Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Rick Jacobson’s ‘Bad Guys’ opens with an eclectic group of individuals returning from what seems to be a botched heist, locked away in an abandoned warehouse somewhere in Los Angeles waiting for the heat to cool down. If this setup sounds somewhat similar to one of our all-time favorite movies ‘Reservoir Dogs’ I don’t think you would be too far off the mark in assuming this, nor do I think this was done by accident, particularly due to the incessant movie references that one of our characters constantly spews throughout the running time of this movie. Let’s report right off the bat that ‘Bad Guys’ is in no way shape or form a ‘Reservoir Dogs’ for the new millennium or anything like that, but I gotta admit… it does have its charms.

The four individuals tucked away in this warehouse without air-conditioning would be Eddie the drug dealer (Sherman Augustus), Ashley the bong smoking drug designer (Danny Strong), Shep the defrocked and perpetually angry police officer (Art LaFluer) and Zena (Kate del Castillo), the hot and spicy Latin lawyer who is the point man for whatever the hell is going down. Zena is pissed off because her 200 dollar blouse is covered in blood and she is particularly upset at the fast talking Eddie because Eddie is the reason that her 200 dollar blouse is covered in blood.

Apparently it was a simple drug deal with our crew, all assembled by Zena because of their particular skill set, to buy some drugs from the Black Triad and its leader who calls himself the Big Black Jap. Unfortunately for our crew, Eddie, for whatever reason, felt a need to escalate the situation which ended up with five dead members of the Black Triad gang and our crew being stuck in their current situation. Complicating matters would be that the Big Black Jap’s twin brother Leroy (Quentin ‘Rampage’ Jackson) is none too happy about his twin brothers murder and has caught the redeye from Detroit to L.A. to kill somebody. As soon as he finds out who needs to kill.

Well, there’s really not much for our characters to do in the meantime except to communicate with each other in their own little special way and learn to like each other even less than they already do. Eddie incessantly makes movie allegories while constantly poking Shep the defrocked cop, Ash gets high, Shep looks for his opportunity to shoot Eddie and Zena just stays angry, saucy and Latin. That is, of course, until all comes to ahead. I think we knew the minute that our crew walked into this warehouse that not everybody was going to walk out of this warehouse under their own power, with the only question for us to ponder being whom, if anybody, was going to avoid leaving this joint in a body bag.

It would difficult to watch this movie ‘Bad Guys’, at least the first five minutes of it, and not smile just a little bit at what director Rick Jacobson is attempting to bring to the table. It is in an exercise in style and the style was working. Characters moving in slow motion with extreme close-ups on pouty cigarette smoke exiting blowing lips, accompanied by smoke blowing sound effects… How does smoke blowing sound? Watch this movie and you’ll find out. All of this stylish setup and odd camera angles is playing out to back drop of a smooth jazz score led by a cool muted trumpet and then they attached some witty funny dialog to the proceedings to get us started and it’s looking like we might have a solid winner here with this movie ‘Bad Guys’. But that was the first five minutes, with the challenge for our filmmakers being how to find a way to extend this stylish exercise for 90 plus minutes while still making it entertaining and funny. I can’t say that they succeeded for the entire movie because there were lulls and silliness here and there, but then something would happen and it would pick up and start being cool again, but then it would get silly again. Inconsistent I guess would be the word that we are looking for.

What is consistent is the overall look, feel and atmosphere of the movie, looking like a movie that cost way more than the dollars that I am assuming were actually spent on it. The performances of both Sherman Augustus and Danny Strong were also consistently strong throughout the movie with some of your enjoyment level of this particular film being your tolerance level for Sherman Augustus’ character of Eddie. I enjoyed watching Eddie, and it was pretty clear that Sherman Augustus was having a hoot being Eddie, but Eddie is mighty obnoxious and I probably would’ve shot Eddie the minute he walked through door but I’m just impulsive that way. Then there was this Huggy Bear sighting with Mr. Fargas doing what he does and almost taking the movie completely away from his poor, hapless, unarmed co-stars.

While some of the dialog and interaction was funny and witty, equal amounts of this dialog were on the lame side and a little tired. The movie references started grate on a nerve after a while and the big finale was… well… a little strange since you have to buy into a curvy 115 pound woman in high heels ability to kick much ass, but I rolled with it.

The bottom line, at least as far as I’m concerned about ‘Bad Guys’, is I did enjoy the movie and it did make me smile. Making a movie that largely takes place in one location with only four people and is largely dialog driven can’t be an easy thing to do but this one, despite the occasional fit, stop and stutter, made it through to the finish line much to my satisfaction.

Real Time Web