Bad Boys II

Bad Boys II

*

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The boys are bad when once they were good.

This must be the longest (2.5 hrs), most destructive (vehicles wrecked) and convoluted hokum action movie ever made. Even the relationship between Mike (Will Smith) and Marcus (Martin Lawrence), cop partners in TNT (Tactical Narcotics Team), is complicated by Mike's involvement with Marcus's sister Syd (Gabrielle Union), an undercover agent, working in the same field, not to mention on the same case.

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Michael Bay came out of nowhere to direct Bad Boys in 1995. He went on to greater things (Armageddon, The Rock), but at that time he was young and unknown, not unlike his stars, rap singer Smith and stand-up comic Lawrence. The chemistry was perfect and the script genuinely funny. Also, Bay demonstrated a skill with explosives that became his trademark.

Eight years later, Smith is on Hollywood's A-list, Lawrence makes a succession of excruciatingly unwatchable comedies and Bay's ambition keeps on soaring. They come together for the sequel, co-written by writer/director Ron Shelton, and everything falls apart, or, to be more accurate, nothing fits. Gunfire is constant, violence endemic, four-letter words embedded and car chases used as an excuse to choreograph multiple crashes. Even more surprising, the humour fails to induce a snigger.

The stunts highjack the plot. Drugs are involved, naturally, since they have taken the place of gold, as the criminal's most wanted commodity. A Spaniard (Jordi Molla), with a short fuse and designer stubble, is smuggling the stuff into Miami in coffins. A Russian (Peter Stormare), who controls the distribution as well as every nightclub in town, is feeling the heat. There is no room for nice guys here.

The cops, especially Mike and Marcus, are causing havoc, without coming up with evidence to convict the Spaniard. Syd is in place, doing her seduction number, while the TNT crew are breaking things outside. In the end, it becomes a confrontation in Cuba between thugs, sophisticated equipment, a million rounds of ammo, a fleet of helicopters and big cars that make Landcruisers look like Dinky toys.

The Smith/Lawrence double act does not work this time. Smith lets it all pass by, while Lawrence tries too hard to raise a laugh. Molla is effective as a ruthless, power hungry scumbag and Stormare, the schizophrenic killer from Fargo, enjoys his Russian connection, hamming it up with a certain style.

The film never seems to want to end. When it does, the sense of release is tangible.

Reviewed on: 02 Oct 2003
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Sequel to the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence action comedy about drugs and cops and explosions.
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Director: Michael Bay

Writer: Ron Shelton, Jerry Stahl

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jordi Molla, Gabrielle Union, Peter Stormare, Theresa Randle, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Shannon

Year: 2003

Runtime: 147 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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