"Oh, he gonna test drive the s--- outta this."
"Bad Boys II" is absolutely ridiculous, violent, over-the-top, ear-poppingly loud and seemingly as much inspired by the game "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" as it is the first "Bad Boys" film.
Yet, I liked it.
Seemingly aimed towards those who responded poorly towards Bay's "Pearl Harbor", "Bad Boys II" is Bay to the 10th power - loud, flashy and explosive - and then some. The film comes eight years after the original, which introduced us to Bay's work and also, made bigger stars out of then-TV actors Will Smith and Martin Lawrence (the film was originally going to star Dana Carvey and Jon Lovitz). The sequel reunites Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Smith) in Miami (rumors had the film's plot headed overseas, with the working title "Bad Around The World") trying to stop a massive shipment of a particularly bad batch of ecstacy from hitting the shores. In other words, it's the original, only much bigger and about four times as expensive. Meanwhile, Marcus' sister, Sydney (Gabrielle Union), is working for the DEA on the bust and also, seeing Mike.
Plot? Well, that's about all there is to it. However, Bay and the film's team of screenwriters have managed to turn a simply plotted action picture into a 150-minute epic. The film certainly doesn't skip on the action sequences, throwing such sequences at the audience as a band of thieves on a car truck tossing cars - which spin and flip down the highway (one going right over their heads) in pure Bay fashion - at Marcus and Mike. Another scene late in the movie has the two trying to overtake a giant mansion, which much of the Cuban army in persuit.
The acting is pretty decent, too. Lawrence and Smith still share great chemistry with one another, and the film's comedy - despite being pretty crude at times - is well-delivered by both (Lawrence has been funny with Smith and, in "Nothing to Lose", Tim Robbins). As with any Michael Bay film, the camera is just as much a character - see one shootout, where Smith fires at criminals on both sides, behind him in the next room. The camera circles through both rooms - seamlessly, as it did in David Fincher's "Panic Room" - as the action continues.
Overall, it's too bad that "Bad Boys" didn't go someplace else with the characters, but in terms of more of the same, at least this is much - much (at 150 minutes, it's too much) - more of the same. Although it didn't exactly get a welcome reception, I thought it was a fun picture.
VIDEO: About the prior release: "Bad Boys II" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen here. With sleek cinematography from "Coyote Ugly" DP Amir Mokri, "Bad Boys II" has the sleek, stylized appearance of a Bay picture. The transfer mostly does the film's look justice, but there were some concerns scattered throughout. No compression artifacts were apparent (all the supplements have their own disc, so the film is essentially by itself on disc 1) and the print looked pristine. The only issue that the presentation really has is in regards to edge enhancement: while not severe, there are noticable, mild instances of edge enhancement in several scenes.
Sharpness and detail remained first-rate throughout the show, as the picture maintained impressive definition and clarity. The film's bright, vivid color palette looked well-saturated and clean throughout, with no flaws.
While not without a few faults, the presentation on the original release was very good. The new Superbit edition isn't flawless, either, but pleasantly enough, it does show some noticable improvements over the original presentation. Sharpness and detail are mildly stronger here, as the picture appeared crisper, with more fine details visible and greater depth to the image. The fact that the edge enhancement present in the previous presentation has been minimized here also makes for a smooth, natural-looking transfer. There's still a minor instance or two of pixelation, but it's barely noticable. Contrast also looked improved here, and colors looked a bit richer. Overall, while I was pleased with the original release, this new Superbit edition did provide a noticably better presentation.
SOUND: "Bad Boys II" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 for this Superbit Edition. The film's sound design is as amped-up as the action sequences, which is a pleasant change from the original, whose sound work - I don't think - reached even the level of what should be expected from a picture of its age. The soundtrack for the sequel, however, is the definition of a modern action film sound mix. Furious, very directional, very loud and absolutely over-the-top, the film's audio pushes very discrete surround use at every moment, offering up reinforcement of the score or impressively detailed and distinct sound effects (see the sequence where the camera spins around the gunfights taking place in a couple of rooms). Despite not being an official EX soundtrack, those who can enable a back rear surround should, as it turns the film's gunfights (and action scenes in general) into 360 degree affairs. The film's gun battles sound realistic enough that most viewers will be ducking in their listening rooms.
Sound quality is also first-rate, as the film's soundtrack is remarkably dynamic. Dialogue remains crystal clear throughout, as do sound effects. Bass is a constant presence in the soundtrack - often heard, often felt. The DTS presentation offered moderate improvements over the Dolby Digital track. Sound effects seemed punchier and the audio overall seemed richer and more dynamic. Overall, the soundtrack seemed more enveloping, as effects seemed to fill the room and be less "speaker-specific". Low bass also seemed somewhat tighter on the DTS track.
EXTRAS: Nothing, as per usual with a Superbit release. The original 2-DVD special edition provides a wealth of featurettes/documentaries on the production.
Final Thoughts: "Bad Boys II" provides 2-1/2 hours of insane, over-the-top action and R-rated comedy. If you liked the first, you'll enjoy what this one has to offer. It's just an expensive, technically remarkable and quite mindless action fest, with Smith and Lawrence offering fine performances. The Superbit edition does provide superior audio/video over the prior release. Those looking to pick up the film who are more concerned about presentation quality should get this release, while those who are interested in supplements should pick up the Special Edition. Recommended.