When Baton Rouge police detective Bud Carter busts contract killer Jesse Weiland, he convinces Jesse to become an informant and rat out the South’s most powerful crime ring. So when the syndicate orders Carter’s death and Weiland’s ID’d as a snitch, the two team up to take down the mob and the crime boss who ordered the hit.
My opinion about “Bad country”
“South Louisiana in the 1980s was a different kind of time and place. Some called it lawless. But it wasn’t. Others said we just got a certain way of doing things down here. But it ain’t that either. Instead, I call it what it was. Hell with the lid off.”
“Bad Country” is the last thing Chris Brinker created as a filmmaker. He passed away while finishing this. The first and only film he directed. An allegedly brutal crime film in which a police officer from Baton Rouge (Willem Dafoe) is trying to round up an entire criminal gang. And that with the help of a former gang member (Matt Dillon) who tries to escape from being locked up in prison for a long time. All this set in Louisiana in the 80’s with his sultry climate. The criminal gang is led by a posh looking, rich and ruthless chief of the crime syndicate who looks like a cotton plantation owner of the 18th century : sophisticated dressed and living in a generously sized house with white columns. Only the whip was missing. “White power” was clearly the dominant message which you also could conclude after seeing the inventory of Bud Carter and the collection of tattoos that adorns his body.
Despite the impressive cast (Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon, Tom Berenger, Bill Duke, Neal McDonough), of which there are a few who proved several times in the past that they are able to play a criminal or crime fighter, it’s just a crime movie like so many others, in which all known clichés are used. You can expect a load of wasted ammunition because of the back and forth firing with a considerable arsenal of firearms without apparently knowing where and at who to shoot. A lot of boys bragging and macho talk. A not so kosher negotiation techniques. An FBI delegation who loves to interfere again, seem to know everything and eventually make a complete mess of it. Promises aren’t kept which results in a decisive revenge. And then there’s the final round where everyone and no one is a winner.
Willem Dafoe did a great job as a detective who knows how to run an investigation thoroughly and at the same time takes his responsibilities. A beautiful interpretation at times. Matt Dillon on the other hand, whose recent roles in “Pawn Shop Chronicles” and “The Art of the Steal” weren’t that memorable either, disappointed and didn’t carry weight in this movie, even though he’s the owner of a giant walrus mustache which many balding guys would envy because they could use the hairpiece as a toupee. It even seemed as if the two protagonists were in competition about that. Tom Berenger (the last time I saw him acting was in “Training Day“) was convincing as the ruthless crime lord Lutin with the looks of a Pavarotti. A nice supporting role was played by Bill Duke and Neal McDonough. The first as the high-ranking official from Washington Nokes (with a memorable scene where Jesse Weiland agrees to cooperate and Nokes briefly dots a few i’s) and the second one as Lutin’s sneaky counselor.
For me “Bad Country” was a “meh” movie. You can’t really say it’s a terribly bad movie, but it’s also not a movie that impresses you. Put all existing films that deal with organized crime in a line, and this one won’t be noticed between all of them in terms of originality and inventiveness. Unfortunately we will never know what Chris Brinker still had up his sleeve and if he could overwhelm us with some other filmic creations. Too bad !