Review: Retro ‘Bad Country’ roughs up its tough guys

Willem Dafoe in "Bad Country."
Willem Dafoe in “Bad Country.”
(Saeed Adyani / Sony Pictures)

If “Bad Country” plays like a 1980s time capsule, that’s not just because it’s set in the decade. The grim-faced antagonists are also macho holdovers from the era: Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon and Tom Berenger.

Such veteran-packing, however, proves to be of little consequence to this thoroughly routine, straight-to-video-reminiscent action thriller set in Louisiana.

All three stars have played both sides of the moral divide over their careers, but this time around, Dafoe is the dedicated lawman and Berenger is the crime boss, while Dillon is the straddler, a criminal and family man recruited by Dafoe to bring down Berenger’s syndicate from within.

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Everyone is upstaged, however, by the silly accouterments: handlebar mustaches on Dafoe and Dillon that look like some sort of bad lip-toupees, and an ensemble on Berenger that’s more Col. Sanders than fearsome baddie.

Director Chris Brinker, a producer on “The Boondock Saints” and its sequel, died last year as he was finishing what would be his first and only feature as a director. We’ll never know if his love of retro tough guys, grizzled face-offs and chaotic gunplay would have ever had the chance to develop into something more entertaining than “Bad Country.”


“Bad Country”


MPAA rating: R for strong violence and language, sexuality and drug use.

Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes.

Playing: At the Crest, Westwood.