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Bad Company

review by Zach B.

 

 

Rated: PG

Running Time: 92 minutes

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Barry Brown, Jim Davis, David Huddleston

Written by: David Newman and Robert Benton

Directed by: Robert Benton

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $24.99

Features: None

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Mono, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (14 Scenes)

Released: June 4th, 2002

 

 

Drew Dixon (Barry Brown) heads out west from Ohio in hopes to evade the draft. Along that very way he meets Jake (Jeff Bridges), a somewhat cheat of the person with questionable moral values. Jake lets him into a group of nomads who live on their quick wits and skills. As much as Drew doesn't fit in with them, he does need them and their company to survive. Despite this, he soon blends with them and realizes he shares more in common with the fellows than he thought he did...

Robert Benton, who has made some of the most memorable films of the 20th century, made his directing debut with "Bad Company." I'd say thematically, "Bad Company" is on par with such works as "Kramer Vs. Kramer" and "Bonnie and Clyde." Benton's writing, along with David Newman, is quite superb. There's some kind of great irony that this film features. I enjoyed the clashes that occur between Jake and Drew, as well as the group coming together. Still, what's really cool about this movie is how the story plays out. All of the people in the gang aren't exactly bad people, despite what their actions and some moral stances may be. Each of them have his own reasons and are their own victims against society.

Benton's first directing outing is a very nice effort. There are some slow parts, but there's a fun aspect to the movie in addition to its themes of survival and friendship, not to mention commentary on society. Still, it moves out a good pace and has good action and good developments within. The performances are also solid. Barry Brown and Jeff Bridges each have their unique charms that counterclash with one another, giving off good chemistry and superb deliveries in their roles. Jim Davis and David Huddelston are quite good too.

It's not your typical western (like another Paramount release, Will Penny) as it's more of a commentary on the times and men affected by it. It doesn't exactly feel like a western, but if you enjoy westerns or good character films, "Bad Company" is worth checking out.

 

It's thirty years old, but it sure looks pretty good all things considered. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is quite suitable. The exterior shots look pretty lovely: the dirt western roads, the drab colors of the stores, the brown horses and the wagons all fit right in. There's a certain level of sharpness that is very impressive. Fleshtones are excellent too and color saturation is very well done. The flaws are some constant grain here and there, while little flaws like dirt pieces, nicks, blemishes, shimmering and noise pop up, but don't get in the way. A pretty striking transfer that lives up nicely to Paramount's namesake. I wish all their transfers for older films looked this good.

 

The English mono track for the movie isn't that bad at all, surprisingly. The fidelity is rather high on the track, while dialogue is pretty crisp and holds its own. Nice sound effects such as a few scruffles, horses marching and some action scenes bring a punch to the track, while the music from Harvey Scmidt sounds particuarly nice. This is simply one of the best mono tracks I've heard lately on a Paramount release, and it certainly won't disappoint. Very nice. Also included are English closed captions and English subtitles.

 

Nothing at all.

 

"Bad Company" is a steady character drama and a great directing debut from Robert Benton. There are no supplements sadly, but the presentation of the film is very nice. If you're a fan of the film or want a different kind of western, "Bad Company" is worth checking out on DVD.