Bad Company

Friday, January 1, 1999

I fail to understand the logic behind remaking well-known films. Take the recent remake of Diabolique, for instance. What is possibly to be gained by remaking a generally well-regarded film with an inferior cast, except possibly to fuel the director and producer's desire to commit hubris. Certainly, the filmgoing public is not served by these remakes as they are, almost without exception, far inferior to those films that inspired them.

For years, I had adopted an attitude that all remakes were, by their very nature, lousy; however, I recently came to the conclusion that the problem lies in filmmakers trying to remmake films that are already pretty good. Instead of remmaking a film by Hitchcock or Hawks, why not find a film with a somewhat interesting script that was horribly miscast, misdirected, and generally bungled in every instance possible.

Like, for instance, Bad Company.

The film starts with a massively overplotted script by the master of overplotted American spy novels, Ross Thomas. I suppose an argument could be made that Ross Thomas' fiction does not lend itself to film, as an average Thomas story consists of no less than 67% of the narrative devoted to people standing around discussing what they intend to do, rather than actually doing it. Still, in the right hands, this could be made into a film as interesting as the novels.

Sadly, Damian Harris does not possess these hands. I have a hard time passing judgement on Mr. Harris, as he did write and direct the notable film, The Rachel Papers. Nevertheless, he seems to have no idea how to handle this script. He gets uncomfortable with the concept of a man and woman talking, so instructs them to have sex while they carry on the conversation. Not a good sign.

Of course, the most lowly hack could have done a passable job had he been supported by somewhat sane casting choices. Thomas novels generally feature one of two general protagonist types. The first is the older, mind-bogglingly cynical, hard-boiled Agency vet. The other is the young turk, who is a ballsy upstart, but highly honorable and interested in the history and tradition of being a secret agent. This film contains both characters, casting Frank Langella in the former and Laurence Fishburne in the latter. Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. (I think I will avoid even mentioning Ellen Barkin -- I will merely state that her career has been a dismal spiral ever since Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai...)

So, why not option this script again (it's been 6 years -- i'm sure it's available by now) and do it right? Give it to John Dahl, maybe. Put Edward Norton in it. Can't go wrong (or, at least, not any more wrong).

Rating: D- (Begs to be Done Well)

Reviewed by Padgett Arango
Contents
The Hills Have Eyes 2

Hostel Part II

Six Degrees

Shark

Jericho

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Justice

The Hills Have Eyes

Love Monkey

Out of Practice

Head Cases

Crunchwrap Supreme

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Batman Begins

Garden State

Hero

13 Going On 30

LAX

Starman

quirkyalone.net

Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Line of Fire

We Shall All Be Healed

Happy Family

Arrested Development

Love Actually

A Minute with Stan Hooper

Tarzan

Karen Sisco

Stop All the World Now

Cold Case

Skin

10-8

Joan of Arcadia

Eve

Luis

Lost In Translation

House of 1000 Corpses

Bubba Ho-Tep

Darkness Falls

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Amazing Race

Treasure Island

FearDotCom

Adaptation

To Hit Armor Class Zero

Without A Trace

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter

Life With Bonnie

Jalapeņo Cheeseburger

The Mothman Prophecies

Happy Campers

The Man Who Wasn't There

Kiss of the Dragon

Josie & the Pussycats

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Dr. Pepper

Know By Heart

Waking Life

L.I.E.

Thirteen Ghosts

Earthlink presents Chang and Eng

New York and Country Bar

Change

Motivation and Water Tower Grammar

Crossing Philly

Makeout Club

Undeclared

The Gap

The Abolition of Work

3000 Miles to Graceland

Kolobos

Duets

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Diesel Sweeties

The Cold Six Thousand

The Grilled Stuft Burrito (Rebuttal)

60 Second Wipeout

The Patriot

Grilled Stuft Burrito

Cowgirls

Crystalline

Frankenfinger E.P.

One Force Down

Shake

Both Our Secrets

Happy Birthday Captain Columbus!

Fight Club

Whatever It Takes

Committed

That Skinny Motherfucker with the High Voice?

Joe Dirt

The Veggie Whopper

Taco Bell Nachos

Palmetto

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

The Terror of Mechagodzilla

To The Center

Infiniti+Infiniti

American Psycho

The Del Shredder

What Lies Beneath

The Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Bring It On

Chill Factor

Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars

Bad Company

The Blair Witch Project

Hyacinths and Thistles

Lake of Dracula

We'll Have a Time

Home Depot

Snow Day

The Virgin Suicides