Every year there is an animated film that sneaks up on you and turns out to be a pleasant surprise, The Bad Guys is that film. Based on the popular children’s book series by Aaron Blabey, the film by director Pierre Perifel tells the story of a team of skilled criminals who just happen to be anthropomorphic animals. Living in the Greater Los Angeles area, in a world where humans and talking animals co-exist, The Bad Guys have made an infamous name for themselves by pulling off several brazen heists.
Lead by Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell), a suave pickpocket, each member of the team brings a special skill to their criminal table. Mr. Snake (Marc Maron) is the safe-cracker, Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos) is the muscle, Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina) is the hacker, and Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson) is the master of disguises. Gleefully evading local law enforcement, including chief of police Misty Luggins (Alex Borstein), at every turn, the crew’s ego gets the better of them when a politician, Governor Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz), downplays their abilities on live television. Determined to prove that they are the greatest thieves of all-time, the group sets their sights on stealing the Golden Dolphin award, which is to be given to Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade) at an upcoming gala.
Unfortunately, the heist does not go as plan and the crew find themselves set to go to prison. Believing that everyone, even The Bad Guys, has goodness in them, Professor Marmalade intervenes with proposal that will have the team governed under his tutelage. Instead of going to jail, he will teach them how to be good guys. Seeing the opportunity for another con, one that will bring them closer to the Golden Dolphin, Mr. Wolf agrees to this new arrangement. However, when Mr. Wolf gets a taste of the joy that comes with being good, it throws the whole team’s plans for next heist in jeopardy.
Playing up many of the beats of the heist genre, The Bad Guys is a charming film that all ages will enjoy. Never taking itself too seriously, younger audiences will take delight in the blend of action and humor. Older viewers will find the film’s unique animation style and numerous pop culture references engaging. While the characters outside of Mr. Wolf, Foxington, and Mr. Snake are rather one-note, they are all entertaining enough to maintain one’s interest throughout. The Bad Guys is one of the few animated films where one wants to see what happens to these characters in future stories.
The Blu-ray comes with a solid number of features to keep the young kids glued to the television after the film ends. The “Snake’s Frozen Pop Shop” featurette provides an easy-to-follow recipe, for Mr. Snake’s beloved frozen pops, that families can do together. Also, there are instructional videos that teach kids how to draw their favourite characters from the team. Those looking for more hijinks with The Bad Guys crew will find the all-new original short “Maraschino Ruby” a fun watch.
A charming film that will satisfy the whole family, The Bad Guys is worth stealing some time for.
Bonus Features: All-new original short “Maraschino Ruby”, Deleted Scenes, Devise the Plan: The Making the Bad Guys, Assemble the Crew, It’s Showtime: Cast Table Read, Snake’s Frozen Pop Shop, From the Drawing Room, Feature Commentary