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MRQE Top Critic

Les Choristes

The French confection Les Choristes is now available on a skimpy, movie-only DVD —Matt Anderson (DVD review...)

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The story of two unlikely heroes paired together to save the day is one of the most unoriginal and overused plots in Hollywood today. Joel Schumacher’s Bad Company is yet another one of these fish-out-of-water action-comedies, a film that has every one of the genre’s all-too-familiar characteristics, from the trained, Caucasian veteran to the streetwise, African-American newcomer. However, while Bad Company could easily be dismissed as yet another 48 Hours, Lethal Weapon or even Rush Hour, brilliant casting and an action-packed script make Bad Company not only a summer movie worth seeing, but an action-comedy worth remembering.

“You’ve Got Nine Days to Save the World...”

Rock is both a sidekick and a budding actorBad Company features the unlikely pairing of Sir Anthony Hopkins and funny man Chris Rock as Gaylord Oakes and Jake Hayes — two strangers who would have never met each other if it wasn’t for Hayes’ twin brother, CIA agent Kevin Pope. While negotiating a deal to purchase a nuclear bomb, Kevin is murdered just days before the deal is complete.

Determined to have the deal go through and get the bomb out of terrorists’ hands, CIA agent Oakes tracks down Kevin’s twin brother (they were separated from at birth) to finish the deal. With only nine days to transform the street-wise, ticket-hustling loud mouth into a sophisticated and trained government agent, Agent Oakes must work day and night with Jake to not only find out who murdered Kevin, but also save the world from nuclear attack.

Your Typical Jerry Bruckheimer Production

Like most comedies, the trailers for Bad Company give away majority of the film’s punchlines. In fact, there are only a few laugh-out-loud moments in the movie that viewers won’t have previously seen. Luckily, the trailers don’t spoil the best action sequences. Unlike the other dime-a-dozen action-comedies the film could easily be lumped with, the script has just as many twists and turns as it does punchlines. Screenwriters Jason Richman and Michael Browning Richman deliver an edge-of-your-seat climax filled with surprises, making Bad Company a joy to watch from start to finish.

No matter how action-packed or well-written Bad Company is, the main reason to see the film is for the odd-couple pairing of Hannibal Lecter with the former Saturday Night Live comedian. Hopkins and Rock are great together, and their on-screen chemistry is easily comparable to that of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover or Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.

Hopkins (as always) is splendid as the serious CIA agent who has his doubts about his latest recruit, and although Rock has his shaky moments, they are easy to dismiss since his character’s supposed to be uncomfortable in his new atmosphere. Furthermore, the dual roles of Jake Hayes and Kevin Pope let Rock’s talents shine as both a stand-up comic and a budding actor, showing him as the side-kick comedian like in Dogma and Lethal Weapon 4, as well as a more serious actor.

Mixing The Good with The Bad

Nevertheless, Bad Company does have its bad moments. The film is filled with the typical clichĂ©s of the action-comedy genre, and — a few scenes aside — is just as predictable as any one of the Beverly Hills Cop, Rush Hour or 48 Hours movies. Although the film only runs 117 minutes, its pace slows down drastically during the climax. The story feels like it should end but keeps on going for another 20 minutes.

Although there are jokes that cause viewers to erupt with laughter, there are jokes that fall on deaf ears. And Hopkins’ brilliant performance only brings out Rock’s flaws as a serious actor. Given the highly successful franchises this film is not only competing against, but also trying so desperately to emulate, Bad Company manages to balance its flaws with its strengths nicely.

The film is exactly what moviegoers would expect from a Jerry Bruckheimer summer release, packing as many explosions and one-liners as possible into two hours. Fans of Hopkins and Rock should be pleased and, should the film fulfill its blockbuster potential, look forward to their inevitable reunion in Bad Company 2. Even with its few flaws, Bad Company is still the perfect summer film for anyone who likes a little bit of laughter with their action. However, for those who are expecting more laughs than gunfire, waiting for Rush Hour 3 may not be such a bad idea.