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IN SHORT: Another story free big screen music vid type movie. [Rated R for language, violence and a scene of sexuality. 117 minutes]
Excepting the fact that just about nothing in Bait makes any kind of logical sense, the movie would be a fine popcorn chomping fantasy for any thirteen to fifteen year old who like cars racing and skidding and trucks jack-knifing in the wide expanse of streets that make of downtown Manhattan, New York. Add to that one sex scene, an obscenity ridden rap soundtrack that would tick off any parent and a teevee star in the title role and any fifteen year old would be proud to put one over on the parental units by sneaking into this [R] rated flick.
That being said, there isn't a lot here to put Bait at a level higher than a big visual flash of a music video type movie. We begin with two robberies going off simultaneously. The first is at the Federal Reserves gold vault in Manhattan -- you remember that from one of the Die Hard movies -- where a heavy equipment operator with a bad heart, John Jaster (Robert Pastorelli) and a near sighted computer genius called Bristol (Doug Hutchison) have managed to thwart sound and motion sensors foot patrols and multiple surveillance cameras to steal approximately $42 million dollars in gold bullion. Out in Brooklyn, Alvin Sanders (Jamie Foxx) and his brother Stevie (Mike Epps) are breaking into Deltesio Seafoods. Alvin thinks big. He's not prepared to settle for small fry take like shrimp. Nah, he wants the big stuff. He wants prawns.
That's the only joke I'll spill. Foxx' attitude and humor are one of the few things that makes this mess watchable (for those of us that are car chased out).
Jaster and Bristol have a bit of a falling out during their caper, leaving the latter to search for the former, who has gotten away with the gold. Through a stupid twist of fate, Jaster and Alvin come to share a jail cell at Riker's Island, just before a bad heart takes the successful thief out of the picture. That leads to the old "what did he tell you?" kind of investigation, led by US Treasury Investigator Clenteen (David Morse) who is shadowed at every step by Bristol, who's hacked into the Fed computer system and knows everything they do. The Feds don't know who the hacker is, but they do know how to plant the seed of suspicion in his head. Thus, Alvin hits the street, fully unawares that Bristol has been made to think that the punk knows more than he has already spilled. Thus, "bait".
Everything else dumped on you is manipulative or underdeveloped stuff. The girlfriend (Kimberly Elise) and baby Alvin has never known about. Clenteen and the Feds refer to the Ossining Correctional Facility as "Sing-Sing," -- lawmen I've known would roll over in their graves before they did that. A Puerto Rican gang which has sworn to kill the dude for screwing up a deal. A lot of speeding cars in a Manhattan which is remarkably gridlock free (the filming took place in Toronto). The Manhattan of this picture also has a full-sized racetrack, which is in itself a remarkable stretch.
From a bare minimum of story to a climax in which bad guy endangers "good" guy's loved ones -- gee, how original -- almost everything about Bait screams assembly line product.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Bait, he would have paid...
I'd probably be pleased as punch . . . if I were fifteen and managed to sneak in. Bait has its moments, but they are few and far between. If it didn't try so hard to maintain a rap/ street feel, it probably could've been made to fit PG-13 parameters and you could've brought the kidlets.
Then again, this isn't the kind of flick where the kidlets want their parents around.
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