Bad Boys & Bad Boys 2 – Review

13 Sep

When people hear the name Michael Bay, it is usually greeted with eye rolls, hearty laughs, or jokes about explosions. That being said he has almost become a cartoon of the Hollywood lifestyle. But before all the jokes he was a music video producer, which definitely accounts for aspects of his style. Then, in 1995 he entered the movie scene via Jerry Bruckheimer and and Don Simpson with Bad Boys.

Mike Lowry (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) are two tough guy, trash talking cops operating out of Miami. When their biggest bust is stolen from the police station and a witness (Téa Leone) is threatened in a connected incident, Mike and Marcus make it their personal mission to protect her, reclaim their bust, and stop the foreign drug lord (Tchéky Karyo) that is responsible from making the biggest deal of his career.

I will say that Bad Boys was a good starting point for a hit-or-miss action director like Michael Bay, unfortunately, this film lacked in so many areas that I can’t recommend it. The whole thing felt hollow from the jokes to the action to the characters. I enjoy brainless action films, especially when they make me laugh, but they have to have worthwhile action to make up for everything else. Bad Boys had a few nice action set pieces, but not enough to carry it.

The chemistry between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence is really great, and usual their banter is funny but it gets old really fast sometimes. In the middle of an otherwise good action sequence, we are forced to listen to them argue. They argue enough in the downtime to be funny. Don’t ruin these action scenes with too much talking! Also, these fun scenes are too few and far between for them to be spoiled, but the film makers managed to.

Michael Bay has talent. I firmly believe that he does, and there are moments where I see it glimmering through the mess. Some camera angles are interesting and well thought out, but when the rest of the movie is unappealing, than what’s the point? He really shines in the final action sequence when the movie finally begins to pick up, then lo and behold it’s over.

 

I guess that bottom line for Bad Boys is that it had potential, but it was wasted. I went in not expecting too much, but got a lot less in return. With that in mind I hoped that Bad Boys 2 would make up for its sloppy predecessor. With a run time of two and a half hours, it better be pretty damn entertaining.

 

Mike and Marcus are still the same trash talking cops even after all the years of being on the force. When the largest import of ecstasy is being brought into the country via a Cuban drug kingpin Johnny Tapia (Jordi Mollà), Mike and Marcus are tasked with not only stopping the shipment, but also with protecting Marcus’ sister (Gabrielle Union) who is also a DEA agent.

Bad Boys 2 is bigger, louder, crazier, and all around better than the original. This is exactly what I wanted the original one to be. Sure, it has its fair share of problems, but it is still a very entertaining action film that made me laugh and also provided some excellent action set pieces.

 

The first thing I thought of was the late, great Tony Scott sitting Michael Bay down and giving him advice on how to make Bad Boys 2 a better film. I’m pretty positive that never happened, but there are many stylistic similarities to this film and Tony Scott’s. There are crazy yellow and orange filters mixed with over the the top kinetic camera work. I have a soft spot for this style, so automatically I was enjoying myself.

The jokes are ten times better this time around, and the chemistry between Will and Martin has stayed strong. Unfortunately, the movie does suffer from a main problem that the first one had. When there’s a crazy action sequence going on, it keeps getting broken up by the two main characters bickering. Again, it’s funny to a point, then it just gets annoying.

While the action may be more entertaining and the story more intriguing, it is still way too long, and some of the acting is horrible. Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jordi Mollà, and Joe Pantaliano knock it out of the park. Gabrielle Union on the other hand is pretty terrible.  It seems Bay just needed a beautiful woman, kind of like Téa Leone in the first film.

 

Michael Bay’s first attempt at a feature film was flawed beyond repair, but by the time its sequel showed up, he already matured as an action film maker. The Bad Boys films are a mixed bag, but one half of the package is very entertaining. I always think that you need to watch the first of a series to appreciate the second or third, but if you don’t share this logic then skip the first Bad Boys all together and move on to the second.

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