So are you ready to laugh at a movie about nuclear weapons in the hands of
terrorists in the United States? Disney apparently thought you would be, so
they made not one but two films about the subject. The latest, BAD COMPANY,
directed by Joel Schumacher (8MM and BATMAN & ROBIN), is admittedly much better
than the first one, Barry Sonnenfeld's BIG TROUBLE, which was released just two
months ago. Personally, I don't find atomic bombs and terrorists in our midst
funny. Taken seriously, as THE SUM OF ALL FEARS does, the subject can be an
extremely powerful and quite appropriate movie topic.
Unlike BIG TROUBLE with its slapstick, BAD COMPANY tries to wrap a perfunctory
thriller around a tired buddy comedy. Anthony Hopkins plays Gaylord Oakes, a
wise and taciturn CIA leader, and Chris Rock plays Jake Hayes, a street hustler
who is drafted into The Company when the twin brother he never knew he had is
killed on a mission. The plot gives Gaylord nine short days to turn the
smart-mouthed Jake into a suave and sophisticated antiques dealer, which was his
Rock, as always, can cut-up with the best of them, and Hopkins adds class to any
production with which he is associated; but the chemistry between them is a bit
labored. Although Rock is clearly in his element, Hopkins is getting a little
old to play an action hero.
The story and screenplay, by the writing committee of Gary Goodman, David
Himmelstein, Jason Richman and Michael Browning, needlessly strains credulity.
The most glaring example of this occurs when a nuclear bomb is about to level
New York. Hopkins doesn't call for any backup when he goes to where he knows
the bomb to be. Other scripting problems are less preposterous. The bad guys
-- there are two complete sets -- are carefully chosen not to be of any
nationality of real terrorists who are currently a threat, lest we offend their
sensibilities. The villains are all clichéd slime balls who might as well have
"Scums 'R Us" tattooed on their foreheads.
And then there is my favorite ridiculous part to the movie, a flaw shared with
other such pulp pictures. Why is it that the bad guys can afford lots of
machine guns, but our guys keep getting stuck with just pistols?
BAD COMPANY runs 1:55. It is rated PG-13 for "intense sequences of violent
action, some sensuality and language" and would be acceptable for kids around 11
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes