Instead of doing my normal thing, I thought I’d summarize this film from the perspective of an actual Michael Bay fan. So I went and kidnapped one: Mr. Daniel Ichluguer. After a few days of torturous medical experimentation by my Mad Scientist alter-ego (some of us had one back in ’99, before it was cool) I think I’ve finally got him to the point where he’ll do pretty much whatever I want, so long as I use his control phrase. So, Daniel…would you kindly summarize the film for my reading audience?
Dude! So there’s like, this guy, right? And he’s all like, tryin’ to be all that in the Miami drug scene, know what I mean, playah? He’s like, smuggling ecstasy outta Amsterdam (cuz that’s where drugs come from) in like, coffins and shit, cuz he own this funeral home as a front, right? Like those queers on Six Feet Under. But it ain’t like, a gay thing: it’s a man thing. Martin Lawrence even says so.
But before that, this guy, right – this drug dealer – he named Johnny Tapas. But we don’t learn that for like, an hour or some shit. First the movie’s all like, here’s Will Smith. And he got two guns, like in that one movie I saw with all them Asian dudes. But better, cuz there ain’t no subtitles. And then the movie’s all like, here’s Martin Lawrence, and he over-acting and wil’in’ out and be all Martin Lawrence – “Oh my God!” – right? And it’s all like, “Yeah! Bad Boys II, motherfucker!”
So Martin Lawrence’s sister is all like, hot and shit. And she’s like, undercover DEA or somethin’, frontin’ like she down, tryin’ to be a money launderer. She and Martin Lawrence and Will Smith are all like, after the same guy, but they don’t know that at first. First they get into like, a car chase with some Haitians, and its all cool and shit. Cuz the Haitians are all like, throwin’ cars into traffic, making cop cars flip over and explode. And it’s all like Matrix Reloaded, which Doc Psy says came out like, two months before this did. But it’s better cuz there’s no gay Kung Fu. Or Keanu Reeves.
Instead it’s all like, car chases and gun fights and Will Smith bein’ all smooth and shit. And Martin Lawrence over-acting cuz he like, got his ass shot in the first gunfight, so he’s literally butt-hurt over all the bullshit he gotta put up with from Will Smith this time around. Cuz Will Smith be all like, shootin’ people before they can ask them questions, and drivin’ all crazy all over the damn place. And datin’ Martin Lawrence sister. It’s enough to fuck with your brain, you know?
So Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, they all like, kill this house full of Haitians, cuz they shot at Martin Lawrence sister. And Will Smith be all like, “Oh, you did not just shoot at his sister who I’m tryin’ to fuck!” And there’s this one part, where the camera like, spins around Will Smith as he’s holdin these two guns. tryin to cover these two doors at once, cuz the bad guys are behind the doors, right? So the camera spins around Will Smith, through one hole in one door, out another hole in the other door, and back around Will Smith. Like four times! Cuz it was too awesome not to do more than once. Even if it did kinda remind me of how, when I was a kid, my dad used to pick me up and spin me around and around and around until I puked all over his head. Yeah. Never touched me much after that…
So all that gunfighting and car chasing’s most of the movie. Will Smith be killin’ motherfuckers. Click-click-boom! That’s right! Just like real life justice. And there’s all this funny shit where Martin Lawrence can’t get it up cuz he got shot in the ass. Then about an hour and half in he winds up takin’ some a’ the X and boom, problem solved! There’s also some bullshit about Martin not wantin’ to be Will’s partner anymore, transferrin’ out or some shit, but the movie pretty much forgets about that so it can have more gunfights and car chases. It don’t even mention that part ‘til after the end credits start rollin’, so that tells ya how important all that is.
So back up a second, son. That first gunfight was with these KKK dudes and Martin Lawrence and Will Smith whupped they asses, a’ course. So they spring this one KKK guy outta jail, cuz he knows when Johnny Drug Dealer picks up his shit in them coffins, right? Then he ships the money back out to Cuba underneath some dead people, cuz he Cubano. (Like my man, El Hector! Where you at, homes?) So Johnny figures Martin Lawerence’s sister is a cop and kidnaps her, just as Martin Lawrence and Will Smith be raidin’ Johnny’s house.
I was all confused and shit for a second, wonderin’ how they was gonna get to Cuba and get Martin Lawrence’s sister back, since they basically ain’t got no friends. Cuz they be shootin’ motherfuckers left and right! Cuz it’s badass! And Captain Cypher always be yellin’ at em, even though he tryin’ to be all Enlightened and Buddhist and shit. Since Martin Lawrence and Will Smith can’t even keep a dude alive long enough to ask him shit, I figured they’d have to go kill somebody and steal his plane, like my man, Coleman Francis, did back in Red Zone Cuba. Where you at, G? Oh, right…you dead. My bad.
Then Dr. Chosis reminded me that this was all like, a post-9/11 movie, or some shit. And then he reminded me how like, after 9/11, movies always tacked on some bullshit scene where people get together and bond over somethin’. Like in Spider-Man, all the New Yorkers be all like, “You mess wit’ one of us, you mess wit’ all of us.” Or like in Daredevil , where Captain Cypher played some reporter dude named Ben Urich (the Doc says he was big in the comics, but whatever – comics are gay) who tips Ben Affleck off about somethin’ instead a’ rattin him out. (Doc says that’s why Affleck says “This is a city made of heroes” at the end. I always thought he just said that for no reason. Or cuz Spider-Man be yackin’ over the end a’ his movies, too.)
Here, everybody gets together and bonds over bein’ crazy cops who love to blow shit up. So they go on and invade Cuba. They could teach my man Francis a thing or three. Motherfucker Kennedy couldn’t do half the job Will Smith and Martin Lawrence do here, and they only got like, one CIA guy on they team. They get Martin Lawrence’s sister back, kill a bunch of dudes, steal a yellow Humvee, and blow up Johnny’s house. Then they have another car chase, but it’s awesome, cuz they like, roll through this shanty town full a poor people. And there’s all these chemicals and drug shit all around, so the Humvee be rollin’ through people’s houses and they be blowin’ up like – BOOM – and it’s awesome, man. Killin’ poor people always gets me hard.
So they get chased all the way to Guantanamo Bay and I’m like, Huh. Isn’t that where we got all those terrorists locked up? Man, they gonna throw Johnny in there and put him at the bottom of a nude pyramid with all them Number 3 Guys in Al Qaeda? They gonna rape him on a regular basis and make him sleep in his own shit? Blast Christina Gagulara in his cell twenty-three hours a day? Cuz that would be cool. Torturin’ bad guys gets me pretty hard, too.
Too bad Martin Lawrence just shoots Johnny in the head and he lands on some of them landmines they got outside Guantanamo. Boom! Yeah, that’s right. Then the movie’s over. So it only gets me, like, half-hard. But that’s more than the first one did! That had all that Tea Leone shit in it, and all that bullshit with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence tradin’ lives, which was stupid. This one’s better, cuz it ain’t nothin’ but car chases and explosions. Except in the middle. But even then, it’s all like, Will Smith bein a badass, and Martin Lawrence bein’ all butt-hurt, and everybody thinkin’ their gay. Funny fuckin’ shit. Then there’s this bit where they pretend to be exterminators to try and get up in Johnny’s house and Martin Lawrence comes across these two rats humpin’. “They fuck just like us!” Fuckin’ hilarious.
Then there’s this bit where some fifteen year-old punk comes by to ask Martin Lawrence’s daughter out on a date. Martin Lawrence gives him the third degree, bein’ all like, “No sex tonight!” And Will Smith come by pretendin’ to be this drunk ex-convict, waving a gun in the boy’s face, makin’ him piss himself. Then he ask the kid, “You ever made love to a man?” The kid’s like, “No, sir, Mr. Crazy man with a gun in one hand and a bottle of Jack in the other.” Then Will Smith’s all like, “You want to?” And it’s funny cuz, like, people get raped in prison. That’s funny, right?
And then there’s this bit where Martin Lawrence and Will Smith like, sneak into Johnny’s funeral home ninja style, searchin’ for evidence or some shit. And Will Smith sticks his whole hand into a dead body, tryin’ to find drugs, man! Then they gotta hide, so Martin Lawrence gets up on a gurney, right? And there’s this dead chick already there! And she got, like, these great big titties, right? And Martin Lawrence be all short and shit, so he got them titties right up in his face the whole time he tryin’ to hide! They so big, when the Fisher Brothers start wheeling the gurney away, them dead titties be all gigglin’ and Martin Lawrence’s face be all up in that, like he about to do a motorboat. And there’s this one bit, where Martin Lawrence and Will Smith are in this pool in Martin Lawrence’s back yard. Then the pool falls apart and the two guys get washed out to sea, cuz Martin Lawrence’s house be right on the waterfront in this flick…even though it was in this like, boring, normal neighborhood in the last movie…which is kinda weird. None a’ the cops I know live anywhere but shitty apartments full of old newspaper and empty bottles.
But whatever. It’s a movie. And the best movie fuckin’ ever. No joke, playah.
Thank you, Daniel. Now, would you kindly shove this hypo into your arm?
Excellent. Some closing remarks:
The first Bad Boys was a desperate, Hail Mary pass from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, rescuing his career even as it kicked off the careers of Smith and Bay. This second Bad Boys isn’t a film so much as an industrial byproduct – run off from all Bay’s previous films, and the entire Buddy Cop sub-genre. At least the first Bad Boys tried to have a plot. Hell, it even had a premise, with its dual protagonists trading lives for the sake of Komedy and Witness Coddling. This one doesn’t even try.
The way Bad Boys II handles the subplot of Martin’s departure – which should, by all rights, be the main plot, but again, this film doesn’t have one – is the best example of diminishing returns since the Highlander turned out to be an alien from the Planet Zeist. Marcus Burnett (Lawrence’s character) mentions transferring away from Mike Lowrey (Smith) to his wife after less than thirty minutes. We have to wade through an hour and a half of car chases, shootouts, and witness brutalizing before Marcus works up the courage to tell Mike about it. I honestly forgot about the plot thread myself. Flying cadavers will do that to you.
That’s the missing piece of the puzzle: interior conflict. No dime-a-dozen drug dealer’s ever going to threaten Our Heroes relationship half as much as their own petty bickering. There’s plenty of that, don’t get me wrong. But rather than debate the plot, as before, Our Heroes discuss erectile dysfunction.
If Mike were, say, actively dating Marcus’ sister while they investigated Johnny’s operation…but that might provide a “quiet” moment, and Bay ODed on those in the first hour and a half of Pearl Harbor two years prior. As rushed and ill-paced as Bad Boys I was, it looks positively laconic next to this “non-stop action thrill ride.”
The promotional materials really do mean that. Like a raver high on life, Bad Boys II can’t stop dancing. It feels too good, and everyone involved was obviously having fun. Sure wish I could have fun with your chaotic lump that walks like a film.
Like any good toxic waste dump, you can see recognizable chunks of what this garbage might have been poking out of the mass. Four people wrote this script, which fits, since this feels like four movies in one. It’s a Frankenstein monster, as conceived by Todd McFarland (i.e., shitty-looking), and I’m proud to say it’s a new Low in my personal metric system.
Oddly enough, there are a few bits and pieces of this film that are interesting. The amount of dead flesh, for one thing. And the amount of viscera. After two PG-13 bullshit fests in a row, Bay let his love of sticky things shine through here, not even trying for anything other than a hard-R. No wonder he started remaking old horror movies under his side-label, Platinum Dunes. And even though it gives them something else to argue about, I actually had some fun with what Mike calls Marcus’ whole “spiritual enlightenment and all that shit.” If nothing else, it leads to a deft psychoanalytic portrait of Detective Mike Lowrey, which could easily serve as a portrait of all Michael Bay Identification Characters in general.
Marcus: It’s your untreated control issues. It’s not your fault…Your momma probably refused you her titty when you were a baby, so you grew up a malnourished high school softy. Got you a gun, your little tight T-shirt, and became an over-compensating tough guy.”
Mike: “…That is the last time you will ever refer to my mother’s titties.”
Marcus: “You know…I said all that, Mike…and all you heard was ‘titties.'”
So this journey through Bayhem has not been in vain since I, for one, have learned a valuable lesson: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was not an isolated incident. Bay can blame whatever he wants for its aesthetic failures (which were so obvious even he noticed) – Bad Boys II is the proof Bay has no idea how to direct a sequel. There’s no continuing story here, no progression, no growth of either main character. It’s just a lot of disconnected set pieces strung together by a Generic Gangster Plot that only comes alive in the last half hour, and even then, only through a ham-handed metaphor for Bush Administration “justice.” Bay may have had at least some idea of how to direct a film back in 1995 but the events of the New Willennium obviously drove him underwear-on-the-head insane.
After this there was no turning back, and no hope at all for any subject Bay happened to turn his hand to. By creating Bad Boys II, a film so bad it had me howling with laughter in all the wrong places, Bay secured his position as a modern master of the moronic. For a time, it seemed his star was waning. Sure, this movie made money, but not Armageddon money, you know? There’s a reason Bay waited six years to produce another sequel, and why he once again abandoned his first love (the Action movie) to shack up with that strumpet Sci-Fi genre.