Monday, June 10, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 145



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 high velocity.

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.

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