JEFF OF THE CINEFILES & UNFINISHED BUSINESS: HALL OF FAME: FILE #0063: BAD BOYS 2 (2003)

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Directed By: Michael Bay
Written By: Ron Shelton & Jerry Stahl
Story By: Ron Shelton, Cormac Wibberley & Marianne Wibberley
Based on characters created by: George Gallo
Cinematography: Amir Mokri
Editor: Roger Barton, Mark Goldblatt & Thomas A. Muldoon 

Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Gabrielle Union, Jordi Molla, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Shannon, Theresa Randle, Henry Rollins, Jon Seda, Peter Stormare, Yul Vasquez, Otto Sanchez, John Salley, Oleg Taktarov 

Narcotics cops Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett head up a task force investigating the flow of ecstasy into Miami. Their search leads to a dangerous kingpin Johnny Tapia, whose plan to control the city’s drug traffic has touched off an underground war. Meanwhile, things get sexy between Mike and Syd, Marcus’s sister.

This is More like a Michael Bay essay using this film as a particular example.

While watching this film more recently I realized just how much more preposterous the film is. What department do they work in that they have so much resources at the ready and yet destroy the city left and right yet are barely held responsible for it. Though that might be half the fun in this cinematic universe. Recalling the destruction of 1980’s action films where they seemed to have a renaissance and gain more of a definition.

It’s bad enough they change the main characters history ever so slightly. That now they have been friends since high school. Where as in the first film they were just partners and in this film Martin Lawrence’s character has moved into a much bigger and more expensive looking house. That seems a bit too luxurious.

Not to mention there was barely any sex in the first film though plenty of hints of skin. In this one there are two albeit brief but unnecessary sex scenes. One is for skin and for the sake of comedy in illustrating Will Smith’s characters charm and style with the ladies. They both still feel out of place and exploitive, but I guess add to the over the top nature of the film.

This film truly lives up to the saying everything has to be bigger in the sequel. Though not necessarily better. Though this is a more fun film then the original as it really exists in no known reality.

This film is pure ID. it is also one of the films that proves maybe it’s better to wait for a sequel rather than ramping it up immediately after the original is a hit. Work on a story where the characters relationship actually evolves. Rather than bleeding the stone for a story that is just a retread of the first film.

Maybe because of the weak initial script written or maybe rewritten by screenwriting heavy weights Ron Shelton and Jerry Stahl especially with the budget for this film dwarfing the first films 19 million to 130 million on this one. You have more ideas and toys at your disposal. Though this film is overblown and confusing with a labyrinth of villains that build onto each other as you get to the top.

Michael Bay is more of a film technician as this film keeps building and building in amazing ways not so much in story or script more in the way of action sequences and stunts that are state of the art and quite impressive and technical though rather large for a film that should be relatively simple and small scale. He seems more interested in creating memorable visuals and moments more than story and characters dealing with each other emotionally. That might make the film more grounded and natural.

Though during all of this we have time for comedic set-ups. Though they decide to go with the over the top production. some of the comedic scenes attempt to go in a gross slapstick direction that are part of set pieces, but again feel overly staged and like they don’t fit.

For Martin Lawrence this is kind of a comeback reminding the audience of how funny he can be especially when not censored and making more family oriented films. It’s like him and Eddie Murphy went from being rattlesnakes dangerous and rapid to Garner snake harmless, but still quick not as much lunging at a subject. In family films they are funny but so defanged. In R rated more adult films they are sharp. So in this film it’s great to see Martin Lawrence in top from again. He really takes the lead in the comedic scenes. Which I will admit at times stick out awkwardly and don’t fit, but are still hilarious.

When it comes to Michael bay as much as I don’t usually like his work and the type of cinema it has introduced to a degree. He knows how to handle big action sequences and that is usually why his films are over 2 hours long. His action sequences tend to just be overblown and obsessive or him to a degree he seems more invested in them then the story or characters. Probably as he realizes they are rather thin in his films. I believe he seems to think that the story is there just to tie together his action sequences. The film is her the top when it comes to everything including bay’s usual testosterone, machismo and misogyny.

Usually Michael Bay ruins some truly exceptional action sequences with too much editing and a love of misdirected sitcom level humor. Scenes like the cadavers flying out of the truck. The aftermath of the shootout, the tech store breakdown, the accidently getting high, the morgue. He knows how to make things look good, but he doesn’t seen to have too much of a deep artistic bone in his body. Often leaving his films full of fake sentiment and feeling hollow. He makes hammy acting, passable.

Though if he was an 80’s director of action films he would have for right in and even been a ground breaker. Definitely a studio favorite and have a cult following around him. He seems like a director who would be perfect for Canon studios. He is technically proficient and I must say I prefer him to the many knockoffs out there who try to copy his style. Usually I prefer an original to a copy any day like most. The copies still have a chance to make something of themselves. Make themselves relevant. At least he is lost in his own delusions. Either way his name is known and any publicity for him especially as a director good or bad is still publicity.

One trick Bay definitely steals from Spielberg is emotional manipulation. He heightens emotions in screen usually in the middle of an attack. Then puts a over empowering score to go with the scene to make it more emotional then it needs to be. To get some sort of reaction out of the audience. To try and make the scene not only memorable, but stay with you longer than it’s supposed to or normally would. I don’t like manipulation especially if it’s for an inferior product. Plus if you are truly a skilled director you can make emotions happen naturally and not synthetically. Which is why when I watched PEARL HARBOR in the theater. I’m thinking this movie sucks. While years are coming out no my eyes as the ship is bombed and slowly sinks. This film is more his type and skill. Pure out and out action.

Gabrielle Union has never looked as luscious though nor had as much to do when it comes to action and coming close to being downright dangerous. Showing she can handle herself. Though still ends up becoming the damsel in distress.

The film is an action fan’s fantasy film. Pretty much action porn to a degree. Here is a reason the characters in the film HOT FUZZ love the film and that film even used it as an inspiration. This film shouldn’t work, but it does and had me completely under it’s spell. I seem to be one Of the few, but i have no problem with standing out even my few friends who love action films, thought this was too much. I love it more then I should. I often cite this is the film SHOOT EM’ UP should have been. The same attitude. The same amount of violence. The same mindless sensibility.

I hate to admit it, but I have to give it up to Michael bay here. He is an auteur. He has a clear visual style that when you see a film you can identify it as one if his films. He has a talent for making adrenalized visuals that truly do excite as you view them. He seems To work off of purely offering an over abundance of parts of the films that aren’t necessarily important but making them seem like they are. He revels In Guilty pleasure moments. Unfortunately he is more of a pop artist in the conceptual art world. Most want meaning behind their art. Not him, he’s good enough with it. Just looking good. Like a hot yet shallow woman. Good for some company in short bursts, yet the more time you spend with them the more vapid you realize they are and you quickly become bored. Where as the cute girl who actually has thoughts and a mind, might not be as hot, but is someone you can spend time with and the more you get to know. The more you fall for it. No Michael bay film is like that.

The editing is erratic and you never quite get to Experience the majesty of the action sequences at times.

I will admit this movies time is all over the place and it is not quite politically correct as it is very misogynistic more of at the time of the 1980’s

The plot is incoherent and goes many places that are not needed except to set up more scenes and missions sit ha tit works out as far as proven ding more material for the film that by the end has taken you on a wild ride but you can admit is rather bloated. He truly represents what is wrong with modern cinema. Every film represents and reflects his personal creative vision. His uncompromising and distinct style.

The film is a worthy beauty. It’s like a pretty woman who is great looking, but once you spend time with her realize you have nothing in common. Don’t really like her personality. Has nothing to really make any conversation about, but she sure does look pretty. No not pretty hot. This movie is essentially a cartoon come to life that has more real world consequences and is definitely much more adult in content.

The leads each get their chance to shine Martin Lawrence in a More comedic way though her holds his own in the action scenes. His camaraderie with Will Smith here is stronger then in the first film and Will Smith here comes off more the experiences action star and also a more streetwise and dangerous hero. Who lives for the highlights of the job.

They even stay believable when the story keeps getting bigger with more weapons, agencies, military and hardware.

Grade: B+

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