As PC Danny Butterman asks incredulously in Hot Fuzz, “YOU AIN’T SEEN BAD BOYS II?” Michael Hicks and Simon Ramshaw have, and they disagree. Is Michael Bay’s super-sized, pumped-up sequel an action masterclass, or a racist, misogynistic, jingoistic propaganda piece by one of America’s most profitable auteurs?
Bad Boys II picks up the story of the dysfunctional buddy-cop duo Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett in their mission to bring down Miami’s drug kingpins. This time, the two exchange facing down the Russian mob for a psychopathic Cuban cartel leader Johnny Tapia. Things get worse for the two of them when undercover agent, and Marcus’ sister, Syd has her cover blown and is captured by Tapia. It’s up to the two of them to once again overcome their differences as they mount a rescue mission.
Whilst the banter between Mike and Marcus isn’t as sharp or fresh this time round, what really makes Bad Boys II is the action. When the explosive finale at Tapia’s compound rolls around you’ve already been carpet-bombed beyond all sense, and Bay saved the biggest booms for last. Couple this with some great firefights and car chases and you have a fantastic film for a night-in.
Okay, I’ll admit it; this is a better Bad Boys film than the first. Hell’s bells, it’s not even Michael Bay’s worst film. However, it is the MOST Michael Bay film in existence, highlighting and saturating the audience’s eyeballs with everything we’ve come to associate with his junk-food style of filmmaking. Colours are assaultive, sexual morality extends to (almost-)necrophilia, and it’s racist towards the people it presumes to empower.
The eponymous undesirable chappies, Mike and Marcus, remain as uncharismatic as ever, with Martin Lawrence’s repulsive portrait of uptight masculinity derailing the stretched narrative evenfurther than it can possibly take. Flitting between Lawrence’s unbearable blithering and sequences of dead bodies being decapitated by speeding cars doesn’t exactly constitute as comedy .
I did enjoy the film in its own relentless way, but when it’s Guantanamo Bay that saves the day at the end, the after-taste is a bit more than horrible.