Jamie Foxx recently gained stardom with a fine performance in Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday"; it was only a matter of time before the actor would be the lead in his own movie - a year later, we get "Bait". A fun, if somewhat problematic action thriller, the movie is directed by Antoine Fuqua, who also helmed "The Replacement Killers" - he brings that same slick look and style to this picture, as well (it looks like a Michael Bay movie - namely, "Bad Boys"). The picture often moves almost relentlessly, but the one thing that keeps it all together is Foxx's performance.
Foxx plays Alvin, a young petty criminal who's just been arrested in his attempt to steal from a seafood warehouse. The discussion of why this crime is going down is particularly funny as Foxx offers his partner the reasoning why seafood is valuable. Meanwhile, a theft of gold by a computer hacker (Doug Hutchinson) is going down. The hacker's partner drives off with the loot and is eventually thrown into a cell with Alvin.
The feds want to know where the gold is hidden and they think Alvin may know where the loot is hidden. The lead agent named Edgar Clenteen (the always good David Morse) puts a tracking chip in Alvin and sends him out into the world to lure the hacker in.
Again, there are some positive things to say about "Bait" and there are some elements that are not quite as good. The positive part again, is Jamie Foxx. There are some lines that other characters have that are action-cliches, and Foxx's responses (many of which seem to likely have been improvised) are perfect, and often very funny - taking some of the ultra-seriousness out of the more unoriginal lines. The movie could have awkwardly handled the transitions between humor, mystery and thriller, but it skips between the three with relatively few bumps. The movie goes a little too long at times, and at nearly 2 hours this film could have been edited down at least 20 minutes to pick up the pace at times. The opening hour especially has a few places where it begins to noticably drag.
"Bait" isn't all that bad, although with the talents of all involved, a stronger, quicker story would have served the film well. Still, I'm eager to see what role Foxx will do next.
VIDEO: This is an great presentation from Warner Brothers, who gives "Bait" an excellent 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer. The entire film has a slick, music-video like look that translates very well to DVD, and is presented here with excellent sharpness and detail.
In terms of colors, "Bait" seems to really like blue as many scenes of the movie have a blue tone to them. Otherwise, the film doesn't have a widely varied color palette, with colors occasionally bold and vibrant, but usually staying a little bit on the subdued side. A few flaws do appear; a couple of slight instances of pixelation, but nothing that noticable. Print flaws are also at a minimum - a couple of speckles do appear throughout, but are hardly noticable.
Although there are a few little flaws in the presentation, Warner Brothers has delivered nicely again, as most of the stylish photography looks very good on DVD.
SOUND: "Bait" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, and although usually a very good audio offering, it's a bit inconsistent in activity. The opening part of the film has the sound mainly coming from the front speakers, occasionally livened by the hip-hop soundtrack, which sounds fantastic. The music bumps and rocks from all sides, sounding rich and bassy. Surround use picks up somewhat during the more intense second half of the movie, but I still would have liked to have heard them put to a little more use. Dialogue is clear and easily understood throughout, with no problems. Overall, this is a pretty entertaining effort at times, but it remains a little less active than I would have liked.
MENUS:: Menus are non-animated, but the main menu does have music playing behind it.
Commentary: This is a commentary track from actor Jamie Foxx. It's an okay discussion of the film, as Foxx discusses how the movie came together, as well as his thoughts on what appealed to him about the style of director Fuqua. He also discusses his thoughts on acting (as well as working with the other actors) and points out some places where he improvised a little bit of humor to give the film more energy. There's quite a few pauses of silence throughout the track, though and a few moments where Foxx simply discusses what's going on on-screen. For Foxx fans, this may be worth a listen.
Also: Cast and Crew bios.
Final Thoughts: "Bait" is a mildly entertaining action/comedy that contains a great performance by Jamie Foxx which holds the film together. Although there isn't much in the way of extras, audio/video quality is very good.
The Film C+
Video 92/A = (368/400 possible points)
Audio: 89/B+ = (356/400 possible points)
Extras: 75/C = (225/300 possible points)
Menus: 80/B- = (160/200 possible points)
Value: 83/B = (249/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: C+
DVD GRADE: B