So what do you get when you cross two bad movies? Nothing good, that's for
Mixing large doses of a preposterous, high-tech, crime drama with smaller
amounts of a lame, slapstick comedy, Antoine Fuqua's BAIT, starring Jamie
Foxx as doofus crook Alvin Sanders, doesn't give moviegoers any reason to
see it. A completely derivative film, it steals its clichés from other
movies but finds no ways to improve upon them.
When we meet Alvin, he and his buddy are busy robbing a fish warehouse of
some prawns. Much is made of it being prawns and not shrimp. "A prawn is
like 5 or 6 shrimp," Alvin explains pedantically to his cohort in crime.
How silly does it get? Alvin is so dumb and the comedy is so stupid that
he's proven guilty by a shrimp behind his ears. Excuse me, a prawn.
While Alvin is sneaking out with a bag of shell fish, a more sophisticated
operation is stealing 42 million dollars worth of gold bars. Bristol (Doug
Hutchison) is the mastermind of masterminds behind the gold theft. To get
inside the government's vaults, Bristol breaks into agency computers so
secure that the same encryption is used for the computers that launch
Bristol's klutzy sidekick, John Jaster (Robert Pastorelli), manages to make
off with the gold from the heist. When Jaster dies in the same jail cell as
Alvin, a super secret agency, led by Agent Edgar Clenteen (David Morse),
sets up Alvin as bait to lure in Bristol. After implanting a tracking chip
in Alvin's jaw, they make Bristol suspect that Alvin is the only guy who
knows the location of the loot.
The underwritten script by Andrew and Adam Scheinman and Tony Gilroy falls
back on retreads of lines that were pretty ludicrous the first time you
heard them. "Exactly how many laws are we breaking here?" one agent asks
Clenteen . "You don't want to know," he replies. And towards the end,
Clenteen gives his men ruthless, shoot-to-kill orders, saying "You shoot.
I'll answer the letters."
In order to fully comprehend how bad BAIT is, let's review some of its many
inanities. 1) Jaster (Robert Pastorelli) is so dumb that he sets a bottle
of prescription drugs with his name on it down on the dark floor during the
robbery. 2) The cops let Clenteen beat up Jasper and drag him through the
jail. 3) The large, extremely expensive, clandestine operation is chock
full of agents that "don't exist." 4) A gigantic gas tanker truck speeds
side ways out of control down a street, but Bristol, who is standing in its
path, doesn't move even an inch until it miraculously stops right next to
him. 5) And a tracking device put under a car has a bright red blinking
light and a loud clicking sound.
The film's overly sleek look is photographed in hazy steel blues and grays
with shadows everywhere and lots of luminescent computer screens. It tries,
without much luck, to trick us into thinking that we are watching a movie
In a film filled with low moments, none is lower than its ridiculous,
over-the-top ending extravaganza, which includes baby endangerment.
Overacted and overdirected, BAIT should have gone straight to video. Maybe
late at night on the small screen, its many flaws might be been easier to
ignore. The problem with BAIT is that editing out these flaws wouldn't have
left enough to make even the trailers.
BAIT runs a long 1:59. It is rated R for language, violence and a scene of
sexuality and would be acceptable for older teenagers.
Copyright © 2000 Steve Rhodes