The latest entry in the action movies sweepstakes offers more characterization and reality than is the norm but is hindered by a bland leading man and ineptly directed action sequences. Jamie Foxx ("Any Given Sunday") plays Alvin Sanders, a buffoonish thief, who's just been busted for stealing prawns. He's put in a cell with John Jaster (Robert Pastorelli), half of a duo that's nabbed $42 million in gold. Jaster's managed to hide the loot but, when he suddenly dies, the Feds decide to use Sanders as bait in order to smoke out Jaster's psychopathic partner, Bristol (Doug Hutchison). Their thinking: If Bristol assumes Sanders knows where the bullion is, he'll go after him and the cops will nab Bristol in turn. Plausible enough, "Bait" never descends into silliness but it's not exactly the most exciting movie, either. Antoine Fuqua ("The Replacement Killers") can't direct action to save his life but even if he could, there would still be the obstacle of Foxx to contend with. He's given Eddie Murphy-type smart-mouthed lines to deliver but he possesses none of Murphy's charisma. David Morse is better as the chief Treasury official obsessed with nailing Bristol, but reliable actors like David Paymer and Kimberly Elise as, respectively, a member of Morse's team and Sanders' fed-up girlfriend, are given little to do. Doug Hutchison's Bristol, who is a master computer hacker, could pass as John Malkovich's younger brother and, mercifully, has few of the annoying quirks that killers in American movies tend to possess, but his character is still too much of a cipher to register meaningfully. Key plot points are telegraphed in advance and the whole thing devolves into an unlikely battle between good and evil on the site of a race track. Audiences should resist this slick bait. Starring Jamie Foxx, David Morse and Doug Hutchison. Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Written by Andrew Scheinman & Adam Scheinman and Tony Gilroy. Produced by Sean Ryerson. A Warner Brothers release. Action. Rated R for language, violence and a scene of sexuality. Running time: 120 min.