Case Number 02038: Small Claims Court

BAD COMPANY: MERCHANTS OF COOL

BMG Music // 2002 // 140 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // July 18th, 2002

The Charge

It's all part of my rock and roll fantasy!

The Case

Bad Company...Bad Company...Oh yeah!

Laurence Fishburne is a CIA agent blackmailed into joining Ellen Barkin at the Grimes Organization, a shady business that blackmails people in power and...No...Wait.

Oh...Okay. Chris Rock plays the brother of a CIA agent killed in the line of duty. Anthony Hopkins recruits him to take his brother's place in hopes they will solve...no, wait. That's not it.

Jeff Bridges and a group of his friends? They decide to become a gang of desperados, and take on the Old West, only to find life behind the gun...That's not it either.

Hmm, so what Bad Company is this? Is it the old Madge Kennedy/Bigelow Cooper romance from 1925? Or is it that French film where the sweet young girl's love for her boyfriend forces her into a life of prostitution?

Well, it's some manner of Bad Company. What other Bad Company(s) are there? Enron? WorldCom? Oh, wait...its that band from the 1970s fronted by Paul Rodgers. You know the one. The one you did your first bong hit to? They sang those songs? You know, Feel Like Making Love and (appropriately enough) Bad Company?

Well, they must have realized that if ELP can reform and make money, they stood to make a mint. So the Bad Company media money machine has hit full saturation. And this presentation, culled from a series of concerts in early 2002, is the icing on the bank account.

Sadly, this DVD is for the Bad Co. fan only. It is nothing more than a recorded concert (mind you, a pretty good one). It does not, however, transcend its format to become something else, like Stop Making Sense, or Storefront Hitchcock. This is not even ABBA: The Movie or Britney Spears Live in Las Vegas. It's really just a woefully out of step heavy metal act from the 1970s trading on audience good will and a healthy back catalog to make a buck. On the plus side, the band has never sounded better: tight, spirited, and musically accomplished. They perform all their hits, with Rodgers' solo version of Seagull a standout. On the bad side, the concert is mastered with the drums pushed far to the front and the crunchy guitar Bad Company was known for mixed down below the audience noise. Rodgers also engages in far too much audience sing-a-longs. You'd swear he was channeling Mitch Miller. Special guests Slash and Neil Schon (of Journey) are just wasted cameos. To survive for over 30 years in a business that prefers flash in the pan manufactured pop fads to musical chops is commendable. But aside from the songs, there is really no cinematic reason to own this DVD.

Technically, this is a first rate DVD production. The widescreen video transfer is perfect. The sound, in all its Dolby Digital configurations (2.0 Stereo and 5.1 Surround) is (aside from the aforementioned aesthetic mixing issues) fantastic. And there are literally hours of extras. There are discographies, band biographies, a photo gallery, hidden studio tracks, and DVD-ROM links. But the main feature is several lengthy interviews. They provide a sweeping overview of the band, from its formative stages to its eventual rock and roll preeminence and why it survives today. Each member gets a separate focus, and along with the usual accolades, there is some real insight into band dynamics and personality. Still, for all its chimes and chimera, this is a package almost exclusively for the Bad Company converted. While they may cool, they're not called merchants for nothing.

Review content copyright © 2002 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 84

Perp Profile
Studio: BMG Music
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 140 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Backstage Footage
* Photo Gallery
* Band and Celebrity Interviews
* Biography
* Discography
* DVD-ROM Links
* Hidden Bonus Tracks

Accomplices
* Bad Company Official Site
http://www.badcompany.com/