Bad Boys II

2003, Movie, R, 143 mins


Longer, louder, stupider and more vulgar than 1995's BAD BOYS, this eight-years-in-the-making sequel ostensibly reunites mismatched, street-savvy Florida cops Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) so they can bust another drug dealer. But Ron Shelton and Jerry Stahl's script barely squeezes the odd bit of police work between Smith and Lawrence's smart-aleck buddy banter and "we bad" posturing. When not screeching heedlessly down crowded city streets and freeways, endangering motorists and pedestrians, the self-satisfied duo mouth off to the brass (notably boss Joe Pantoliano, returning from the first film), make posterior jokes and scare white people by waving guns and acting all crazy. Their putative quarry is Cuban drug lord Johnny Tapia (Jordi Molla), who wants to muscle in on the nightclub business so he can sell ecstasy directly to blissed-out ravers and cut out middlemen like Russian mafioso Alexei (Peter Stormare). Tapia's Achilles heel is that he's having trouble moving his dirty money out of the country; unbeknownst to Marcus, his New York-based baby sister, Syd (Gabrielle Union), is the DEA's point person in a plot to use the cash to trap Tapia. Also unbeknownst to Marcus, Syd's family visit is actually a cover for her dangerous new undercover assignment, posing as a sophisticated New York money launderer. And also unbeknownst to Marcus, Mike and Syd hooked up when Mike was in New York a few months back. So Marcus and Mike have plenty to bicker about, above and beyond their usual petty beefs (Mike drives recklessly, Marcus is a wimp, Mike's a hound dog, Marcus is whipped and so on). There's at least one ending too many, Union regularly vanishes for long stretches of the movie, and director Michael Bay's unmitigated pandering to viewers who whoop with glee whenever someone gets it between the eyes is genuinely distasteful. The film clocks in at a whopping 146 minutes and has the feel of a lesser Rat Pack movie, one in which the on-set tomfoolery took precedence over such trivialities as story and characterization — the sort of things ticket buyers might enjoy. It is, however, probably safe to say that Frank Sinatra wouldn't have endorsed an action sequence in which gutted human corpses are squashed under car wheels and bounced off pavements in the name of irreverent black comedy. Such hijinks might be wickedly nasty if they were funny, but since they're not they're just plain nasty. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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