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Bad Boys 2 (15)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Seven deleted scenes; 19 production diaries; 6 scene deconstructions. Stunts featurette; Visual effects featurette; 12 script to storyboard comparisons; Jay-Z 'La-La-La' music video.

EIGHT years ago, super-producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, assembled a little-known director, Michael Bay, and two rising black stars, in Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and created one of the most popular adult action thrillers of recent years, in Bad Boys.

Yet while Bruckheimer has been trying to reunite the team for the inevitable sequel ever since, it seems the wait may not have been worth it. In the interim period, Smith has had his day (and lost it, according to some), Lawrence is more usually associated with stinkers, and the Bay/Bruckheimer collaboration has delivered some of the worst examples of the action movie genre, with the likes of Armageddon and Pearl Harbor.

Little wonder, then, to find that US critics savaged Bad Boys 2 when it was released at the height of the blockbuster season, with one referring to it as ‘the cinematic equivalent of toxic waste’.

What is surprising, however, given the word from America, is just how much fun the film actually is, coming packed with the same outrageous humour and set pieces that helped to make the original so striking.

At nearly two and a half hours, the film is a tad excessive, while Bay’s directorial style is, quite literally, no holds-barred. His camera never stops moving, and gets just about everywhere (up women’s skirts, through the walls of buildings, and even from the barrel of a gun, into a bad guy’s head), much of which makes the violence appear pornographic.

It also comes packed with expletives, a ridiculously high body count, a flimsy excuse for a plot, and pushes the boundaries of bad taste; but then it is called Bad Boys, not nice guys, and it is about two cops who seldom work by the book.

And while Bay’s obtrusive style may be a slap in the face to more serious subject matter, such as the end of the world, or the events at Pearl Harbor, this is only really about having fun, and upping the excitement - for if Bruckheimer had set out to make one of the most outlandish action films ever, then he damn near succeeds.

Bad Boys 2 is a beast of a movie, a feast of carnage that never knows when to stop. Yet for all of its failings, it delivers what is required from its core audience - more of the same, only louder and more spectacular.

Smith and Lawrence continue their partnership as before, constantly bickering along the way to busting a ruthless drug lord, played by Jordi Molla, and stemming the flow of designer ecstasy that is flooding the Miami streets. To spice things up a little, Smith also falls for Lawrence’s younger sister, Gabrielle Union, who is working undercover for the DEA, and finds herself caught in the crossfire between cops and drug dealers.

But the plot plays second fiddle to the jokes and the action, some of which has to be seen to be believed.

While many of the proceedings have an air of familiarity about them, in that they revisit scenarios from the original, and even run out of ideas halfway through, there is no denying that Bay has a flair for creating destruction, and boy does he excel in this area.

A car chase, early on, has to rate among the most breathtaking ever filmed, while several of the gunfights are bone-crunchingly realistic, and there is very little time to draw breath in between each set piece.

Smith and Lawrence are also on good form, picking up their chemistry pretty much where it left off, while most of the scenarios - while blatantly obvious - almost always succeed in raising a chortle.

And while the violence seems a little strong for a 15 certificate (with body parts making an over-frequent appearance), it is so cartoonish, given the ludicrous nature of proceedings, that you should be having too much fun to notice.

Bad Boys 2 won’t win any awards for subtlety or creativity, but then it was never designed to be anything less than a Saturday night crowd-pleaser - a goal which it achieves in grand fashion. Fans should have a riot.

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