Retro Review: Bait

Warner Bros. sends out the hook. Will you take the bait?

“Bait” stars Jamie Foxx as a petty criminal who gets mixed up in a government framing scheme. Foxx accidentally shares his holding cell with a man (Robert Pastorelli) busted for stealing 40 million in gold. Through pure coincidence, the man dies while being interrogated by a vicious Treasury Agent (David Morse). This leaves Foxx as the only man who can find the gold and the dead man’s psychotic accomplice (The Green Mile’s Doug Hutchison). The catch is that Foxx is a complete idiot and has no idea if his previous cellmate did tell him about the gold or not. Can Foxx lead Morse to the gold or not?

Eighteen months later, Foxx is in prison and is stabbed in the cheek by a fellow inmate. Unbeknownst to Foxx, the whole thing is a setup by Morse so he can implant an experimental tracking device into Foxx’s jaw. Morse’s theory is that if he lets word out on the Internet that Foxx knows where the gold is then that may lead him to the psychotic accomplice.

If you can believe the ludicrous mind-numbing plot then you may fair better than I did during this film. “Bait” is an obvious attempt at trying to cash in on a hot stars likeability. Foxx tested huge when last year’s “Any Given Sunday” debuted and now the studio wants him to become a new film franchise star. Because of this angle I found it very hard to take the whole movie seriously.

Jamie Foxx does his best in this film to make us smile but at times becomes a Will Smith clone. As for his cast mate David Morse, he is such a mean and vicious jerk that he makes Tommy Lee Jones’ character in the “Fugitive” look like Peter Cottontail.

Another obvious bad performance was the film’s main villain played by Doug Hutchison. Hutchison did such an obvious impersonation of John Malkovich that you think maybe he was one of the people who got permanently stuck in John Malkovich’s head. It was damn eerie because he nailed Malkovich’s walk, accent, and grizzled face ready explode persona.

Other problems I had with the film were the other obvious comparisons to “Enemy of the State”. The tracking screens, the bluish exteriors, the reluctant hero, the surveillance team, and finally the music. This does beg the question was this film’s director (Antoine Fuqua) actually auditioning to be a Jerry Bruckheimer director.

Because of these flaws I couldn’t really find an original aspect of the film except the whole tracking device in the jaw. It is such a ridiculous concept especially when the script started to play with it malfunctioning. Bait is bad, real bad!

(1 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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