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BAIT ($20) isnít the movie I was expecting it to be. I watched all the TV promos on television, which made BAIT look like an action/comedy. It isnít. BAIT is a fairly serious action movie that utilizes leading man Jamie Foxxís comedic talents to generate laughs and relieve some of the tension. Unfortunately, this approach is only effective some of the time. Sure, Foxx can wring laughs out of the material, but sometimes the comedy seems to be forced, or pops up at a truly inappropriate minute. ANY GIVEN SUNDAY showed what Foxx could do with better written material, maybe next time around he will hold out for a real comedy, instead of trying to play humor out of a script where it doesnít really fit.

In BAIT, Foxx plays a clueless petty thief named Alvin Sanders, who couldnít pull off a heist if his life depended on it. Alvinís latest lamebrain scheme involves stealing prawns from a Brooklyn fish market. After "casing the joint" for two months, Alvin doesnít realize that the fish market houses a vicious guard dog, which ends up chasing him into the waiting arms of the police. While incarcerated on Rikerís Island, Alvin is placed in a holding cell with Jaster (Robert Pastorelli), who was picked up for DWI. What no one realizes at this point, is that Jaster part of a team that robbed the Federal Gold Reserve of forty two million dollars. Although Jaster helped pull off the heist, he took off with the gold, after his psychotic partner Bristol (Doug Hutchison) executed two guards. When the authorities finally figure out whom they have in custody, a determined Treasury Agent named Edgar Clenteen (David Morse) comes down hard on Jaster and his weak heart gives out during the interrogation.

Frustrated, Clenteen then interrogates Alvin hoping that he said something to his cellmate in the time that they were incarcerated together. Although Jaster gave Alvin a cryptic message to pass onto his wife, the information doesnít bring Clenteen any closer to tracking down the killer or the gold. Finally, after working the case for eighteen months, Clenteen decides the only way he can find this elusive thief/killer is let Alvin out of prison early- then leak the information that Alvin knows where the gold is hidden. As you might have guessed, this leaves clueless Alvin holding the bag, while he is being chased by the feds (via a high tech tracking device) and a psycho intent on getting his gold. Despite its flaws, BAIT proves to be a fairly slick and entertaining "cops and robbers" movie that features a few solid action set pieces. The cast of BAIT also includes Kimberly Elise, David Paymer, Mike Epps, Jamie Kennedy, Nestor Serrano, Kirk Acevedo, Jeffrey Donovan and Megan Dodds.

Warner Home Video delivers another gorgeous DVD with their release of BAIT. Although this movie isnít what anyone would want to use to show off his or her system, the flawless 16:9 enhanced image on the DVD propels this disc to demonstration quality material. The super sharp picture is framed at 2.35:1 and the presentation provides a hyper-realistic level of clarity. Colors are strongly rendered, without a bit of chromatic distortion or smearing. Blacks are dead on perfect, plus the movieís nighttime cinematography allows for an astounding level of shadow detail. Digital compression artifacts are completely out of sight throughout. The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is aggressively mixed for the film action oriented moments, but in between, the track kind of lays back and relies on the urban music on track to fill the channels. When in the action mode, sound effects cleanly pan the soundstage, without any signs of sonic clutter. Dialogue sounds natural and maintains full intelligibility. The bass channel is solid- lending presence to the music and reinforcing the gunshots and explosions. A French 5.1 channel soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and French subtitles. Music has been added to the basic interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, plus a couple of extras. Jamie Foxx provides a running audio commentary that has a few interesting moments, but isnít a "must listen" track. Perhaps including the director and a few other cast members would have gotten the track off the ground. Cast filmographies fill out the extras.

If you like Jamie Foxx, youíll like BAIT. BAIT is a good eveningís diversion, plus the terrific looking DVD makes it worth giving the movie a spin.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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