Hot women in skimpy clothes? Profanity? More explosions? More gun fights? Lots and lots and lots of initially cool but quickly tiresome and unnecessary slo-mo shots?
Then, my friend, you will LOOOOOOVE Bad Boys II, which contains all those things and more, and really should have been called Bad Boys II: Blowin’ S**t Up!
Director Michael Bay’s flashy, loud, expensive and action-packed sequel to 1994’s power keg action-comedy, Bad Boys, delivers on everything a testosterone-riddled Alpha male could possibly want in a summer movie and more. It’s clearly made for the 18-29 crowd, and that audience will likely drive the film to a solid opening weekend at the box office.
The film follows dysfunctional Miami P.D. partners Mike Lowery (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), whose interpersonal antics and arguments are as entertaining as ever. This time around they’re on the trail of a Cuban drug lord (Jordi Mollà, looking kind of like a greasier, strung-out Andy Garcia) who’s overseeing, among other things, the transport of a massive delivery of Ecstasy via a rather grotesque means. (Trust me, see the movie and you’ll know what I mean.)
Complicating matters are a bevy of supporting players, some good, some eeevil. There’s police captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano), who’s one eye-twitch away from a complete stress-induced psychotic break and who’s repeatedly left to clean up the messes left behind by his officers. He’s none too pleased with their haphazard methods of delivering justice, you see. There’s also Marcus’ younger sister, Sydney (Gabrielle Union), a DEA agent working to bust the same Cuban drug lord via an undercover operation. Her presence, and her budding relationship with Mike, serve as some serious distractions to getting the job done for all involved.
And, finally, we have a rival Russian drug lord (Peter Stormare, in yet another creepy, unlikable-thug role), who’s engaged in a bloody power struggle with the Cubans over control of their operations.
Basically, the plot boils down to the Bad Boys vs. the bad guys. Sure, there are TONS of action sequences strung together with endless amounts of gunfire, screaming and exploding cars/buildings/people in between, but the gist is a simple one: bring down the villains and look cool doing it.
Despite its relatively thin story, Bad Boys II manages to drag out the proceedings for more than two hours and twenty minutes (!). And, believe me, the proceedings *do* tend to drag from time to time. Many of the action sequences, while impressive, could have been shorter. Perhaps a few less slo-motion shots of a peeved Mike or an angry Marcus as they rise like phoenixes into frame. We get it. It was nice once, but beating the audience over the head with an effect serious detracts from its appeal. In fact, many of the needless or needlessly long portions of the film result in its biggest problem: its girth. It didn’t need to be that long. Yes, I know they paid good money to throw in every last bell and whistle but, really, that’s what extended-edition DVDs are for. And a smaller complaint: the movement of the camera in many of the extended chase sequences also lent itself to quasi-queasiness (read: please stop jiggling the camera around, I’m starting to feel ill) for some audience members, including me. Sensitive viewers may wish to look away about five minutes into every fifteen-minute chase.
As I said, there are plenty of things for fans of this genre to embrace and enjoy. Smith and Lawrence have an undeniable chemistry that makes them a great onscreen team. Joe Pantoliano’s manic performance was a delightful standout, and Gabrielle Union proved without a doubt that she can hold her own amongst her fellow fellows. Even Jordi Mallà – as the smarmy, unshaven kingpin who doesn’t bat an eyelash at brutal murder and general mayhem – was an appropriately cartoonish nemesis. And, as ever, the two leads’ biggest and most impressive co-star was the plethora of action. Nonstop. All action, all the time.
So, if you’re gunning for guns, thirsty for some bloodletting, eager to enjoy fast cars doing what they do best, don’t mind a thin story and, of course, yearn for more explosions than you can shake a stick of TNT at, Bad Boys II will be right up your alley.