Monday, April 25

The Bad Guys Review


The Bad Guys

Dir: Pierre Perifel

Starring: Sam Rockwell, Zazie Beetz, Marc Maron, Awkwafina, Craig Robinson, Anthony Ramos, Richard Ayoade, Alex Borstein, and Lilly Singh

1h 40m


Director Pierre Perifel introduces the cartoon caper “The Bad Guys” with a breakneck scene involving all the familiar moves of some of the greatest heist films in cinematic history. A calculated setup involving complex schemes leads to a city-wide car chase. All the players are introduced in fun moments detailing their skillset; it’s fast-paced, humorous, and clever right out of the starting gates. The crew crazy enough to conduct this crime caper is a group of scary animals: a wolf, a snake, a piranha, a spider, and a shark.


Adapted from the acclaimed children’s graphic novel from author Aaron Blabey, “The Bad Guys” offers an impressive cast of voice actors and a clear understanding of why heist films are so appealing, even with a gang of the most often feared creatures in the animal kingdom as characters. While “The Bad Guys” often falls into familiar territory with its story motivations, especially for more mature movie fans who have connected with “Oceans 11” or “Despicable Me,” the pacing of the story has the energy to keep one entertained and comic book designs offer a refreshing animated look for these capering creatures. 


The cunning group of master thieves, led by the dashing Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell), are a notorious group of criminals known for hatching a perfect heist and, most frustrating for the city police chief, never getting caught. The most wanted band of bad guys also boasts the master-of-disguise Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson), the safecracking expert Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), the short-tempered “muscle” Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos), and the expert hacker Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina). The crew is ready to score the biggest heist of their careers, but they are caught at their getaway, forcing Mr. Wolf to hatch a plan to save his crew from jail. The solution: The Bad Guys will turn into The Good Guys.


“The Bad Guys” begins in a diner, with Mr. Wolf and Mr. Snake bantering back and forth in a booth like two friends who have known each other for a long time. They leave their table en route to rob a bank across the street while the restaurant-goers cower in fear. In this opening scene, director Pierre Perifel establishes all the themes that the film uses for inspiration. Fast-talking bad guys with charming characteristics, frenzied car chases up, down, and all around the screen frame, and humor utilized within every dangerous scenario. The beginning moments of “The Bad Guys” establish an animated feature riffing on all the elements of beloved genre heist movies, and it accomplishes it with skill and entertainment.


Unfortunately, the promising introduction doesn’t continue farther than the halfway point of the film, which transitions into familiar trappings like introducing supplemental characters that feel unnecessary and a big bad with motivations that aren’t as interesting as watching the primary characters interact with each other. While the steam ultimately runs out of the narrative places this film can go, the characters are so enjoyable that the missteps don’t seem so noticeable when the Bad Guys are plotting a heist during a dance scene or mocking each other during a birthday party. 


“The Bad Guys” is an enjoyable romp with silly scenarios and slapstick comedy to keep the kids laughing and enough charming characters and ingenious designs to keep parents engaged. 


Monte’s Rating

3.25 out of 5.00

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