[box cover]

Bait

Alvin Sanders (Jamie Foxx) is such a small-time crook that he can't think of stealing anything better than shrimp. Actually it's prawns, he insists to his dim-witted brother Stevie (Mike Epps). But unfortunately for Alvin, the night he decides to heist a couple bags of seafood from a New York restaurant supplier, crafty tech-head Bristol (Doug Hutchison) is looting $40 million in gold bullion from the New York branch of the U.S. Treasury. Only a last-minute dispute between Bristol and a hired operator (Robert Pastorelli) causes the hired hand to stash the loot, but before long the operator is picked up by the cops and fingered for the crime, only to die of heart-attack in lockup. The problem for Alvin is that the mysterious gold thief was in the same cell with him for eight hours, and he could have talked. The Feds, led by Treasury Agent Edgar Clenteen (David Morse), doubt Alvin knows anything, but they also know if they leak his presence in the case and put him on the street, he becomes "bait," and by tracking him they can nab their prime suspect when he make his move. Unfortunately the more derivative aspects of Bait prevent it from being a great film, although it's not a bad bit of Hollywood entertainment. There's just too much we've seen before, in particular the electronic surveillance done previously, and better, in Enemy of the State. And Hutchison's portrayal of the sociopathic Bristol isn't just a blatant rip-off of John Malkovich's turn in In the Line of Fire, it's almost a carbon-copy (even one of Malkovich's most memorable lines from that film is repeated almost verbatim). However, the chief feature of any contemporary high-tech potboiler like Bait is the marquee actor, and Foxx does not disappoint with his wild stream-of-consciousness patter, always one step behind the cops and the master thief, yet insisting that he's two steps ahead. Director Antoine Fuqua moves the story at a brisk pace with some highly stylized camera-work, but he manages not to upstage the story or his leading man. Warner's DVD edition of Bait comes in a solid anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) and audio in Dolby Digital 5.1. Commentary by Foxx, cast notes. Snap-case.
—JJB



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