ninth symphony films - movie reviews

BAD BOYS II (2003)

DIRECTOR  -  michael bay

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  action

LENGTH  -  146 minutes

RELEASED  -  18 july 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  sony pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  bad boys 2

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $75,000,000
bad boys 2 - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from bad boys 2 at

buy the dvd from bad boys 2 at

narcotics cops mike lowrey and marcus bennett head up a task force investigating the flow of ecstasy into miami.

scenes from the movie were filmed at the "bird" house in delray beach, florida. the mansion stood nearly completed and vacant for years before it was purchased. the new owner advertised in "daily variety" for a movie company to use the mansion in a movie and blow it up.


picture from bad boys 2

picture from bad boys 2

picture from bad boys 2


two out of four possible stars

With only a hand-full of movies under his belt, bombastic director, Michael Bay, has created a genre of filmmaking completely unique in the world of action movies. Launching his career eight years ago, the original Bad Boys made the careers of stars Martin Lawrence and Will Smith and did a respectable amount of business at the box office. The sequel to that film is the result of a Michael Bay unhinged and unrestrained as all thoughts of respecting the budget and creating a sense of reality are thrown out the window in favor of a very violent and graphic buddy film whose creators should feel thankful for the comedic abilities of Lawrence and Smith.

As some of the sequences in this film stretch credibility miles past its breaking point, losing one's self in the drama of the moment is not always an easy task. But given that Lawrence and Smith keep the jokes in the forefront of the picture, the more graphic sequences seem easier to digest. But one still needs an iron stomach to make it through the film without wincing or feeling queasy over the actions of the characters and the more than strange situations in which they find themselves. Those situations include such delightful garden spots as a morgue, filled with a multitude of bodies all graphically displayed in various states (some having been embalmed, some still fresh and juicy).

But on lighter topics that are much less offending to the nose, one of the car chases (there are several in the film...) is definitely one of the most high-octane sequences in any film this summer. Though it can't top the now infamous chase scenes in this summer's Terminator 3 and The Matrix Reloaded, the sequence probably equals the energy of those films. Taking the ridiculous step of having the "bad guys" hijack a tractor trailer full of cars, the chase is quite a long one with the baddies dumping car after car onto a bridge (a bridge!) in an attempt to thwart the pursuit of Smith and Lawrence's cop characters, who follow, driving a Ferrari (a Ferrari!).

But though the level of action in this film constantly pushes past the comfort barrier, the plot is not one of the more creative aspects. Featuring a slightly effeminate drug lord character (played by Spaniard, Jordi Mollà), the plot deals with the illegal smuggling of ecstasy into Miami. Although ecstasy is a big business in the underground drug world, the subject just doesn't seem as dangerous as cocaine smuggling or gun running. Though those two latter subjects have been dealt with in countless films, the screenwriters failed to create a world as dangerous as it should have been, given the amount of explosions, guns, and decapitations featured over the movie's bloated 150 minutes.

Ecstasy might be a big money business, but it just doesn't hold the same cache as hard drugs. Whether that cache is a myth that has been created solely by other films, the danger of ecstasy just doesn't cut it. And it's used in such a glorified manner that it's easy to make a bad guy out of Jerry Bruckheimer (the producer) and Bay for making a drug seem like such a party. A scene involving a man who overdoses on the drug during a rave-like party at a club seems like an event thrown in at the last minute by the production to teach viewers of the dangers of the drug.

Bad Boys II just might own the distinction of being the least believable action film to have ever been created. The action sequences go much further than just stretching the imagination. Just how many times can a vehicle roll dough-nuts down a crowded bridge? How long can a machine gun be fired into a crowded area without a civilian finding the business end of a bullet? And just how many times can Michael Bay employ his now-famous sliding, panning, constantly moving camera techniques. It doesn't seem to matter what cinematographer he employs, there are always two specific camera moves he uses in every film.

The first is a sweeping "hero" sweep (always accompanied by a pregnant swell of the soundtrack score) that tracks the slow-motion movement of the main characters walking into some kind of certain doom. (think the "Right Stuff" shot in Armageddon or one of the many "all is lost" shots in The Rock) The second move is a shot (or series of shots) that easily has the power to make the viewer toss his or her cookies. Or popcorn, as it were. Whenever a couple of characters are discussing something really "deep," the camera suddenly becomes a tornado and circles the characters at a fantastic rate. It's such an obvious move that whatever the characters are uttering becomes so unimportant because of the swirling motions of the camera. It happens in every Michael Bay film.

And it's hard to decide whether these two signature moves illustrate some sort of creativity on Bay's part, given that they so readily identify a Bay film, or whether those moves are just the rehashing of identical cinematography that Bay refuses to update for any of his new ventures. The best words to describe this film would be overblown and swollen. It seems that Michael Bay and his crew have finally reached that mythical threshold where the action becomes too unbelievable and the audience is catapulted out of their suspension of disbelief. To put it bluntly, it's all too obvious that you're watching a film when you're watching this particular film.

It's impossible to just sit back and enjoy the film, because you're always aware that it is a film. And that makes its 150 minutes seem a little long. At the longest, this film should have been about 110 minutes, but it goes on for a good half hour too long. Fans of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith will be pleased that their hilarious camaraderie is still intact after the eight years that have elapsed since the first film was produced. But that fact won't stop most audience members from engaging in a little bit of ass wiggle by the time the whole thing is over.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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