Bad Boys II
2 out of 5 stars
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Those showboating Miami cops are back with an action sequel so big and loud that it almost feels like a spoof. Sure, it's enjoyable in a nonsensical summer-movie sort of way, but honestly! Marcus and Mike (Lawrence and Smith) are working with a high-tech drug-hunting unit trying to catch top drug boss Johnny Tapia (Molla). But Tapia is not only moving vast quantities of ecstasy and cash, he's also taking on the Russian mafia head-on. Meanwhile, Marcus' sister Syd (Union) is in town for a visit ... but she's actually on an undercover DEA investigation into Tapia's operations. Soon much of Miami (and Cuba as well) lie in waste as Marcus and Mike never do anything without leaving piles of smashed cars, bullet-riddled bodies and, of course, massive explosions in their wake.

Yes, this is another Jerry Bruckheimer/Michael Bay concoction (see also The Rock, Con Air, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor, not to mention the first Bad Boys), so we're talking about films that emphasize spectacle over any concerns of plot or character. Not only is this film no exception to that rule, but it's also the most empty-headed movie they've ever made. There's basically nothing to it at all, which is kind of clever since the film is two-and-a-half hours long (it feels like five episodes of a TV series). The story is contrived and ridiculous, the characters complete stereotypes, the dialog packed with comedy that, while often funny, feels manufactured to be as offensive as possible (recurring "comic" themes include necrophilia and homophobia). That said, Smith is very good, Lawrence is more bearable than usual, and the superb Union gets a decent action-girl character until the lame Hollywood plot kicks in and forces her to be a helpless victim. This is a huge film with one astonishing action sequence after another, vehicular destruction on a massive scale and a lot of extremely grisly death and dismemberment, all in Bay's increasingly showy directorial style augmented with a lot of digital trickery. As far as big, loud movies go, it's quite watchable really. But not very enjoyable.

cert 15 themes, strong violence, language, drugs 6.Aug.03

dir Michael Bay
scr Ron Shelton, Jerry Stahl
with Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Gabrielle Union, Jordi Molla, Joe Pantoliano, Peter Stormare, Theresa Randle, Michael Shannon, Jon Seda, Yul Vazquez, Jason Manuel Olazabal, Henry Rollins
release US 18.Jul.03; UK 2.Oct.03
03/US 2h26

Bad boys for life: Lawrence and Smith.

union pantoliano molla
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2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall