Whatchya gonna do?
It’s been eight years since director Michael Bay delivered Bad Boys, and a new, destructive power was unleashed on Hollywood. Bay introduced his style of corrosive, satanically horrible moviemaking: a lethal combination of frantic, quick-cut editing and schmaltzy slow motion sequences that enraged critics but scored big box office returns. Bay’s film roster festers with the likes of The Rock, Armageddon and the atrocious Pearl Harbor, in which he managed to instill one of the most infamous days in American history with all the emotional depth and substance of a Volvo commercial.
Bad Boys II, which re-teams Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as Miami cops with a penchant for wisecracks and blowing people up, is Bay’s submission in this endless summer of sequels. It actually qualifies as his best film to date. In many ways, it’s still terrible, but endearingly so. Intentional or not, the film plays like a sick satire of Bay’s own sloppy, politically incorrect moviemaking, a sort of slap in his own face. It’s so over-the-top that it’s a trip.
The film is stuffed to the brim with a sometimes-hilarious helping of visual trash and obscenity. For those who like their action movies with brazen attitude and hard R-ratings, the film is twisted fun. Smith and Lawrence are obviously having a blast and have never been this funny, making those moments where Bay gets carried away more tolerable, even welcomed. Lawrence, who has a propensity for showing up in worthless films and mugging his ass off, does some excellent whining as a cop ready to call it quits. Smith counters with consistently funny deadpan. Both play off each other nicely.
When a ridiculously stereotypical Cuban drug lord (Jordi Molla looking like a cross between Andy Garcia and Tom Cruise in Magnolia) starts a war with the Russian mafia, Smith and Lawrence are called upon to quell the uprising and destroy all of Miami in the process. Bay goes crazy here, delivering car chases that feature the pursued dumping new automobiles, boats and even rotting corpses on their pursuers. The mayhem gives new meaning to the word overload, with the carnage lasting nearly 150 minutes.
The film’s best moments include an early sight gag where Bay tracks a bullet from the barrel of Smith’s gun through one of Lawrence’s butt cheeks. Another takes place in the drug lord’s basement, where rats have taken to eating his hoarded cash. This presents the opportunity for a graphic depiction of rodents humping. If this doesn’t generate an ounce of laughter on your part, you probably want to stay far away from this film.
Bay throws everything that’s wrong with the world into Bad Boys II, and the effect is often that of blissful debauchery. He still can’t seem to let a single shot last for more than seven seconds. Just for kicks, go ahead and play the Michael Bay Tamale Game while watching Bad Boys II. Buy yourself a box of Hot Tamales and for every shot that lasts more than seven seconds, eat a piece of candy. By movie’s end, you’ll have plenty of candy left for you and your family to enjoy. You can have yourselves a Tamale party!
Watching a Bay film can fill one with the compulsion to plunge a large syringe of Nyquil and Scotch into the screen with hopes of slowing things down. While Bay is still a scourge on the moviemaking world, this sick-in-the-head but undeniably fun film shows that he’s capable of at least minimal good.