Bait is a streetwise action comedy starring the smart-alecky Foxx as Alvin Sanders, a petty thief who becomes an unwitting pawn used by the authorities to catch a sadistic, high-tech criminal.
After trying to steal a bag of prawns, Alvin lands in a holding cell alongside John Jaster, one-half of the duo responsible for a $42 million gold heist and several murders. It seems Jaster buried the loot before getting pinched and is the only one keen to its whereabouts. To lure his at-large partner out of hiding, the feds release Alvin and leak information implying that he knows where to find the gold. And the chase is on.
Directed with visual flair by music video auteur Antoine Fuqua, this film features wild action sequences and great comic timing, but miserable content. At least 100 f- and s-words punctuate the dialogue. Bait is also quite violent in places and operates under the false assumption that heroes can be ignoble so long as the bad guys are even worse.
For example, the villain is a psychotic computer nerd as unstable as most tech stocks. He dispassionately shoots, slashes, scalds and blows up people. Rotten. Instead, teens are asked to root for Alvin, a chronic con man who spews obscenities and has sex with his live-in girlfriend (overheard in detail by the feds). Alvin’s history of hustling gets a wink and a nod. By the closing credits, viewers need only connect the dots back to the opening sequence to find that, in this case, crime definitely pays.
A few selfless gestures suggest that Alvin may want to go straight and accept responsibility for the child he sired out of wedlock. That’s admirable, but it’s hardly enough to redeem this profane gangsta fairy tale.