Hopkins and Rock's effort make for bad company
By Christopher Brunt
The Daily Cougar
These days we allow our truly great actors to make one or two awful
movies in their career — De Niro had Showtime, Ed Norton had Death to Smoochy
and Harrison Ford had Six Days, Seven Nights.
Anthony Hopkins has just cashed his in with Bad Company, the Joel Schumacher-directed
feature opening in theaters this week. Let's hope he doesn't hold a murderous
grudge against the legion of critics who are going to condemn this movie
to the bottom shelf of video stores everywhere.
The first 45 seconds of this film are stellar, with beautiful shots
of Prague that will cause you to totally ignore the opening credits. After
this initial promise, however, it's straight downhill at a frighteningly
I'm not sure Hopkins could have picked a worse script if Freddie Prinze
Jr. was his agent. While the concept of pairing the enormously popular
comedian Chris Rock with Sir Hopkins in a "regular guy saves the world"
summer action flick probably sounded dynamite to whatever studio chief
bankrolled this film, the execution is abysmal.
Photo courtesy of Touchstone Pictures
In Bad Company, Jake Hayes (Chris Rock) (left) reacts
after CIA agent Gaylord Oakes (Anthony Hopkins) has just recruited him.
Both Rock and Hopkins virtually burst out of the fabric of this picture,
which is simply too poorly made for talents of their caliber. Hopkins plays
a top CIA man who must guide Rock through a mission that will, naturally,
save the free world. Rock plays identical twins whom are socially polarized.
He does quite well, considering the atrocious lines he's given.
The crowning achievement of the film hinges on Rock's dual roles: never
have I seen a picture where the filmmakers portray such a range of offensive
racial stereotypes using the same actor.
Rock has a few genuinely funny moments — he's too talented not to draw
laughs even in a badly-written film like this — but the overall effect
is something like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Hopkins never
shows a noticeable flaw in his performance, yet he doesn't display anything
else noticeable either.
What bothered me the most about Bad Company wasn't its lack of entertainment
value, but its complete abandonment of all acceptable taste. This is a
highly charged film about nuclear terrorism threatening America, and although
filmmakers moved the movie's November 2001 release date to now, it could
hardly have come at a worse time. This isn't to say films regarding terrorism
should not be made, but the way in which Bad Company delivers is just bad
in all respects.