Bad Company Review

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Following the murder of agent Kevin Pope, veteran CIA op Gaylord Oakes has only nine days to train street hustler Jake Hayes, Pope's twin, to become the dead man's double and foil a nuclear bomb threat.


It is no surprise that Bad Company started life as a movie project in the '80s. Throwing together many elements of the high-concept filmmaking that defined that decade - the fish-out-of-water scenario, the mismatched partners schtick - the only thing missing is a Harold Faltermeyer score. Unfortunately, what this comedy-action-thriller fails to do in any way is add any new licks to the old formulas and scenarios. If Beverly Hills Cop is the benchmark, then this falls a long way short.

Not originally envisaged as a summer release - its terrorist-attack-on-New-York finale has seen it delayed - Bad Company is subsequently a lower-key effort compared to recent Bruckheimer blockbusters.

The set-up is small-scale, the look is muted compared to the filter-fests of Michael Bay and Tony Scott, and the competent, bog-standard action set-pieces - a shoot-out in a practically deserted hotel, a car chase through high grass - swap huge explosions for more down-to-earth thrills. The movie is better in its first half, as Jake is inducted into the ways of the CIA with Rock given the space to freeform some funny comedic riffs into the formulaic mix. Yet when the hackneyed plot machinations kick in - the rent-a-villains (including a wasted Stormare) lack colour and personality - Rock gets subsumed in standard thriller staples and can do little to up the fun quotient.

Hopkins adds well-worn gravitas to his underwritten CIA operative without ever giving the feeling he is trying particularly hard. That there is something not quite clicking in the chemistry between the two stars is symptomatic of the film itself - Schumacher never achieves the right tone between the comedy and action. The result is that all-too-familiar beast: average Saturday night fare devoid of any kind of surprise or invention.

With all of Joel Schumacher's excesses blanded out to fit Bruckheimer's style, Bad Company is slickly produced with half-decent action, a smattering of laughs and is, at times, nicely played. Although not particularly bad, it's not particularly good either.