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Bad Boys II (2003)

July 2nd, 2007 · 1 Comment

In the 5th season of South Park, Kyle exclaims, “Job has all his children killed, and Michael Bay gets to keep making movies. There isn’t a God.” In the fifth of six articles, I determine the existence of God by revisiting the films of director and alleged anti-Christ Michael Bay.

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$150 million of ecstasy manufactured in Amsterdam is shipped to the Gulf of Mexico in coffins. Two of the bags find their way into the hands of a courier, who delivers them to a KKK rally in Miami. A “Tactical Narcotics Team” stages a raid, sending in two black detectives: Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Will Smith). In the automatic weapons mayhem that ensues, Mike accidentally shoots his partner in the ass.

Marcus is in group therapy to curb his anger. Mike dates Marcus’ sister Syd (Gabrielle Union), a DEA operative, keeping the relationship hush-hush. Neither cop knows that Syd is working undercover as a money launderer for a Russian gangster (Peter Stormare). The detectives cross paths with her while following a Haitian crew looking to rip off a drug score. A massive chase and demolition derby ensues on the MacArthur Causeway.

After being yelled at by their captain (Joe Pantoliano), the bad boys discover the Haitians were after dope being shipped out of a funeral parlor owned by drug kingpin Johnny Tapia (Jordi Mollà). Once Tapia out-muscles the Russians, he recruits Syd to do his banking. She helps Marcus and Mike build the evidence to take the kingpin down, but not before Tapia flees to Cuba with Syd. The bad boys and their unit decide to invade Cuba to rescue her.

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Developing a sequel to Bad Boys, producer Jerry Bruckheimer enlisted screenwriters Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais. Their draft – titled Bad Around The World – took the Martin Lawrence/Will Smith characters to London to apprehend a chemist with ties to a drug kingpin. Todd Robinson, Dan Gordon and Gregory Allen Howard were brought in at various points to make it work, as were Marianne Wibberley & Cormac Wibberley.

Ron Shelton jumpstarted the project by writing a police procedural based on the network of Cuban, Russian and white supremacist drug smugglers operating around Miami. His script got Lawrence, Smith and director Michael Bay on board. Jerry Stahl did a rewrite, bringing an element of dark wit to the proceedings. John Lee Hancock did a rewrite as well. The WGA ruling: story by the Wibberleys and Shelton, screenplay by Shelton and Stahl.

After Pearl Harbor, Bay must have realized that he was never going to be taken seriously as a filmmaker. With nothing to lose in terms of critical accolades or awards, and $130 million at his disposal, Bay freed himself to make the most extravagant, vulgar, socially irresponsible spectacle possible. The result was Bad Boys II, and it’s the best work of Bay’s career.

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The bad boys are the worst cops in movie history; violating every civil liberty on the books, they cut a swath of destruction through Miami that would make Tony Montana grin. But the movie is gloriously over the top, the way The Blues Brothers is over the top. Car crashes, cursing, gunfire and bad guys of every stripe are orchestrated at such a dizzying level, the movie transcends the mediocrity of ordinary action movies.

The demolition derby on the MacArthur Causeway is a visceral joy, blending audacious stunt driving with digital effects that maintain the illusion of cars dodging debris by inches. It may be the best movie chase in the last fifteen years. Bay also creatively employs CGI in a shootout, whipping the camera 360 degrees between two rooms. Just as cool is a gag done live with a dog, a chain, and Marcus’ cheap above ground pool.

It’s sometimes a fine line between laughing at a movie, and laughing along with it. Instead of ridiculing Bad Boys II, director Edgar Wright was inspired by its “huge fucking destruction” and made the comedy Hot Fuzz as a loving homage to this. The action is bananas, but the script is sharper and more charming than it had to be. Lawrence and Smith have terrific chemistry, while Bay is here doing what Bay does best.

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Conclusion: Que milagro! She may not have had a trailer, but God was definitely present during filming, the first film of Bay’s career I can recommend.

“This is a film package wrapped for the hyperactive, sexually starved male teenager who thinks that simplistic, meaningless violence and language are the coolest things to hit the earth since porno and Hot Pockets,” says Jacob Hall at Independent Critics.

Mr. Beaks at Ain’t It Cool News says, “I’ve been very tough on Bay in the past (I think I’ve called him every euphemism for Satan that exists in the English language), but, for the first time since Bad Boys, I find myself appreciative of his respect for audiences.”

“Bay can direct action sequences like no other and thankfully he was not hampered the way he was in … Pearl Harbor. This time he gets to use blood all he wants and now he doesn’t have to worry about any messy melodramatic love scenes,” writes Mike at The Film Judge.

“Oh these dudes is off the chain!” View the demolition derby on the causeway.

Tags: Gangsters and hoodlums · Sequel · Shootout

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 fuke u // Mar 27, 2008 at 2:20 am

    i love this mivue

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