Bad Company (2002)

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Released 28-Apr-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-In Bad Company: An Inside Look
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 111:51 (Case: 116)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (51:52) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Joel Schumacher
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Anthony Hopkins
Chris Rock
Gabriel Macht
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $36.95 Music Trevor Rabin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
Russian
Swedish
Norwegian
Danish
Finnish
Icelandic
Estonian
Greek
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Bad Company is, through and through, a formula film. From the attempt at merging half a dozen genres (being action, comedy, spy, thriller, buddy, and cop), to the casting of the "odd couple" leads, and the selection of a director who would not appear to be the best candidate, it all smacks of a film made for the purpose of getting "bums on seats" and nothing else. There's no deeper meaning to this film, there's no sub-text to find - it is simply all for entertainment. But there is a problem with films of this nature when the people don't go to see them - they were made for no other purpose, and so become quickly forgotten. Such was the case for Bad Company as it struggled at the box office, while similar genre fare (especially the equally formulaic xXx) surged ahead in leaps and bounds.

    So why the poor performance? Some would suggest that it was because it was simply a bad film, but while it is certainly formulaic and rather clichéd, the majority of films in the same genre are just as much to blame. To put it simply, Bad Company is not that bad. It is entertaining, looks gorgeous, stars two likeable actors, and actually does have a decent story buried beneath the lacklustre script. There have certainly been films which have succeeded on far less.

    The plot is one of international espionage. A nuclear bomb that fits in a suitcase is up for sale on the black market, and CIA agent Kevin Pope (Chris Rock) has positioned himself to be a buyer. The problem for the CIA, and his boss Oakes (Anthony Hopkins), is that shortly after organising a time for the deal, Kevin is assassinated. This leaves the CIA one choice - track down Kevin's long lost twin brother, Jake Hayes (Chris Rock), and have him pose as Kevin until the deal goes down. There's only one small hitch in that plan - Kevin and Jake may well have been twins, but they are two people who would have had nothing in common. Jake is a street hustler, he's broke, and his girlfriend just left him. Now he has just nine days to transform himself into a suited, classical-music listening, Harvard-educated super-suave spy. If he fails, millions of lives may be lost.

    One of the most impressive aspects of Bad Company is the way in which Chris Rock controls his often over-the-top antics. I have always thought of Chris Rock as a nuclear reaction - when carefully controlled, he can be used to excellent effect (as shown in the latter Kevin Smith movies), but when left to his own devices, he can become simply too much (the abominable Down To Earth). This movie is a good example of the first category, where his natural humour is used to good effect, but he never becomes overbearing. The performance side of the movie is, however, a let-down, with most of the leading cast putting in paint-by-numbers performances. Anthony Hopkins in particular just mumbles his way through most of the lines, rarely if ever investing them with emotion (and although that mostly suits his character, it would be nice to see him feel something).

    Bad Company is probably doomed to the fate of the mediocre formula film - being forgotten in a few years - but for fans of spy movies, it is worth checking out, and in that regard, the rental-only nature of this overlooked title will be of benefit.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a good video transfer, that falls short of higher honours due to excessive aliasing.

    Presented at the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image presented in this transfer is reasonably sharp, displaying a good amount of fine detail. Grain is a constant, although usually low, presence and keeps the transfer from ever being extremely sharp. There are only a very few occasions where the grain becomes particularly noticeable, such as in the opening credits from 0:28 to 0:37, and they are infrequent enough to not become a problem. Shadow detail is excellent, bringing life to any darkly lit scene, and helping to make the night scenes look very good indeed. There is no low level noise present in this transfer.

    Colours are very good, and are used at times throughout the film to interesting effect. The scenes in the US, and those involving the CIA in particular, tend toward the monochromatic, while the scenes set in Prague are rich and vibrant in colour.

    First the good news for artefacts: there are no film artefacts, nor compression artefacts at all. In fact, this transfer only suffers from one problem, and that is aliasing. There are many, many instances of minor aliasing, such as on the shoulder at 15:47, or the toothpick in Anthony Hopkins mouth from 34:18 to 34:20, and a number of instances of severe aliasing, such as on the grille at 30:25. The aliasing can be quite distracting at times, and as such detracts from the overall enjoyment of the movie.

    The subtitles are word-for-word accurate, are easy to read, and are well paced.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 51:52. It is reasonably well placed, not interrupting any dialogue, and on a scene change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Like the video transfer, the audio transfer is good but falls short of being great, this time due to a slightly disappointing use of surround sound.

    There are three audio tracks present on this disc, being the original English dialogue in both Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 Kbps), and DTS 5.1 (half bit-rate), and a Russian dub in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 384 Kbps).

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, and given the number of different accents (and Chris Rock's usual habit of spouting lines faster than a race-caller) that is no mean feat. Audio sync is never a problem, being spot-on throughout.

    The score is attributed to Trevor Rabin, and while a little clichéd and typical genre fare, it is still quite good, and well suited to the film. It may not win any awards, but it helps set the mood effectively, and is generally bold and bright as one would expect for an action-comedy. There are also a number of different contemporary pieces, ranging from rap/R&B to rock. They generally suit the scenes, and do not stand out too much.

    The surround channel use is slightly disappointing. While it is good enough, it could have been so much better. The surrounds get a decent amount of use during the numerous gun-battles in the film, but generally fall silent in between, barely even carrying the score, and almost never any ambient noise.

    The subwoofer on the other hand gets a decent workout, both from the score, and from the effects noises. Gunfire has a decent kick from the subwoofer, while most sound effects that would normally produce low frequencies receive ample backing.

    The Dolby Digital and DTS tracks are so close in quality as to be indistinguishable. This probably has something to do with it being a half bit-rate DTS track and a high bit-rate Dolby Digital track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The solitary extra is virtually worthless, and does not really deserve the name.

Menu

    The menu is animated, themed around the movie, is 16x9 enhanced, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

In Bad Company - An Inside Look (12:00)

    This "making-of" would have to be the most embarrassing one ever made - it is a wonder it was actually placed on the disc. Virtually everyone who works on this project ranges from hinting to outright admitting that they didn't enjoy it, and that they think the film is terrible. Only producer Jerry Bruckheimer really makes an effort to talk up the film. Worth a look just for the cringe factor, but certainly nothing about the film itself is contained within. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     There is almost nothing to tell between these two discs, and so it really comes down to personal preference. Get it from your favourite DVD store.

Summary

    Bad Company is an enjoyable spy-thriller-action-comedy that does enough to be interesting, whilst keeping just the right amount of control on Chris Rock. It is certainly cheesy, but worth a look for genre fans (others should probably stay away however).

    The video quality is good, but a large amount of aliasing keeps it from being excellent. The aliasing gets bad enough to be quite distracting.

    The audio quality is also good, but there is a decided lack of surround utilisation, with the spaces between the action scenes usually filled with silence.

    The single extra is a waste of space, and would have been better left off.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Sunday, January 12, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

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Comments (Add)
What Aliasing? - Rhodes_96 (read my bio)
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