Movie Reviews

Bad Boys II

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Rating: 5 out of 10
Movie Details: View here

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Cast:
Martin Lawrence as Marcus Burnett
Will Smith as Mike Lowrey
Gabrielle Union as Sydney Burnett
Joe Pantoliano as Captain Howard
Jordi Mollà as Johnny Tapia
Theresa Randle as Theresa Burnett
Tom Hillmann as Dad
Chris Astoyan as Freddy
Jon Beshara as Alpha 66
John Cenatiempo as Syd's Bodyguard
Dave Corey as Agent Eames
Kiko Ellsworth as Blond Dreads
Treva Etienne as Icepick
Reynaldo Gallegos as Tito
Gary Nickens as Det. Fanuti
Jason Manuel Olazabal as Det. Vargas
Tim Powell as Jack Snell, DEA Director
R.E. Rodgers as Delongpre
John Salley as Hacker 'Fletcher'
Otto Sanchez as Carlos
Oleg Taktarov as Josef
Yul Vazquez as Reyes
J.D. Walsh as Best Buy clerk

Summary:
‘Bad Boys II’ has all the elements of a great popcorn flick, but not even the wonderful chemistry between Smith and Lawrence can save the film from gore, a confusing plot, a long running time, and slow motion scenes of people looking cool.

Story:
This is the sequel to the 1995 film ‘Bad Boys’.

Mike Lowrey and his partner Marcus Burnett are still cops in Miami. While Mike is still the rich, flirtatious bachelor, Marcus is a family man with anger issues. In an effort to avoid complete emotional breakdown, he has been going into therapy. He has also decided to end his partnership with Mike. The only problem is he has to break the news to him.

Mike has an informant who tells him about a major drug deal going down. Unfortunately, they are continually unable to catch the man behind it, Johnny Tapia. Little do they know that the Cuban drug lord has been smuggling drugs and money in and out of the US through his mortuary service. As he continues to foil them, matters are complicated by the involvement of the DEA. As the DEA and the Miami police interfere with each other, Marcus gets personally involved when he finds out that his sister Sydney is one of the undercover federal agents. Worried for her safety, he tries to intercede in her investigation of Tapia. However, there’s a bigger threat he doesn’t know about - she’s secretly fallen in love with Mike.

‘Bad Boys II’ is rated R for strong violence and action, pervasive language, sexuality and drug content.

What Worked:
If you’re looking for a mindless action film this summer, Bad Boys II will fit the bill. Fans of the first film should enjoy this sequel with equal enthusiasm. I must admit, though, that I haven’t see the original since it was originally released in 1995, so I can’t easily compare the two. Suffice it to say that there’s equal amount of action, humor, and violence.

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return and continue to have great chemistry. They seem to really have a lot of fun together on screen and it helps to make the film more entertaining. Their improvisations help a lot, too. One of the funniest moments in the whole movie is when the two team up to harass a poor, unsuspecting boyfriend of Marcus’ daughter. It had nothing to do with big explosions or looking cool. It just worked really well and gave big laughs.

Will Smith looks great in the tough guy role. He’s matured a lot as an actor over the years. I generally hate Martin Lawrence, but I found him to be a lot more tolerable in this role. He’s generally loud and egotistical, but this role requires him to be just the opposite. (Well, he’s still loud, but not in an obnoxious way.) By allowing himself to be second banana he ends up being a lot less overbearing and a lot funnier. Joe Pantoliano also puts a fun new spin on the typical angry police chief role by having him desperately try to manage his anger with therapy, incense, and chanting.

Action fans will get an overdose of adrenaline and testosterone in this movie (as you would expect from any Michael Bay film). Some of the more memorable action sequences involve a big chase sequence on a freeway where the bad guys throw cars at our heroes, a gunfight at a KKK rally, and a rescue mission in the drug lord’s villa.

With a lot of explosions, humor, action, and thongs, I expect this to be one of the more popular movies of the summer.

What Didn’t Work:
Unfortunately, being popular doesn’t necessarily make a film great. Bad Boys II had a number of problems that I couldn’t get over. First of all, at 2 ½ hours in running time, it was about an hour too long. There was a lot of unnecessary material that could have been cut and thrown on a special edition DVD. Second, there was way too much profanity for my liking. If you made a drinking game for this movie where you took a drink every time someone said s**t or f**k, then you’d be dead of alcohol poisoning. If you took those two words out, you probably could have cut that hour that I mentioned earlier. It just wasn’t necessary.

I like Michael Bay and the material that he picks, but he frequently does camerawork that annoys me. One trick is to dramatically spin the camera between two rooms during a gunfight. Yes, it looked nice, but it didn’t help tell the story and it spun about three times too many. I got seasick. Bay also liked to show Will Smith dramatically unholster his guns in slow motion. Rather than making the higher paid actor look cool, it made him look ultra-cheesy and egotistical.

The movie was also surprisingly gory. One car chase involved corpses falling out of a truck and being run over rather graphically (and repeatedly). Another scene in a mortuary had our heroes digging around inside body cavities and showing open skulls and brains (not to mention the gratuitous shots of a dead woman’s breasts). In other scenes people are shot and a special point is made to show their brains exploding out the backs of their skulls. It seemed like they were making extra effort to earn that R rating. It wasn’t necessary.

The plot is also occasionally confusing. All the subterfuge and multiple factions made things perplexing in a hurry. I’m still not sure I entirely understand the evil plan of the drug lord. However, that’s not of too much concern because they’ll eventually shoot someone or blow something up to lighten the mood.

Finally, the film had incredible lapses in logic. I can appreciate the need to suspend disbelief, but this film asked for it a lot. After a huge gun battle in the middle of traffic with the general public running for cover, the immediate following reaction was for the DEA to gripe out the cops for interfering with their undercover operation. Huh? I would think they would have bigger concerns like keeping their jobs after the fight was shown on national news. In another scene, our heroes drive a Hummer through a shantytown destroying hundreds of shacks, yet nobody is hurt and very few people even jump out of the way. You’d think even in an action popcorn flick a couple of cops would have more concern for public safety.

The Bottom Line:
This is no doubt going to be a popular summer movie. However, it simply wasn’t my cup of tea. In deciding whether or not to see it, you should consider your opinion of the first film, the lead actors, and Michael Bay’s style.

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