Bad Boys II (2003)
Bad Boys II (2003)
Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Gabrielle Union
Synopsis: Two loose-cannon narcotics cops investigate the flow of Ecstasy into Florida.
Ron Shelton, whose previous writing credits included Bull Durham and Tin Cup, claims that the only preparation he had for his interview with Jerry Bruckheimer for Bad Boys II was a hurried fast-forward through the first movie, which, let’s face it, is the best way of watching that particular 118 minutes of stupid. His unfamiliarity with Bad Boys (1995) also goes some way to explaining why this sequel has such a different feel to it. The glossy visuals are still in place, and both Will Smith (Enemy of the State, Wild Wild West) and Martin Lawrence return as maverick cops Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, but while Bad Boys was more about their relationship and the comical situations in which they found themselves, the humour here is relegated to some bouts of bad-tempered sniping at one another sandwiched between large-scale, destructive action sequences that overwhelm the senses and blunt the audiences’ critical faculties. Surprisingly, despite an inexcusable running time of 147 minutes, the new formula works reasonably well, and Bad Boys II is a vast improvement over its predecessor.
They even manage to squeeze a plot of sorts in between all the car-chases and gun fights. Lowrey and Burnett, working once more under the bulbous-eyed, vein-bulging supervision of Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano – Midnight Run, The Matrix), are seeking to bring down drugs kingpin Johnny Tapia (Jordi Molla – Blow, The Alamo), who has hit upon the novel idea of transporting drugs around Miami in the bodies of cadavers delivered to a mortuary he owns. This ploy of Tapia’s opens the way for a number of questionable scenes that some might find difficult to stomach. At one point we see Lowrey gamely groping about in the gutted innards of corpses as he searches for incriminating bundles of the white stuff, shortly before Burnett finds a hiding place under a sheet with the corpse of a naked young woman who presumably died from a fatal reaction to her enormous fake boobs. Their quest to bring down Tapia is complicated by the fact that Burnett’s sister, Syd (Gabrielle Union – 10 Things I Hate About You), a DEA agent whom Lowrey is seeing without Burnett’s knowledge, is conducting a parallel undercover operation into Tapia’s drug-smuggling operation.
Bad Boys II bears all the hallmarks of a big budget action-comedy geared specifically towards excess in all departments. It’s a blatant, concerted assault on the global box office, launched with all the slick bravado that a major studio can muster. Everything about it is ramped up to such a degree that it’s a wonder there were no complaints of bleeding eyes and ears from the cinema audience. But the movie revels in its absurdity, and delights in making each set-piece even more astounding than the one that came before. It’s a tapestry of no-nonsense, mindless action liberally laced with snappy one-liners no longer than seven words in length; the action is more intense than in the first movie, the humor darker, and the violence more visceral. At 2½ hours, though, it does end up testing even the most receptive audience’s patience, especially with an ill-conceived final act which sees Lowrey, Burnett and their mates launch a commando-style attack on Tapia’s palatial Cuban hideaway to rescue Syd who, despite her cute masculine name and DEA credentials, has been relegated to the role of damsel in distress.
(Reviewed 22nd January 2016)
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