Bad Boys II
Michael Bay’s Bad Boys II finds the critically-maligned filmmaker in full-on BLAMMO mode. While 1995’s Bad Boys featured a more “understated” director working out some of the kinks, its sequel is a bloated, outrageous, offensively dazzling motion picture in dire need of an editor and a solid storyline.
That’s not to say that Bad Boys II isn’t enjoyable on some level – it is – but this really isn’t a good movie by any standards. It is every bit a mindless blockbuster in the manner of Bay’s Transformers projects, with plenty of moments of misguided humour and weird sidetracks tucked in to the convoluted plot. And at 148 minutes, at least, it’s not what anyone could call a lean and mean action movie.
The film opens eight years after the events of the first movie. We find Miami cops Marcus (Martin Lawrence) and Mike (Will Smith) “undercover” trying to bring down yet another drug ring. The case is obviously blown wide open in some manner and the two police officers have to up the stakes in order to catch the bad guys.
They face off against a throng of Russian and Cuban gangsters fighting for territory in Miami. Cuban drug lord Johnny Tapia (Jordi Mollà) appears to be the most dangerous. There are also some Haitians in the mix and Marcus’ sister Syd (Gabrielle Union) is tossed in for good measure as both a love interest for Mike and a potential key to the case.
Bad Boys II is punched up by a slew of chase sequences, but they get repetitive after a while. Bay doesn’t really show much innovation outside of the first such scene, which features an exciting bit of driving as the Haitians try to hijack a drug transport and wind up throwing cars at our two heroes. The fun of the scene is somewhat undermined by the appearance of a similar tactic, this time involving rotund corpses, in a later scene.
Bay attempts to make up for his lack of directorial innovation with a series of slash edits and romanticized shots. As anyone with Bay experience can attest to, his love of a certain type of female form is perhaps only eclipsed by his erection for military gear and weaponry. Bad Boys II certainly has its share of both, but the director’s lack of creativity in displaying said elements really makes the whole parade kind of boring.
There’s also something weird about how Bay paints ecstasy, the drug that our heroes are trying to stop from spreading throughout Miami. Sure, there’s something about a “tainted” batch of the stuff and how the villains are killing people to maintain and control the supply. But through a swirling and sexy club scene, Bay actually makes ecstasy seem, well, fun – until the dude dies.
It’s not so much that Bay should have a moral compass. It’s that he should have at least some consistency. It’s hard to bemoan the body count left behind when the celebration of generating said body count is done with such vigour. And it’s hard to want the protagonists to stop the flow of ecstasy when it seems like the ideal way to get two really hot chicks to make out.
The interplay between Lawrence and Smith doesn’t seem as organic or funny in this sequel, but there are some gems to be had. One scene in which Smith and Lawrence bully and terrorize a teenager is unnecessary and wrong, but it’s also somewhat funny to see the generally clean-cut Smith play against type.
Again, Bad Boys II isn’t a good movie. There’s some quality action and the boys are funny in doses, but the massively gratuitous runtime makes it drag and the lack of plot cohesion is problematic. Bay tries to distract the audience and has doubtlessly done the trick, as his box office digits reveal, but this flick probably won’t do the trick for anyone over the age of 16.