Urban Cinefile
"About two or three minutes into it, my jaw hit the floor. "  -Gregg Hoffman at Evolution Studios, on watching a sample scene from Saw
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Saturday February 1, 2020 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Miami detectives, smooth operator Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and family man Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) are assigned to a task force working to stop the gangs who are bringing new and dangerous forms of ecstasy into Miami. Sleazy kingpin Johnny Tapia (Jordi Molla) has made so much in mega-bucks that the rats are eating his cash before he can move it to safe haven in Cuba. Unbeknownst to Marcus, his sister Syd (Gabrielle Union) is helping Tapia launder the dirty dough while working undercover for the DEA. Marcus is concerned that Syd might get caught in the crossfire when Tapia goes to war with Alexei (Peter Stormare), a Russian middleman who is skimming the cream from his profits…and the cop can’t quite cope with the idea that his gung-ho buddy and sister Syd (Gabrielle Union) who is also an undercover DEA agent, have the hots for each other.

Review by Keith Lofthouse:
There was a time when wizened film critics wrote about things that were perceived to be in “bad taste”…first Rhett Butler telling Scarlet that he didn’t “give a damn” in 1939 to Ulysses in 1967 and film’s first use of the word “fuck.” It was Alfred Hitchcock who first flushed a toilet in 1960’s Psycho but now it’s common for characters to fart before they even sit on one. Increasingly, critics are expected to turn the other cheek to scenes that are not only in bad taste but are morally reprehensible. “Get with it,” the critics of the critics say, “it’s what audiences want these days.” Need we remind them that those same audiences also wanted terrorist plots before September 11 and, I suspect, still do? 

Consider one particular scene in Bad Boys II when corpses bundled into plastic body bags in the back of a van, spill out during a high-speed chase to be run over by pursuing cars, squashed and decapitated. Consider another when our heroes careen downhill in a runaway Hummer, smashing a Havana shanty-town to smithereens, no doubt killing innocents and their livestock and leaving the survivors maimed and homeless. The audience rolled around the floor, laughing, and yet, it’s here that you have to give the film its due. 

Despite its ludicrous 146 minute running time and the garbled plot in which it is difficult to tell the good guys from the bad guys, the pace is relentless, the action astounding and at least half of the buddy banter actually works. Consider the director, Michael Bay, who with producer Bruckheimer orchestrated Pearl Harbor and Armageddon. You know they won’t spare the hay and so it cost millions for the production to choke down Miami’s freeways for days to film chase scenes which, I promise, are more destructive than any you’ve seen. And it cost millions more to purchase an actual mansion in Puerto Rico (Tapia’s mansion) simply to blow it to kingdom come! 

All perhaps is forgiven in one priceless moment when Marcus, bawling out his sister says: “What you did is reckless, stupid and dangerous. I’m telling mommie!” Bad Boys II, no question, has energy and a kinetic kind of style; the camera work is inventive and giddying and the music has an urgency which adds to the tension when the buddies aren’t bantering. Sure, we can quibble about the bloodied body parts, the gluttony of bullets and gore, but who’s gonna give a damn, when there’s so much fun to be had? 

Review by Jake Wilson:
Words like cartoonish, over-the-top and one-dimensional scarcely begin to describe Bad Boys 2 - the most garish superproduction yet from action mogul Jerry Bruckheimer and his pet director Michael Bay, the Spinal Tap of filmmaking teams. Bay's visual style, as ever, is all sweeping low-angle shots and digital fancy footwork: bullets fly, tyres screech, homoerotic banter runs rampant. All those explosions, car crashes, broken glass! During the big action sequences, the fragmented images often seem like a largely meaningless accompaniment to the soundtrack - the film's biggest pleasure, especially those seat-rattling bass frequencies. 

Overall, the relentless bombardment is more painful than exhilarating, but there's something arrestingly weird about the presumption that that this is mainstream entertainment, considering the reliance throughout on intentionally extreme bad taste. A comically gratuitous shot of two rats having sex ties in with a running theme of humans-as-beasts, and a Blues-Brothers-style demolition of a Cuban village plays like a barely veiled satire of American foreign policy, yet Bay and his screenwriters never overtly cross the line between mindless macho triumphalism and the frank self-loathing of a Paul Verhoeven movie. 

Where a slumming art filmmaker like Verhoeven can acknowledge and explore his own fascination with degradation, murder, and wasteful excess, here similar perverse passions have to be balanced and justified by a ludicrous anti-drug message and other affirmations of 'normality' (paeans to family values, racial tolerance, or the joys of male friendship). Lacking the courage of his own cynicism, Bay flails about, trapped within his own costly machinery; without some purpose behind the pyrotechnics, no amount of sensory overload is enough to free us from boredom.

Email this article

Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 2


BAD BOYS 2 (M15+)

CAST: Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Jordi Mollà, Gabrielle Union, Peter Stormare, Theresa Randle, Joe Pantoliano

PRODUCER: Jerry Bruckheimer

DIRECTOR: Michael Bay

SCRIPT: Ron Shelton, Jerry Stahl


EDITOR: Roger Barton, Mark Goldblatt, Tom Muldoon

MUSIC: Trevor Rabin


RUNNING TIME: 147 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 18, 2003

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2020