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  • Featurette - An Inside Look

Bad Company

Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 112 mins . M15+ . PAL


Settle down children. In today’s class, we will be analysing ways in which a DVD cover is worded in order to fool the public into thinking a film is good, rather than bad. As an example, we will look at a sentence from the back cover of the new DVD Bad Company. For those of you who forgot to bring the DVD with you today, here is the sentence:

“Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins* and the irrepressible Chris Rock star in this spy action thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat!”

Let’s begin with the “Academy Award winner” part, shall we? This is used to indicate that one of the stars of this feature has won an important industry award. They want you to think it was for this film. It wasn’t. It was for another film, a good film. Watch Hopkins closely during the film, and you can almost see him thinking “I won an Oscar once, and now I’m doing this?” He would never win an award for his role in this current film. That’s why there’s a little asterisk next to his name. If you read the fine print set in six point type which the asterisk refers to, you’ll see that it was won in 1991 for Silence of the Lambs. But they know the average schmuck in the video library won’t read the fine print set in six point type because their girlfriend is telling them to hurry up and the pizza is going cold and they left their eyeglasses in the car.

Next, we look at the part which reads “the irrepressible Chris Rock”. Notice that it does not say “the hilarious Chris Rock”, nor even “the slightly funny Chris Rock” or even “the actor Chris Rock”. This is because any of these alternate lines would be guilty of false advertising. Dictionary.com has this definition for irrespressible: "Difficult or impossible to control or restrain." This could in fact be referring to Chris Rock when he runs out of toilet paper on set. On a positive note, it looks as if they’ve finally given up trying to convince us that Rock is funny. For the record, a more appropriate description of Chris Rock in this film would be “the crap Chris Rock”.

Then we have the bit that classifies the film as a “spy action thriller”, as opposed to the more correct “dull overlong flop”. You see, the studio were confused as to what kind of film they made, so they just lumped it with every appropriate genre they could find. They could just as easily have added ‘western’ (someone wears a hat), ‘kung-fu’ (someone gets kicked), ‘medical’ (someone bleeds) and ‘documentary’ (because it documents the lowpoint of Anthony Hopkins’ career).

Finally, we come to “that will have you on the edge of your seat!” Do you see how it doesn’t tell you why you’ll be on the edge of your seat? In reality, it could be because you’re falling asleep and are about to slide off the couch onto the floor. It could be because you’re angry you rented this DVD and are about to get up and throw the disc out the window. It could be because you noticed a dog with a puffy tail outside and would rather go chase it around a tree. It could be all these reasons and more, but it’s definitely not because the film is exciting, which is what the studio is hoping you’ll think “edge of your seat!” means. Don’t trust them!

And that, class, is everything for this lesson. I hope you’ve all learned something today. Next week, we discuss why Jerry Bruckheimer should never be allowed to remake Citizen Kane...


Say what you will about the film, the transfer is just about as good as it gets.

Framed at 2.35:1 (does Bruckheimer produce films at any other ratio? I’m surprised he hasn’t invented his own ratio, one wide enough to film a whole city blowing up, maybe 12.76:1 or something like that), and naturally it is 16:9 enhanced, so it will look absolutely fantastic on any display device you wish to show it upon. The locations, from Europe to the U.S., all look wonderful, with great detail in all the various architecture and elaborate interiors such as the swish hotel rooms with lots of finely veined marble surfaces. The only negatives that some may pick up visually are a bit of aliasing (acceptable levels) and a little edge enhancement (also acceptable in light of how good the rest of it all looks).

What really stuck out to me was how similar this looked to Enemy of the State, and you could be forgiven for thinking this is merely a sequel to that film in both content and style.


Technically what we get from the audio is very good, but, much like the film, it is also a little underwhelming in content. With both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 mixes, there’s plenty of opportunity for a sonically hyperactive environment as befits a “spy action thriller”, but it never goes the extra mile. The Dolby track, at 448kbps, is good, and the DTS, at 768kbps, marginally better, with more expansive bass, and a more open and dynamic soundstage, making it the preferred listening track for me.

The film has a few moments where you expect it to really open up the audio and fill your room with the action, but other than a little activity directed to the rears for shootouts etc, it just feels like a missed opportunity considering the type of film Joel Schumacher and Bruckheimer were trying to assemble. The connection between the front and rears is not as cohesive as it could have been, and the overall impression is a bit of a let down.


Just a single extra, a featurette called Inside Bad Company: An Inside Look, running 12 minutes. Composed of mostly the cast and crew babbling on about their involvement, it is no more than fluff devoid of interest or content. The only revealing point for me was Hopkins claiming that he only read half the script and then quickly adding that was normal for him. However, you get the feeling he wasn’t being honest about this and that the script simply didn’t appeal to him at all.


I’d be hard pressed to recommend this film to avid action fans, as it simply fails to engage on any level. To see what it was trying to do, go get the far superior Enemy of the State instead, and you’ll quickly see where they go wrong. The two stars of that film, Will Smith and Gene Hackman, play their parts far better, the action is far better and the overall result is a far more entertaining film. That makes it three "far's" better than Bad Company.

Opinion on the quality of the DVD is another matter, as visually the film certainly looks on the money with a simply great transfer. Even though, as I said, the audio falls short of its potential, it still sounds good, but the sole extra is basically worthless.

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      And I quote...
    "Film - Bad Company, Picture - Good Company, Extra - Bad Company, Sound - Good Company, Review - Good Company, Vince - Bad Company."
    - Vince Carrozza
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