Published on July 21st, 2003 | by Erich Becker0
Review: Bad Boys II
Not a lot can be said for sequels this summer. Getting thing started off with the above average X2 gave me hope, but everything after the disappointing Matrix Reloaded I have been wondering if it is really necessary to release 20+ sequel films during a four month period, the culmination of which holds American Wedding and the long anticipated Freddy vs. Jason. Still after the surprise hit of Pirates of the Caribbean two weeks ago I had new found faith in producer Jerry Bruckheimer. No more than 14 days later Bruckheimer’s biggest movie of the summer, a sequel, hits theaters but misses the mark.
Bad Boys II isn’t a bad movie in any sense and if I was expecting a laugh a minute comedy or a cerebral think-fest my head would have imploded several times over the course of the films somewhat bloated 2.5 hour running time. Bad Boys II is nothing more than huge explosions, awesome car chases, funny dialog, body parts flying, and slow motion head shots, and I like them all. Granted the plot is paper thin and the characters, aside from Martin Lawrence’s Marcus Burnett and Will Smith’s Mike Lowrey, are nothing more than 2D.
After September 11 the drug smugglers have found new ways of bringing illicit material into the United States on, or under, the water. Marcus and Mike have been assigned to the Tactical Narcotics Team (TNT) and begin gathering evidence against Johnny Tapia a brutal kingpin who has men hacked to pieces in his mother’s kitchen and runs drugs into the US using coffins and dead bodies as mules. Along with gathering this evidence Burnett and Lowrey participate in a high speed chase which cars crashing off of a semi, blast through a Cuban village in a Hummer, get in numerous gun fights, and kill more people than I can count. The story also opens up to envelop Marcus’ sister, Sydney (Gabrielle Union), who is later captured by Tapia and taken to Cuba. This is where the movie goes from iffy, but fun, to totally absurd. Granted we didn’t come to see an engrossing drama, but to think of a small group of men taking on a drug kingpin’s minions and the Cuban army makes your head hurt.
Other critics have called the movie a bit too excessive with the sheer amount of violence present. The ever popular slow motion head shot is a personal favorite, but just getting your skull blasted open enough, you then need to be disemboweled and disintegrated by mines. The movie doesn’t tip-toe around the effects of gunshots and bodies getting run over by cars and trains. The film is ten times more violent than it’s predecessor, which may turn a few people off.
The special effects and stunt work used in the film is top notch. The freeway chase towards the beginning of the film looks great, real cars or not, you won’t find a better chase sequence this side of Reloaded. Also of note is the Hummer barreling down a hill in Cuba where buildings are destroyed left and right and cleverly placed cameras give the whole chase a very cinematic feel. The cinematography in Bad Boys II is excellent with wide, panning shots, or the Bruckheimer norm, slow-motion tight shots of the main characters.
Smith and Lawrence play off each other’s characters very, very well. The movie provides a wealth of laughs at the expense of a certain white power group and a humorous trip to the boss’ house. I won’t spoil any of the jokes but the funny definitely doesn’t spare on the laughs, and then throws in a few more head shots for good measure.
Bad Boys II does try to be anything more than it is, which is good, but what it ends up being is a brain-cell killing event that gives us plenty of eye candy but very little substance to back it up. Then again the last time Michael Bay gave us substance I had to sit through Pearl Harbor. If you have two and a half hours to kill and don’t mind a bit of blood being spilled Bad Boys II offers a very cinematic, fun experience if you aren’t looking to be intrigued, only wowed.