sibling to save the world.

This is the kind of by-the-numbers generic concoction of action and comedy that screenwriters can sell on spec to the nearest Hollywood studio before they even notice it’s 120 pages of giant black letters for the cheap and illiterate. These movies get released all the time, but at least some of them have a decent concentration of said action or comedy to whitewash how bland the storyline is, to say nothing of the cardboard heroes, insubstantial lead villain and overly long running time. Good guys and bad guys come in all shapes and sizes, but if character development is not included on the menu, we’re smart enough to know that the expensive leading men are likely to win out in the end. But when the audience fails to be engaged in excitement or laughter, the end can’t come soon enough.

The films of Jerry Bruckheimer are one of the few, if not the only group of productions to have their own distinct flavor. No matter which A-list director or studio lackey of the week is behind the camera (in this case Joel Schumacher), you can always tell that Bruckheimer is lurking on the set from the editing to the music. Yet even through some of his lackluster efforts (Con Air, Gone In Sixty Seconds) I can’t remember ever getting the sense of boredom that accompanied Bad Company.

Action sequences look like they belong somewhere in the Bruckheimer canon, but there’s no rhyme and reason to any of them. When confronted by a knife-wielding maniac that he disables with a shower door, why does Rock choose to escape out the window onto a narrow ledge when the front door is an easy exit? Why does a money transfer take place in an empty building with a single raised platform? Simple, so a fight can break out several feet above the ground. I can deal with virtually any implausibility that takes place during an action sequence to give it that extra oomph of spectacular intensity, but I have issues when the foreshadowed sequence begins with such stupidity. Why even bother to saddle a villain with the nickname of “the hammer” when not once do we ever see him use one, let alone ever see a hammer, nail or toolbox in the entire film?

I can’t verify how much carte blanche Rock received to go improv on the script, but its clear that Michael Browning (Six Days, Seven Nights) and debut screenwriter Jason Richman would never survive on open mike night. (Rock even uses a bit from one of his standup routines when he says “I’ll eat a pig’s ass, they cook it right.) Rock’s character goes from brash to sad to sophisticated to buffoonish at the whim of whatever scene he’s in. We are set up with the early subplot that his girlfriend is leaving him, then are forced to watch him try not to cheat with his brother’s stunning ex-girlfriend (Garcelle Beauvais), who only exists for this unnecessary subplot into the story, no matter how good she looks in black lingerie. Later, during a car chase this faithful casanova screams out “I wish for Jennifer Lopez naked!” I found it funnier that one of Anthony Hopkins’ team members (and hinted love interest) is played by Brooke Smith, who was Buffalo Bill’s well-preserved victim who owed part of her rescue to one Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs.

Bad Company has all the familiar components for a comic thriller – the CIA, nuclear bombs, Russians and a black comedian playing off a classically trained actor who can go by “Sir”. But there’s absolutely nothing else to it, as if you were forced to play a chess game with just pawns. If routine action and jokes like this are your cup of tea with a packet of sugar that is Irma P. Hall reprising her disapproving slap-happy mama from 1997’s Nothing To Lose and a lemon twist of Hopkins calling Rock a “bitch”, then pay your eight dollars and get ready for the big shear. This is one baaaaaaaaad movie.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5934&reviewer=198
originally posted: 06/07/02 13:22:36
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User Comments

2/09/14 Charles Tatum Energetically directed, but even Hopkins looks bored; Rock is awful, as usual 2 stars
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT TEDIOUSLY PACED, POORLY WRITTEN AND ACTED 1 stars
2/05/07 Abs Shocker.Film shot seriously, with Chris rock's lame oneliners ruining it's believability 2 stars
8/24/05 ES What the hell was Chris thinking? 1 stars
4/24/05 ye well...i thought it wuz pretty tight. 4 stars
4/18/05 Monday Morning This movie sucks, but it's not a good suck. 1 stars
2/21/05 Captain Craig Rock is way over his head with Hopkins. He should stick with Jackie Chann. Flawed 3 stars
3/07/04 Vince Waste of Hopkins' talent - overall pretty much pathetic 1 stars
1/08/04 A F I turned it on, then I went and looked up porn on the web. 1 stars
6/10/03 Jack Bourbon zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 2 stars
4/08/03 Jack Sommersby The two leads are fun to watch, but the material is so fucking stale. 1 stars
11/24/02 Colin Selby Hopkins seems to have decided to do anything if the price is right.Drivel 1 stars
11/02/02 Josh I felt physically ill after watching this absolutely lame movie 1 stars
9/12/02 laron chapman so funny,it will crack you up 4 stars
9/10/02 John McNew A poorly done, rtread of ancient cliches and plot formula 1 stars
8/19/02 Mr. Hat (I'm Back!) The best part is the end, where they show something direly needed: Agent w/ a social life. 3 stars
8/15/02 Gary Woodhouse Typical Schumacher/Bruckheimer, what do you expect? Enjoyable action flick if you like them 4 stars
8/02/02 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne One of better post-cold-war spy flicks 5 stars
7/19/02 gary vidmar Chris Rock was his usual self--the master of comedy. i loved this movie! 5 stars
7/19/02 Dom Corleone I hate bruckheimer 2 stars
6/30/02 Dude Fuckhiemer turns everything he touches into liquid shit! 1 stars
6/25/02 Peckerneck Go see "The Best of the Chris Rock Show"... aaah...that's better.... 2 stars
6/18/02 The Chronic Mastubator Rock can NOT lead a film, and is there a more bizarre pairing than he and Hopkins. -------> 2 stars
6/15/02 malcolm not bad, in spite of Chris Rock 3 stars
6/12/02 Obi Wan Why is Fuckhiemer allowed to make shit like this, 60Secs, Coyote Ugly the list goes on!!!! 1 stars
6/08/02 MyztiQ i've seen worse, not as bad as EricDSnider says 3 stars
6/08/02 Jake Rock hasn't starred in anything decent. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-Jun-2002 (PG-13)

UK
  12-Jul-2002 (12)

Australia
  18-Jul-2002 (M)




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