johnlink ranks BAD BOYS II (2003)

It was a rainy Friday, and it turned into an odd double feature with WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE and BAD BOYS II. After the, strangely, somewhat downer of a first film, we were looking for something to put fictitious butter on the popcorn we were not eating. Somehow, neither of us had seen BAD BOYS II since it was in theaters, despite the first film being a favorite for both Liz and myself. I ranked the first one back in May, and you can jump to it here.

I watched BAD BOYS II (2003) on 10.1.10. It was my second viewing of the film, and first since it was in theaters in ’03 (though I think I bought it on DVD the day it came out… go figure). TRAILER HERE

I’ve chronicled my feelings for Michael Bay throughout the pages of this blog. BAD BOYS II is where he started to get overly self-indulgent, and is the precursor to the train wreck that was TRANSFORMERS 2. The BAD BOYS sequel isn’t as bad as the TRANSFORMERS debacle, but you can see the seeds being sown. He was comfortable with the characters, knew they were loved, and figured he could start to do anything he wanted. That leads to things like a hilarious, but entirely unnecessary scene where Will Smith and Martin Lawrence berate a kid trying to take out Martin’s daughter during a point in the film where things are starting to get serious, and the third act should be launching. It works only because Smith and Lawrence are so goddamn funny. Bay is at the mercy of the talent of his actors (noone has ever said that about Martin Lawrence in his life, mind you). If they aren’t funny, this scene, and the film, flops.

That scene is this film in a microcosm. It should be much worse than it is, but the Bad Boys carry it (with some great help by returning champion Joey Pantoliano and a decent turn by Gabrielle Union). Smith and Lawrence are genuinely likable, and they are intensely funny throughout the entire film.

Your typical Bay shit is here. Women unnecessarily wearing next to nothing. A little remote controlled robot car with built in explosive somehow making its way into Cuba, shots that last 1.3 seconds or less, action sequences that are improbable to the point of being absurd, flashy chases, gay bashing, and, honestly, some big fun moments. It’s a bit unique in that it’s the only big Bay film (BAD BOYS the first was a much smaller picture) other than the ROCK to be rated R. And where THE ROCK was rated R because in the 90s nobody knew better (and I wish they still didn’t), BAD BOYS II is unabashedly rated R, and Will Smith gets to be very vulgar for one of the few times in his career. I know that shouldn’t help the movie, but damn it, it does.

The end of the film gets out of hand. The credibility meter gets stomped on when a team flies to Cuba like its a Sunday trip, and then goes on a rampage through the tiny island before ending up at Guantanamo Bay. If everything else in the film is eye-rolling, that sequence is head-rolling.

Ultimately, this isn’t as good as the first. I’d say it has about the same amount of fun, albeit with 45 minutes more screen time. The first one was tight, but Bay isn’t really interested in making tight films anymore. I can’t knock him too much for that, he’s one of the few directors willing to make a movie longer than 2 hours anymore, but he does add a lot of fluff. Watchable? Hell yes. And if a third film was made, I’d be there opening day (unlike my feeling for TRANSFORMERS 3).

SCORES

FILM: 4; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 5; WRITING: 4; BONUS: 1 (What is this?)

I’m giving the bonus for the chemistry between Smith and Lawrence. I know that should be a part of acting, but frankly the acting isn’t great in this, the writing isn’t great in this, but the two of them make it work between them.  It goes beyond just an acting thing. I think these two guys just have a ton of fun working together, and that shines through every time they are on screen together.

4+8+5+4+1=22

FINAL SCORE: 5.5

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~ by johnlink00 on October 2, 2010.

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