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Bad Boys II

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If anyone's gonna cuff me, I want
it to be the one in the middle!

Bad Boys II
Review written by: Alex Sandell

"What's the difference between an Ed Wood film and a movie directed by Michael Bay?  About 100 million dollars."  I have never liked Michael Bay's 1980's MTV video style approach to creating a feature film.  I thought that the first Bad Boys was a second-rate rip-off of Lethal Weapon, and from that point on, each of Bay's films got progressively worse.  The Rock was a leaky mess of a movie kept afloat by Sean Connery.  Armageddon would have been the most idiotic thing ever put on film, if not for Michael Bay's next stinker, Pearl Harbor.  After four flaccid action movies, it was pretty much certain:  Michael Bay could do no right, and I had turned into a bona fide "Bay-Basher."  Then, like I'm living in a slapstick movie, the guy pulls the rug out from under me by splattering the giddily entertaining Bad Boys II across the theater screen. 

The movie manages to include each of the elements that usually make Bay's films so extraordinarily intolerable:  macho guys firing guns in slow motion, the ripples of the hot sun shimmering across the screen, the monotonous car chases, the faux patriotism, the horrendous one-liners, the foreign bad guys with accents that sound nothing like the accents found in their country of origin, the overuse of brobdingnagian explosions, the homophobic jokes ... it's all here.  But this time, it's almost all better. 

Over the past eight years, Michael Bay has been toying with a formula that he has finally come close to perfecting.  Never would I have thought that the reason Bay was failing as an action director was because he was holding back.  But it becomes clear as day with Bad Boys II that the man wasn't created to be merely excessive.  He was put on this planet to be boundless

Bad Boys II is so over-the-top, I'm convinced that even the screenwriters were taking steroids while pounding out the script.  Writers Ron Shelton (Hollywood Homicide, White Men Can't Jump), Jerry Stahl (C.S.I., Northern Exposure), Cormac Wibberley (Charlie's Angels:  Full Throttle, The 6th Day), and Marianne Wibberley (I Spy, Garage Sale) weren't as comfortable with rehashing the buddy-cop picture as their Bad Boys 1 predecessors seemed to be (maybe Ron Shelton got the "rehashing" out of his system with the horrible Hollywood Homicide).  They obviously worked hard to keep the film from feeling like a retread.  Two of the screenwriters (Cormac and Marianne Wibberley) were behind this summer's spasmodic Charlie's Angels:  Full Throttle.  After watching Bad Boys II, I can almost guarantee that this pair of screenwriters were the ones providing the fuel Michael Bay needed to light a fire under the discriminating filmgoer's uppity ass.

Like the underrated Full Throttle, Bad Boys II reaches the limit, and then pushes itself past it, to a limitless place of unremitting excitement.  Nothing I can type will prepare you for how truly outrageous this movie is.  The violence is extreme and the gore is heavy.  On the gruesome scale, the film is second only to Hannibal in what it gets away with, while still receiving an "R" rating from the MPAA. 

Unlike Hannibal, the bloodshed in Bad Boys II is played strictly for laughs.  But like carnal comedy classics ranging from the second Evil Dead to Final Destination 2, the flick will have you questioning the shameless tastelessness of your own sense of humor.  "Did I just laugh, clap and cheer over a guy being blown in half?"  "Was I giggling when the cap of a man's skull dropped off to reveal his gooey brain?"  Yes, you church-going people, you'll have a lot of confessing to do, after watching this one (at least five weak-stomached folks left the theater during one of the film's more grotesque moments.  I'm guessing they were rapidly racing toward either a toilet or a confessional.). 

But Michael Bay and his hardy band of screenwriters aren't aiming to please only those of us undesirables raised on horror movies, heavy metal and Captain Kangaroo.  There's plenty of love to go around, and this film is chock-full of memorable comedy and action-sequences.  Martin Lawrence and Will Smith are both in top form.  This film may be remembered as the height of their careers as comedic actors.  Reportedly, they'd come in on their day off (Sunday) and improvise comedy lines that Michael Bay would scribble down and implement into the screenplay, during the next official shooting day. 

And those action sequences.  Wow.  Again The Matrix Reloaded's much touted freeway chase is put to shame by crazy automobile action in another film (this happened just a couple weeks ago with Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machines).  This isn't simply one car pursuing another.  It's a frantic couple of car chases with dozens of automobiles spinning off trucks, boats flying at cars, and a bunch of corpses thrown into the mix, just for good measure.  I'm pretty sure the only thing missing was the kitchen sink. 

And the "everything but the kitchen sink" maxim is what Michael Bay stumbled upon to turn his god-awful formula into gold.  More blood!  More guts!  More action!  More scantily clad women!  More humor!  More curse words!  More explosions!  More!  More!  More!  Finally Bay has reached the point where "recrementitious" becomes "just right."  The film stretches out to an amazing 2 hours and 30 minutes, without becoming tired.  But Michael Bay hasn't turned himself into "director of the year" by any means, and there are moments where his juvenile directing style threatens to sink the film. 

Even if you're laughing, there seems to be a lot of homophobia behind the homosexual jokes. Bay also continues to wear his Xenophobia on his sleeve, in this film. There is a lot of animosity toward and misunderstanding of other cultures when the "evil-doers" are from other countries, and all of the heroes are American. Lastly, cops violating anyone's rights are wrong even if they're just fake cops in a stupid movie. In the long run, encouraging detectives to "bend the rules" to catch a guilty man, is asking for a Police State where innocent people rot in jail right next to the guilty ones.

While I'm on the topic of "guilty," this movie is the ultimate "guilty" pleasure, and a large part of me feels "guilty" over deriving pleasure from it.  But pleasurable it is.  Thanks to my actually liking one of his films (despite my complaints in the previous paragraph); I have to change the witty riddle I came up with after seeing Armageddon.  "What's the difference between an Ed Wood film and a movie directed by Michael Bay?  About 100 million dollars."  For now, at least, I'll have to add, " and the fact that Bay finally got it right."

On a scale of 1-10?

7

What does this rating mean?  Everyone rates things differently.  Your "5" could be my "7," or vice-versa.  Find out what MY rating means by clicking here

Agree? Disagree? Feeling bored and wanna write a letter that you'll probably never get a response to?  Email me at alex@juicycerebellum.com 

Other recent film reviews on THE JUICY CEREBELLUM (click on a film's title to go to its review):

Pirates of the Caribbean:  The Curse of the Black Pearl

Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machines

Legally Blonde 2:  Red, White & Blonde

Charlie's Angels:  Full Throttle

28 Days Later

Hulk

Rugrats Go Wild

Coming soon -- Reviews of Spy Kids 3D:  Game Over, Tomb Raider:  The Cradle of Life, Seabiscuit, American Wedding, How to Deal, and Freddy VS Jason!

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Text (Copyright) 2003 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved].