Bad Boys II

Bad Boys II

USA, 2003. Rated PG-13. 150 minutes.

Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Gabrielle Union, Joe Pantoliano, Jordi Mollà, Peter Stormare, Theresa Randle, Jon Seda, Henry Rollins
Writers: Ron Shelton, Jerry Stahl
Music: Trevor Rabin
Cinematography: Amir M. Mokri
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
Director: Micheal Bay


Grade: D- Review by Frances Nicole Rogers

There are a lot of things you could do in two hours and thirty minutes. You could read a book, or you could write a book. You could buy clothing or you could sew it. You could watch TV. You could eat lunch. You could take a nap. Or you could sit on your butt and do absolutely nothing for two hours and thirty minutes, and this, though a practice condemned by wise doctors, is more productive than spending that two hours and thirty minutes watching Bad Boys II.

Bad Boys II is, quite simply, one of the worst films of the year, a testament to how the art of the sequel, if ever there existed such an art, has gone to the dogs. It's a rare sequel now that raises the bar while still pushing the story along. Lawrence and SmithThere have been few sequels that have done this, and none of them called Bad Boys II.

The thin plot of Bad Boys II deals with the Miami narcotics team trying to intercept a massive shipment of the drug ecstasy, with a throwaway subplot dealing with family and love. The rest of the film is stuffed with excessive action scenes that are rehashes of lauded sequences already seen this summer, or just so tasteless (as was the case of our heroes driving an SUV through the homes of Cuban peasants) that it's impossible to believe that these scenes were meant to be entertaining.

If you were to ask "What did you expect?" I would answer you that—entertaining. Nobody goes into a summer action movie expecting great art; they go in expecting to be entertained. Explosions, car chases, and shoot-outs can be entertaining, but none of these devices are entertaining just because they exist, or just because they are excessive. The simplest of car chases can be more exciting than a freeway chase involving multiple parties and acrobatic cars, and shoot-outs don't always need to be augmented by slow-mo shots and gore that makes Martin Scorsese's films look G-rated. But Bad Boys II apparently needs all of these things to be "butt kicking." As if the audience really was simple enough to accept that explosions, shoot-outs and car chases are entertaining on account of being explosions, shoot-outs, and car chases.

Nobody goes into a summer action movie expecting an Academy Award caliber script; but it's no crime to have the plot make sense. There is no sense in a man crying about how poor he is when he lives in a beautiful waterside house. There is no sense in criticizing people who want to control their anger if the better alternative is to be an irrational, homicidal narcissist. And there is no sense in having the entire Miami narcotics team, along with a bunch of men from the CIA and an underground Cuban gang, get together because some guy wants his sister back, when it's already been said that the United States won't negotiate with hostage takers and the result of the rescue mission is the demolition of every building that gets in the way.

Above all, there is no sense, no entertainment value to be had in a thin action movie that stretches itself out for two hours and thirty minutes with nothing to keep it going but excess. Action epics are the in thing now; is it too much to ask that there be more to this trend than bigger, louder, dumber?

Review © July 2003 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
Images © 2003 Columbia Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

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