Bad Boys II Review
By Shawn McKenzie 07/19/2003
The original Bad Boys was the first collaboration between producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay, and it was the start of a successful run of mindless action films. These include The Rock, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor (their failed attempt to emulate the success of Titanic), and now, Bad Boys II. While Bruckheimer has had varied levels of respectability, Bay has always been a symbol for critically hated action films with lots of explosions and no substance. He doesn’t disappoint in this latest trek, but he is getting a little more disturbing.
Narcotics detectives Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) are still partners after all these years, but that may soon end. Mike has been seeing Marcus’ sister, Syd (Gabrielle Union), without Marcus’ knowledge. Marcus has put in for a transfer in the department because he doesn’t want to be around all the action Mike generates anymore, and he wants to spend more time with his wife Theresa (Theresa Randle) and kids. Mike does not know of this action yet. Both partners are looking for the right time to tell the other about their secrets. In the meantime, they are working on stopping the flow of ecstasy into Miami. Their boss, Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano), is becoming increasingly upset with them for failing to do so. At the beginning of the movie, they invade a Ku Klux Klan rally. Based on a tip from an informant named Icepick (Treva Etienne) and working with the Tactical Narcotics Team and its leader (Henry Rollins), they only manage to dig up two bags of the drug, despite shooting and killing a bunch of bad guys (and injuring Marcus’ posterior in the process.) They do discover the involvement of a local drug lord named Johnny Tapia (Jordi Mollà), who wants to control the whole drug trade while working with local dealers and club owners, such as Alexei (Peter Stormare.) He has been smuggling drugs and laundered money in the caskets and dead bodies of the clients in the funeral home he owns. The police have tried several times in the past to bust Tapia, but he keeps getting away and suing the department for false arrest. It’s during their investigation of Tapia that they discover that Syd is actually an undercover DEA agent who is pretending to be Tapia’s money launderer and girlfriend. When her cover is blown, Tapia kidnaps Syd and takes her to Cuba. Mike and Marcus must then put aside their differences to rescue Syd.
First off, I want to let you know…this movie is two and a half hours long! It is longer than this summer’s The Hulk and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Does that mean they take the time to flesh out the characters even more than they did in the first movie and give it some substance between action scenes? Ummm…you did see me mention that this is a Michael Bay movie…right? No, the time is spent adding more car chases, shootouts, and the R-rated versions of sitcomy comic relief. Now, before you start thinking I’m bashing the film, I’m not. I expected all of this to happen! It’s like a familiar brand label. When you go into a Bay movie, expect a lot of shooting and explosions.
One aspect of the gunplay did rather throw me for a loop though. In the past, Bay films had shootouts where people were shot and killed generically. In this film, the deaths are actually quite graphic. It almost resembled a serial killer horror movie in its explicitness. Also, the scene where Marcus gets his butt grazed by a bullet was done in that slow-motion Matrix style. Enough of this already! If you are not a science fiction movie, there is no need to see a slow-motion bullet!
With all my whining and moaning, you may be wondering why I am giving Bad Boys II a relatively high rating. It is because it was entertaining. I wasn’t expecting to do a lot of thinking while watching it, and in its slightly too long running time, it never dragged. The pointless comedic moments
weren’t original, but they were funny nonetheless. Oh…and finally, someone has acknowledged that no one knows the words to the verses of Inner Circle’s “Bad Boys,” only the chorus (they attempt to sing it twice in the movie.) Would I call for a Bad Boys III? I wouldn’t say I’d be waiting for it on my hands and knees, but I would certainly give it a try.
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