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September 18, 2000 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-18

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_.

ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 18, 2000 - 9A

*Foxx reels in catch with
action and comedy of 'Bait'

By Lyle Henretty
For The Daily
No one will ever write their doc-
oral thesis on film theory and
include the movie "Bait." This is
precisely why it was worth the six
bucks to see.
It is an imaginative action-come-

dy that improves
Bait
Grade: B
At Showcase
and Quality 16
<:hX.

upon the genre
w i t h o u t
attempting to
over step its
bounds. It is fun
enough to for-
give plot con-
trivances and
logical holes
large enough to
drive an Expe-
dition through.
Yet, at the same
time, director
Antoine Fuqua
flushes out

torelli) just happened to have stolen
$42 million in gold from the gov-
ernment, though he got arrested for
drunk driving. Alvin is given some
cryptic information about the rob-
bery, and then the gold thief dies
before he has a chance to tell any-
one (even his murderous partner,
Bristol, played by David Hutchison)
where the gold is. Just about the
scariest FBI agent in film history
(David Morse of "The Green Mile")
decides that the only way to catch
Bristol is to use Alvin as, say it with
me now, bait.
The government, unbeknownst to
Alvin, implants a tracking device
into his jaw that allows them to not
only follow his every move, but also
hear every word spoken by him or
anyone around him. Then they put
him back on the street, allowing
Bristol to believe that his partner
talked and that Alvin knows where
the gold is.
If this setup sounds familiar, you
may remember Martin Lawrence's
"Blue Streak." While Lawrence
stretched one joke into a 90-minute
sitcom, "Bait" succeeds in blending
action and comedy and not allowing
one to overshadow the other. A few
minor slips aside, Foxx's one liners
are believably drawn from the
onscreen action. The jokes do not

seem forced or out of place, as is
the case in most of the genre (read:
anything with Schwarzenegger).
- The only real problem stems less
from the predictability of the story,
but rather the director's inclusion of
truly obnoxious action movie clich-
es. While the film builds suspense
nicely in several scenes, the climax
has both an explosion and a last
minute slow-motion-shoot-the-bad-
guy-before-he-shoots-the-hero save.
I really should have expected it,
especially from a script I've already
deemed typical, but a guy can
dream, can't he?
Jamie Foxx has truly come a long
way from his days of playing ugly
women on television's "In Living
Color." Here, he shows that his fine
performance in "Any Given Sun-
day" was no fluke. His Alvin is not
a two-dimensional wiseacre, as he
might have been in the hands of
Lawrence or Chris Tucker. He uses
humor to hide his own fears and
insecurities. That sounds deep for
an action movie, yet Foxx gives off
both warmth and fear as his charac-
ter discusses the role he would like
to play in his young son's life.
Morse is also highly enjoyable as
the gruff FBI agent with a heart of,
well, lead. His "Green Mile" char-
acter was endearing and truly like-

Courtesy of Castle Ro k
Jamie Foxx stars as Alvin Sanders In "Bait." Hello? Is that your agent calling? You actually made a decent flick, Jamle.

characters (or at
*ast Foxx's character) beyond what
we've come to expect in common
action fare.
The film begins with our inept
hero Alvin Sanders (Jamie Foxx)
ailed for stealing a couple of bags
of shrimp (prawns, as he keeps
}iesisting, that are worth more that
shrimp). His cellmate (Robert Pas-

able. Here, there is no doubt that he
will stop at nothing, even allowing
Alvin to die, in order to do his job.
He is mean and over the top and
often-times scarier than the villain.
Every good trashy action movie
should have a character like him.
The rest of the cast is proficient in

their stock action movie roles.
Hutchison comes off as a junior
John Malkovich - both looking
and sounding like the illusive actor.
Kimberley Elise ("Beloved"), David
Paymer ("Get Shorty") and Jamie
Kennedy ("Scream") also have
small roles.

So, the bottom line is that this is a
popcorn movie through and
through. Don't take a date if you
want to impress her with your great
taste, but if you're looking for
something to sit back and enjoy,ilhfs
is your movie.

;Suspects' director hits bullseye with 'Gun'

By Joshua Gross
Daily Arts Writer
Scumbags shooting scumbags. Pure
eauty. Especially when written and
directed with the gritty, splinters under
your fingernails, tobacco-stained teeth
style of Christopher McQuarrie, noto-
*us writer of "The Usual Suspects."
In "The Way of the Gun," every
moment has been constructed, almost
scientifically, to be as bad-ass as possi-
ile, making the film a religious specta-
de worthy of Jim Baker, the icon of
*orship being the gun and the posses-
ior of that gun, the eternal scumbag.
Not afraid to be unconventional,

McQuarrie injectsl
The Way of
the Gun
Grade: A-
At Showcase
and Quality 16
, /
ai beer bottle broken

his film with a slow,
slow pace that
feeds on sus-
pense like a
starving worm
feeding on a rot-
ten apple. The
audience is
' dragged from
beginning to end
like as if tied to
the back of a pick
up truck, steadily
gaining altitude.
The movie
begins with the
visceral impact of
n over your head at a

from the safety of a bar's open door,
concealed attackers heard but not seen.
"There's always free cheese in the
mousetrap," Benicio del Toro notes,
babbling and shuffling his way through
the film, doing what he does best.
This movie is brutal, barbaric, palpa-
bly and unflinchingly violent, but none
of the thousands of bullets that are fired
during its span are unnecessary. Most
movies will glamorize the life of the
criminal without implanting the nerd'y
college-engulfed spectator into the
skins of the characters. We watch rather
that comprehend.
Although you feel no sympathy for
these characters, you walk alongside
them, realizing how easy it is for every-
thing to go wrong, understanding that a
plan is always the least likely outcome.
Anything can go wrong, anytime, and
you won't be able to remedy it in time
when it does. Criminals know this,
bystanders do not, and this is the Hitch-
cockian knowledge that the film com-
municates.
Apart from 1995's "Heat," this is one
of the only films that truly make you
understand what it feels like, mind,
body and soul, to be in a shootout.
Every open window, every concrete pil-
lar, every glass door, every corner is an
enemy, a big red target that a bullet can
sneak its way through to find a home in
your spleen.
Apart from Ryan Phillippe, who
cannot avoid looking like a Back-
street Boy despite his- spurt of ratty
facial hair, each actor handles his or
her character with expertise, Juliette
Lewis as a pregnant pawn of the sur-
rounding criminals - Taye Diggs,
James Caan, and Benicio del Toro.
Each character, with their twisted and
conflicting motives (aren't they
always?) form a movie that, when the
credits begin to role, makes you
check the walls for bullet holes and
the adjoining seats to make sure your
friends are still alive.

Courtesy of Artisan Entertainment
Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro kick ass and take names in "The Way of the Gun."
*earn how the world works...
Study abroad in 20
international cities
with Boston University

bar fight, glass in your hair. Overflow-
ing with profanity, it is a preparatory
stunt for the audience, much like a fire-
works display before an execution. It is
the first of a number of scenes that uti-
lize all the elements of film, camera
angles, lighting, scenery, music, to
#ct the paranoia and desperation of
the characters.
McQuarrie crafts irony laden, seat-
shifting, sweat-gushing situations, a
ransom exchange between two 18-
wheel trucks amidst the deafening roar
of machinery, a five mile an hour car
chase, a bag of money plainly viewed

Australia
Belize
China
Ecuador
England
France
Germany
[reland
Israel
Italy

I

|_ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ __._ _ - -.

Winter

Commencement

2000
Sunday,

Deadline
for entries
is 5 p.m.
Friday,
October 20,2000

Food for Thought

December 17,2000
2:00 p.m.

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