The Badge  (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The Badge plays out almost like a sequel to the award winning 2001 film, Monster's Ball.

Billy Bob Thornton again plays a rinky-dink Southern lawman who has a crazy father. The old man may or may not have killed his wife, and may or may not have driven her crazy. Billy Bob himself is again a bigot. Unlike Monster's Ball, this time he doesn't hate black people. Instead he hates homosexuals. This stance is complicated by two things (1) his brother is a homosexual, and Billy Bob once ran him out of town because he was a political liability  (2) ol' Billy Bob may be falling in love with a person who has a penis.

This also parallels the Monster's Ball plot, in that a key plot point of both films involved BB falling into a relationship with a member of the group he hated most.

The love interest in question (Patricia Arquette) was the "wife" of a murder victim that BB found in the swamps. The victim had sexual characteristics from both sexes. Since the victim and Arquette both look like women, and they always worked together as strippers and lingerie models, Billy Bob reasons that Arquette may also have a hidden surprise between her legs.

When he finds himself wanting her anyway, he loathes himself for it.


  • Patricia Arquette. No out-and-out nudity, but revealing and sexy rear thong views.
  • A topless stripper.
  • The victim is seen topless. Note: the IMDb identifies the victim (Mona) as Audrey Anderson. This appears to be incorrect, and is not justified by the film's credits. Anderson is listed in the ending credits, but she played the key part of the teenage waitress.  I don't know who played the victim.

The murder mystery in the film isn't especially interesting, but Billy Bob carries the film fairly well as a character study, and there are plenty of moderately interesting machinations related to the corrupt and intricate nature of Louisiana politics. The various politicians he encounters really don't want the case solved, each for his own reasons.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen anamorphic 1.85:1.

  • no features, but excellent transfer

The film is very well photographed, but could have been much stronger in Louisiana atmosphere and music. It is not surprising to me that this movie eventually went straight to cable since it is not exceptional or original, but it is certainly a top notch offering by the normal standards of straight-to-cable programming

The Critics Vote

  • 2.5/5

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. Voting results: IMDb voters score it a fairly respectable 6.3/10


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, C. Satisfactory genre fare.

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