In 1995, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence played a pair of streetwise Miami narcotics cops in the Michael Bay's sleeper hit "Bad Boys." Now, eight years later, producer Jerry Bruckheimer teams this gang together again in the 146 minute sequel, "Bad Boys II."
I nearly fainted when I saw that the runtime for "Bad Boys 2" clocked in at nearly 2½ hours! I groaned to myself, "My Gawd! That's nearly as long as films like "Saving Private Ryan" and longer than the well-padded (but entertaining) "Pirates of the Caribbean"!" I wasn't even all that keen with the first "Bad Boys" movie so I steeled myself and prepared to hunker down for the duration, although I gave fleeting thought to maybe walking out if this sequel got to be too much for me.
You know what? "BB2" was not awful! It's not a movie that I would recommend to anyone other than the fans of the first but, for all its excess and bloat, I found it mildly entertaining and sometimes actually funny. Sure, with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Bay, the stars and what has to be a huge budget, you get action, chases and shootouts galore and not a lot in the way of story development, but this is what the fans want and expect.
Don't get me wrong. "Bad Boys 2" is unforgivably too long and could have, quite easily, ended before it hit the two-hour mark, as it should have. I might have even come out and said that I liked it (though probably not). As it is, there is enough noise, smoke, smashed cars (scores, if not hundreds, of vehicles are wrecked along the way), flying bullets and bickering between Mike (Smith) and Marcus (Lawrence) to keep the target audience amused throughout.
The not-so-dynamic duo is on the case to bust the drug dealers that are bringing X-tasy into the Miami area by the boatload. Mike and Marcus are working under cover and have infiltrated a Ku Klux Klan cell that is part of the smuggling scheme. There's lots of tension between the rednecks and the cops as a Mexican standoff develops when one of the Klan guys gets the drop on Marcus. Loose cannon Mike won't back down, though, and the first of many shootouts begins, with Marcus taking a slug in the butt (and Mike being the inadvertent shooter). This incident is the catalyst Marcus needs to change his life as he secretly puts in for a transfer out of narcotics and away from his long time partner. Marcus's blue-collar resentment of Mike's inherited wealth is one of the underlying "stories" and there is more that will cause a further rift between the two cops, despite their high school vow: "We ride together, we die together, bad boys for life."
Marcus's pretty sister, Syd (Gabrielle Union), is down from New York for a visit and we find out that there is some "thing" going on between her and Mike that he is keeping secret from his partner. We also find out that she is an undercover DEA cop who is infiltrating the illicit operations of drug lord Hector Juan Carlos "Johnny" Tapia. Marcus and Mike, it turns out, are key players in the Miami police Tactical Narcotics Team and are also on the trail of Tapia. Interdepartmental conflicts WILL ensue.
From here on through to the end we are given more unadulterated action than in just about any action flick out there this summer. The story gets a little confused as the filmmakers do a kitchen sink job of throwing all manner of things at the viewer - corpses falling out of a speeding hearse; an assault on the drug lord's front business - a morgue; an invasion by the Miami police and the DEA of Cuba in pursuit of Tapia and to save Syd; Marcus accidentally ingesting X-tasy for a comic turn; and, of course, wall-to-wall chases and shootouts.
Character development picks up just about where we left off eight years ago with the bulk of the talk between Mike and Marcus mostly bickering, like an old married couple too used to each other. Will Smith almost seems like he forgets his lines as he stammers through one explanation after another. Martin Lawrence, never a favorite of mine, actually garners the most laughs in the film, especially during the X-tasy bit. Gabrielle Union puts a competent spin on her undercover sister role while Joe Pantoliano does his usual yeoman's work in his return perf as M&M's no nonsense captain. Jordi Molla, as drug kingpin Tapia, does a decent job in putting some dimension and character into his performance.
Techs really are first rate and help keep "Bad Boys 2" moving along briskly. The sheer excess of the action scenes keeps cars flying through the air with smashups that would make the Blues Brothers proud. Helmer Bay knows his way around a big budget movie and he does a capable job, especially with the over-the-top action
Maybe my expectations were too low going into "Bad Boys 2" but I came out not hating it and that's a good thing - for me. The fanboys are bound to enjoy it, though, with its action, action, action, bits of gruesomeness and sometime bawdy humor. I give it a C+.
Laura did not see this film.
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