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Bad Boys / Bad Boys II
Just in time for the 20th anniversary of the first movie in the series, Sony presents Bad Boys and Bad Boys II on Blu-ray… together at last!
Bad Boys (1995):
Directed by Michael Bay, Bad Boys tells the story of two cops: family man Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) family man and his swinging single partner, Mike Lowry (Will Smith). These guys work for the Miami Police Department but when a massive stash of cash from a big heroin bust that was taken as evidence goes missing in a scheme masterminded by a man named Fouchet (Tcheky Karyo), they find themselves tasked with getting it back. Their boss, Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano) , isn't happy about this.
And so they go about getting the job done. First up, Mike talks to Theresa (Theresa Randle), a prostitute, asking her to keep her eyes open for any big spenders that might come her way. Before you know it, she and her pal Julie (Tea Leoni) have got Theresa's john wanting to spend a lot of cash and do a lot of drugs. Theresa figures this might be the guy, but things go south fast. Theresa winds up brutally murdered and Julie is the only witness to the crime. She goes to the cops and of course Marcus and Mike wind up having to protect her, but to make it work, Marcus has to pretend to be Mike. But time is running out… if they don't get that missing money back, Internal Affairs is going to be pretty upset.
Far more concerned with snappy dialogue, one liners and stuff going KABOOM than with realism or logic, Bad Boys is a big dumb popcorn movie through and through. Smith and Lawrence are the buddy cop version of The Odd Couple, polar opposites in many ways but with enough in common that even when they're not getting along they're getting along. They are well cast here and the movie's script plays to their strengths with Lawrence doing just fine as the fairly subdued married guy and Smith obviously having a lot of fun as the playboy. These guys aren't really stretching as actors here but they handle the action scenes nicely and they have a lot of good back and forth. There's chemistry here. Tea Leoni's character isn't given as much to do but she's fine in the part and she looks great.
At times the whole thing, like a lot of Bay's films, looks, sounds and feels like a music video and it's most definitely an exercise in cinematic style over substance but so too is it fast paced, ridiculously stylish and plenty entertaining. It also easily proved popular enough to spawn a sequel, which brings us to…
Bad Boys II (2003):
…the second movie, once again directed by Michael Bay, who really seemed to be trying to outdo the first one for ridiculous action set pieces. Smith and Laurence reprise their roles as Miami narcs Mike Lowrey and Marcus Bennett but this time around, they're in charge of trying to figure out where a recent influx of dope that's arrived on their turf has come from, and more importantly, how to stop it. They start digging around and all signs point to a kingpin named Hector Juan Carlos 'Johnny' Tapia (Jordi Molla). He's set into motion a plan to take over all of Miami's drug trade and doesn't seem to care if people get killed in the process.
As our two cops wage war against drug dealers, Mike and Marcus' beautiful younger sister Syd (Gabrielle Union), start hitting it off in ways that understandably make Marcus more than a little nervous. Syd, a Fed working undercover, winds up kidnapped by Tapia, and of course Mike and Marcus have to once again put aside their differences and work together to save her.
There's nothing original here, it's a pastiche of other action movies, but hot damn if it isn't fine, if completely brainless, entertainment. It's really more of the same. Stuff blows up all the time, there are plenty of violent shoot outs and good God almighty are there a lot of completely over the top car chases and collisions in this movie, but Bad Boys II is, if a bit long for what it is, a ridiculously fun waste of time. Smith and Laurence have the same chemistry here as they did in the first film made eight years prior and that same completely unrealistic but admittedly very snappy back and forth between them keeps things amusing. Joe Pantoliano is still amusing as the constantly grouchy police captain that our ‘bad boys' report to. Obviously adding the romantic relationship between Mike and Syd allows for even more of that, because there's no way Marcus is going to want his womanizing partner getting involved with his sister.
The comedy is fairly constant here, and so too is the violence. This is a bloody, and at times, pretty nasty action film in that regard, more so than you might expect from a mainstream Hollywood film. And Bay revels in it. The camera lingers on the slow motion bullet holes as often as it does the scantily clad women that are often in frame. Impact wounds explode. Limbers are severed. Corpses litter the screen. The movie certainly plays to our base instincts in this regard. It gives the audience exactly what it wants: blood. But it's escapism. On that level, it's pretty damn effective. You could over think this or argue against it and in a lot of ways it's tough to defend something as dumb, over the top and sleazy as this picture is but then, why bother?
Both films are presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition taken from 4k scans with the first movie framed at 1.85.1 and the sequel at 2.39.1 and they look excellent. Detail is strong in both features, not just in close up shots where you expect it but in medium and long distance shots as well and both depth and texture are consistently impressive across the board. Color reproduction is pretty much perfect and black levels are nice and deep without crushing things or messing up shadow detail. There are no problems with any compression artifacts or edge enhancement and there's virtually no print damage, but at the same time the transfers look very film-like and features some obvious, but unobtrusive, grain throughout. Bad Boys II does look just a bit more detailed and a bit sharper than the first movie does, which is fair enough as it is a newer picture, but both of these looks excellent here and the transfer for the sequel in particular is reference quality.
Audio options for the two discs in this set are:
Bad Boys: English, Japanese and Portuguese language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio; French, Spanish and Thai language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound with optional subtitles in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional) and Thai.
Bad Boys II: English and Portuguese language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio; French and Spanish language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound with optional subtitles in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
The first film sounds good, occasionally great, while the second film is once again reference quality. Surround activity is a constant in both films, with the action scenes in particular really giving your surround sound system a pretty serious workout. Directionality is strong, levels are properly balanced and there aren't any hiss or distortion related problems to note. Bass response, especially on the sequel, is rock solid and remarkably strong but at the same time the dialogue stays clean and clear and is never buried in the mix. Things are a bit crisper, cleaner and better defined on the sequel than the first movie but really, both of these mixes are top notch.
Obviously the extras are movie specific. Here's a look…
Michael Bay flies solo here for a commentary track, ported over from the last release, in which he talks about… pretty much everything to do with the movie. The guy is never at a loss for words here and he talks about getting Smith and Laurence on the same page as far as their characters go, the stunts, the action set pieces, the comedy and loads more.
Also carried over from the last release is as twenty-four minute long featurette called Putting The Boom And Bang In Bad Boys that does a pretty good job of exploring the stunts, the weapon props and the explosions/pyro work that is such a prominent part of the movie's appeal. The disc also includes three music videos and a few teasers/trailers for the feature presentation.
Bad Boys II:
The bulk of the extras on the second disc are taken up by a series of Production Diaries. There are nineteen different brief featurettes in this section taking up roughly sixty or so minute sin combined running length. They play out in sequence, so Genesis, for example, takes a look at the success of the original film which led to the desire for a sequel where Training Days follows that sby showing off the training regimen that some of the actors had to endure for their respective parts. Swamp shows what went into the shootout with the Klan where Night Club looks at how all the extras used in that particular scene were put to work. Intersection Shootout once again shows what went into one of the movie's more memorable action set pieces while Get Into My Office! shows off what went into one of the many comedic scenes in the movie. The rest of the chapters (Hugs And Kisses, Poolside, Jordi Molla, First Date, Crime Lab, Captain's House, A Couple Of Cameos, Joey Pants, The Russian Is Coming, Home Invasion, Bringing Down The House and Shanty Town) provide insight into the different scenes and moments that make up some of the more memorable bits form the film. It's fairly interesting stuff and while a commentary might have been preferred, this does at least give us a bird's eye view of what it was like working on the different aspects of this large scale production.
Also worth checking out are the Sequence Breakdown, there are six in total: MacArthur Causeway, Ice Van Chase, Monorail Fight, 5-Man Ratchet, Tapia's Mansion and Shanty Town. Running roughly forty-two minutes in combined length, these are quite a bit more focused and in-depth than the Production Diaries are and they do a nice job of showcasing the technology and know-how behind some of the more complex set pieces showcased in the feature. This is complemented by a nine and a half minute featurette entitled, simply, Stunts that takes us yet further behind the scenes of the stunt set pieces. The nineteen minute Visual Effects shows how digital effects work was combined with traditional practical effects work to create a few of the film's more intense scenes.
Outside of that we get seven Deleted Scenes, a music video for Jay-Z's La-La-La, two trailers, a teaser, menus and chapter selection. The extras on both discs are pretty much the same as previous releases. Each Blu-ray sits inside its own standard size Blu-ray case and those cases in turn fit nicely inside a cardboard slipcover. Inside each case is an insert card containing download information for digital HD versions of each movie.
Sony's Blu-ray release of Bad Boys/Bad Boys II doesn't add much in the way of extra features when compared to what we've been given before but it does present both moves with excellent transfers and incredibly strong lossless audio. As to the movies themselves? They are what they are: loud, brainless, and occasionally crass exercises in crowd pleasing style over substance and so too are they a lot of fun. Highly recommended, especially if you like to watch things explode.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.