15 February 2004 | bob the moo
Clichéd, undistinguished but still brainless fun
Hayes is a suave, distinguished spy with the CIA who is part of a set up to buy a stolen nuclear weapon and then capture those involved. When he is killed mid-operation, his handler goes to the only man who can replace him, his twin brother. However his brother Jake is a hustler in New York City and not spy material. Oakes has nine days to get him ready to take over his brother's identity and take up the assignment.
Despite the awful reviews, I still decided to give this film a go because I was in the mood for a dumb film that really didn't require me to think even once: this was that film! The film deserved every bad review it got - the only thing you need to worry about is whether or not you can accept the massive weakness or not. The plot is a real shambles and if you think about it logically then it all goes to hell. The idea that this is a reasonable plot, even for this type of film, is absurd. The script backs this up with dialogue that is fitting for a stupid comedy but not for the situations in the plot (`does it play dvd's?' or dialogue about Dr's Dre and Irving while trying to stall terrorists). Some of it is funny, but to be honest, if you dislike Chris Rock then there will be practically nothing for you.
The plot brings the bomb back to the US towards the end in an effort to inject tension and urgency into the action, but it doesn't really work. The action is reasonably slick but it isn't ever really exciting - only polished like a product. The action, like everything else, is quite clichéd and not distinctive enough to really stand out from the crowd of other action movies. The gags about race are subtle but still quite broad in the style of Rock. I didn't find it offensive, but I never really understand why films have to constantly perpetuate racial myths such as all black people listen to hip hop and like certain sports etc. Some of it is funny though.
Rock is the main reason for this; as I said, if you like him then you should enjoy this as most of the comedy is driven by him (even if nothing is anywhere near the sharpness of his act). He is not very funny but he helps the film have an overall comic tone that works pretty well Hopkins is totally slumming it. He manages an air of cool detachment but the material is way below him and his autopilot light is on the whole time. Stomare is poor and none of the villains really bring genuine menace - Eastern European hoods and clichés that they are. Beauvais is sexy - but that is all she is here for, to put on black underwear! Her character breezes in and breezes out with no real reason or consequence, plainly all she is here for is to have a bit of sexy black ass in there - something that Washington doesn't bring.
Overall this is a slickly made film that is clichéd, absurd, undistinguished and not as entertaining as it intends to be. Despite the fact that the film is very average and not really one to stand out, it can be quite enjoyable if you are ready for that. If you can turn off your brain and lower your standards then this can be OK, however just don't expect it to be great no matter what you do.