Bad Company

Tagline : Bribery. Blackmail. Murder. Specialities of the house.

Runtime : 108 mins

Genre : Action Crime Romance Thriller

Vote Rating : 4.8/10

Plot : CIA operative Nelson Crowe is tasked with a deadly assignment: infiltrate a highly secret industrial espionage firm. Once inside, he teams with Margaret Wells, a master spy and seductive manipulator, in a plot to overthrow the organization's sinister president, which leads them into a darkly mysterious web of intrigue -- and shocking murder!

Cast Members


Bad Company is basically the neo-noir version of Deep Cover, released three years earlier; both films star Laurence Fishburne (reminding us that his best work came before The Matrix) as an undercover agent who infiltrates a criminal organization on behalf of a federal agency , only to have the line between the two sides blur, if not downright disappear. The biggest difference between the two movies is that in Deep Cover the hero's inner conflict is what drives the plot, while Bad Company is all surface — which is exactly what a noir should be like. Former CIA agent Nelson Crowe (Fishburne) is hired by Vic Grimes (the ever-effective Frank Langella), who runs a company he calls "The Tool Shed." Grimes' firm employs people with intelligence backgrounds to sell their talents for extortion and corporate espionage to domestic and foreign corporations. Grimes's second-in-command, Margaret Wells (Ellen Barkin), begins working with Crowe and seduces him, luring him into a plot to assassinate Grimes so they can take over the company. During a secret meeting, it’s revealed that Crowe is a CIA mole, albeit against his will. Crowe was fired from the agency on suspicion of stealing a $50,000 bribe intended for an Iraqi colonel. Crowe's former boss, William 'Smitty' Smithfield (Michael Murphy), threatens him with jail for the missing bribe as leverage for Crowe to infiltrate the Tool Shed. The CIA intends to acquire the company and use it as a clandestine operations center with Smitty in charge. Meanwhile, Todd Stapp (Michael Beach), the fourth and as far as I can discern final member of the Shed, discovers Crowe's cover, but instead of going to Grimes with this information, he decides to help Smitty and Crowe take over the Shed. All of this makes exactly zero sense. Why would the CIA, for all intents and purposes a clandestine agency itself, want to take over another clandestine agency? According to Smitty, “we get our own private, self-sustaining special operations boutique at no cost to the taxpayer” — but after a little research I learn that the Director of the CIA is the only federal employee who gets to spend government money without having to save the receipts, so to speak; thus, I doubt he gives a flying f--- about “the taxpayer” (this also makes it rather suspicious that Smitty asks Crowe to sign a receipt for the $1 million intended to bribe a Supreme Court justice; turns out this is just a scriptwriter ploy to give Crowe something he can use against Smitty later). Stapp's motivation is also fuzzy. Crowe tells him that “the Agency wants the Tool Shed … Margaret and I will run it … I guess that makes you No. 3”, and while this is mathematically correct, it's not a very attractive proposition, considering that, with Grimes out of the picture, there will only be three people left in the Shed. Overall, this film directed by Damian Harris and written by Ross Thomas follows a very winding path to arrive at a very simple conclusion: no one is innocent and everyone gets got. This is actually a win/win situation, though — it’s the journey that matters and not the destination; that the destination is morally sound is an added bonus. Like I said, noir — and, indeed, Fishburne and Barkin's relationship is reminiscent of Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck's in Double Indemnity; like theirs, their passion seems more like a pretext, and it vanishes after Grimes's murder. When Crowe tells Margaret that she is “the girl of my dreams. Because if you’re not, then nothing we've ever done makes any sense, does it?,” she might reply, like Phillys to Walter Neff, that “I never loved you … I used you, just like you said. That's all you've ever meant to me. Until a minute ago, when I couldn't fire that second shot” — except that Margaret has no trouble whatsoever with the second shot.

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