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Bad Boys II

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence
Director: Michael Bay
Genre: Action
Year: 2003
Rating: 3 / 5

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna go? Apparently, if opening weekend grosses are any indication, what they’re gonna do is make another sequel. Bad Boys, when initially released in 1995, did not ring up huge dollar figures, but it did pleasantly surprise, and it helped to launch two television stars into the big time. Eight years later, stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have reunited with director Michael Bay on Bad Boys II, an inferior, if still entertaining, sequel to the original gem. The action is more explosive (if not slightly excessive), the laughs are louder (although fewer in number), and the camaraderie is still there (albeit a bit forced at times), but Bad Boys II has trouble living up to its predecessor’s carefree ways.

Mike Lowery (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) might not be “too old for this shit” just yet, but family man Marcus is definitely having some doubts. Hot on the trail of a drug lord importing copious amounts of Ecstasy into the country, Mike and Marcus are having a little tussle of their own. Mike does not know how to tell Marcus that he’s been dating his partner’s younger sister Sydney (Gabrielle Union), while Marcus does not know how to tell Mike that he is thinking of requesting a new partner. While this bickering carries on, the two must track down a money-laundering outfit, sift through dead bodies, and battle the Cuban military. Oh, and they need to make time to squeeze in some witty one-liners as well.

Bad Boys II has been criticized in the media for running overly long, for being extremely violent and gory, and for lacking an intelligible plot, and I must admit that all of these complaints have merit. At two and a half hours, Bad Boys II is at least 30-40 minutes longer than it needs to be. A reduction in the screen time devoted to the pointless conflict between the two detectives, to say nothing of a senseless Russian middleman (Peter Stormare), would go a long way towards cutting this down to size. The over-the-top violence comes in the form of the usual assortment of explosions, numerous gunshots to the head, and corpses being tossed about – and ultimately run over – on the streets of Miami. This helps to contribute to the hectic plot, made all the more incoherent by the fact that it plays like one endless string of action scenes.

Director Michael Bay made his name helming the first Bad Boys film, and he seems intent to thank all of his fans with an explosive follow-up. He and producer Jerry Bruckheimer (minus the late Don Simpson) have made magic together over the years, but this effort appears to fall flat. When it’s on, Bad Boys II is just as entertaining as the original, but these scenes are balanced out by serious chunks of dead space, unnecessary dramatic tension, and overblown sequences. The supporting players seem less inspired this time as well, as Joe Pantoliano’s act seems tiresome here instead of humorously crazed. Gabrielle Union, while adding some much-needed spice, lacks the spunky charisma Tea Leoni provided in the original. While Bad Boys II will be remembered as another enjoyable summer offering, I cannot help thinking that eight years of waiting could have yielded something better.

Cast:

Martin Lawrence..........Marcus Burnett
Will Smith..........Mike Lowrey
Gabrielle Union..........Sydney Burnett
Joe Pantoliano..........Captain Howard

Certification: Rated R for violence and language.
Running Time: 150 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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