Bad Boys II (2003) / Action-Comedy
MPAA Rated: R for strong violence and action, pervasive language, sexuality and drug content
Running Time: 150 min.
Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jordi Molla, Gabrielle Union, Joe Pantoliano, Peter Stormare, Theresa Randle
Director: Michael Bay
Screenplay: Ron Shelton, Jerry Stahl
Although I am not a fan of any other Michael Bay mega-blockbusters, I did enjoy the original Bad Boys, mostly because it did manage to make me laugh quite a bit. Even so, I came into watching Bad Boys II with some very low expectations, as I feel that this is yet another sequel that no one thought needed to be made. However, at the very least, I did expect to be entertained enough to sit through it. Well, I did sit through it alright, but there was more than one scene where I discovered that staring at the wall, my watch, or the inside of my eyelids provided far more entertainment value than the action on-screen. Bad Boys II ranks among my choices for worst films of 2003, a film so detestable, it not only was pollution to my sight and hearing, it actually stunk so bad and left such a horrendous taste in my mouth, it was only a "touch" away from managing to offend my every sense.
Will Smith (Men in Black II, Ali) and Martin Lawrence (National Security, Black Knight) reprise their roles as Miami police officers Mike Lowrey and Marcus Bennett, assigned to the Tactical Narcotics Team to stop the influx of illegal drugs into the United States. Their latest assignment is to infiltrate and prevent a Cuban drug lord from delivering the largest shipment of ecstasy into Miami. Meanwhile, Mike and Marcus feel some tension between each other, as their is some evident spark between Mike and Marcus' DEA agent sister, Sydney (Gabrielle Union, Cradle 2 the Grave).
Bad Boys II is such a tediously long and unrelentingly awful experience that I not only hated every aspect of it, I actually had time to categorize my feelings about it while it played out in front of me. It was about the only thing I could do to stay awake.
Bad Boys II - The Hate List
1. Terrible action. Most people who watch and enjoy this film will probably say it had good action as long as you don't think too much. That's easier said than done, since there are half a dozen scenes that take at least 10-20 minutes, so shutting your brain off for such a duration would require you to be asleep or in a coma! How in the world can anyone possibly enjoy some of the most ridiculously ill-conceived stunt and action pieces, that not only defy every law of physics, but actually insults your very intelligence in a repeatedly unremorseful fashion. Everything is shot to look cool, blow up big, and crash hard, but Bay doesn't know when to quit. One spectacular crash might be enough to sate some people, but not Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor, Armageddon). He needs one after the other after the other, until there is a 20 car pile-up where each crash flies 50 feet in the air and ends with an explosion that would almost require a small nuclear device to achieve. To top it off, each of these instances is rife with CGI, to the point where I almost feel like classifying the film as a live-action cartoon.
2. God-awful comedy. The comedy of the original Bad Boys was its main saving grace, so you'd expect at the very least that you would have a decent chuckle now and then amid the mind-numbing explosions. NO! Not only was there not one genuinely funny moment to the film, much of the attempts at humor were so offensive, they actually elicited anger. Take for example Martin Lawrence playing the protective father in a completely needless scene where his daughter is being taken out by a shy 15 year old boy. Like so many sitcoms before, he decides to inspire fear in the boy that if anything bad happens during the date, there is going to be hell to pay. Like all scenes in this film, Bay needs to take it one level further than necessary, and soon Will Smith gets involved, brandishing a gun and pointing it at point-blank range in the young boy's face threatening his life. Isn't that a cute and funny moment? Wait until you see the scene where two rats engage in missionary sex, and you'll see there's no end to the level of bad taste the film is willing to go to throw everything at you just to try to squeeze one meager laugh out of you, mostly to no avail.
3. Terrible acting. Will Smith speaks broken English and Martin Lawrence has a crying scene -- 'nuff said.
4. Marathon length. Most action-comedies reside in the 90 minute range, but not Bad Boys II, which clocks in at a whopping 2 1/2 hours! Things wouldn't be so bad if there had been some point or purpose to some of the scenes, but this film is padded to the extreme with needless moments, throwaway characters, and seemingly endless shootouts. To say you could chop one hour out and not lose a thing is a given, but I think you could actually chop out two.
5. Maximum T&A gratuity. It seems like Bay knows only one way to shoot a scene, and that is to have eye-candy in every frame. There's lots of women walking around in thongs or short-shorts, most of which make no sense to their environment or situation. Even a nice family gathering sees Theresa Randle (Spawn, Space Jam) displaying the maximum amount of cleavage to her kids without actually seeing nipples.
6. "To protect and serve". A quick check online sees that there were a little over 100 ecstasy related deaths last year, and the number seems to be on the way up -- a serious problem for the DEA to be sure. However, that can't hold a candle to the amount of civilian deaths caused by the so-called law enforcement units in Bad Boys II, who literally kill hundreds in their car crashes, shootouts, and explosions galore! For an "anti-drug" film, it's a bit disingenuous. There is a scene where Martin Lawrence accidentally takes some of the "deadly" drug, and appears to have a great time. What a nice PSA for any kids out there.
Bad Boys II is the latest pile of crap by a director and producer that thinks the public wants more more crashing and killings and less story and character development. Their target audience seems to be anyone with an IQ of less that 60, or those rare breed of people that can actually shut their brains off without falling asleep. I envy you for this amazing and quite necessary talent.
During most fireworks shows on the 4th of July, there is a level of excitement at seeing the first few go off, and as you see them for a couple of minutes, some boredom sets in. After about 10 minutes, you are usually sated, and begin to hope there will be an end soon to the colorful and noisy display. Most of these displays end after 15 minutes, and normally with one last flourish of many big bangs and extravagant lights. Now imagine that final moment of bursts going on and on for 2 1/2 hours...you sitting there drooling from lack of brain activity, mindlessly watching non-stop explosions and hearing relentlessly thunderous booms. Sound appealing? Watch Bad Boys II.
©2003 Vince Leo