Saturday 7 January 2012

Movie Review: Bad Boys (1995)

Lots of explosions, lots of bullets, lost of car chases, lots of attempted one-liners, lots of nonsense. Ho hum.  Bad Boys is action without soul, polished enough to be tolerable but utterly and immediately forgettable.

A ruthless criminal gang breaks into a Miami police station and takes off with millions of dollars in seized heroine. It's a massive embarrassment for the good guys, and narcotics detectives Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) are called in to track down and retrieve the stolen drugs. Burnett is a family man, Lowrey is a womanising bachelor with an inherited fortune, but despite their differences they are partners and best friends.

Their investigation leads them to Julie Mott (Tea Leoni), who has witnessed the criminals enjoying the drugs and killing her friend Maxine. Burnett and Lowrey need to keep Julie safe as they track down Fouchet (Tcheky Karyo), the grim-faced, always angry leader of the bad guys.

The actors go through Bad Boys fully knowing that they are in a mindlessly gratuitous action movie, and not even pretending otherwise. People get killed, shot, battered, and bloodied, but Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as Lowrey and Burnett are too cool to care, display any emotion or pause to take stock: no, they are too busy trading insults and trying to think up the next glib comment. It is almost ironically left to Tea Leoni to inject any thoughtfulness into Bad Boys. Although her primary purpose in the movie is to wear ever shorter skirts in each successive scene, Leoni at least attempts to display some minimal fear, anger, frustration and playfulness in among the ceaseless carnage.

Bad Boys was director Michael Bay's feature film debut, and he imports his expertise in commercials and music videos to the big screen, and forgoes all other elements required to make a good movie, such as a meaningful script, human drama, acting, and polysyllabic dialogue. The reincarnation of Michael Winner with bigger budgets, Bay is all about placing the camera to get the best angle for the upcoming explosion. He washes the film with resplendent colours, making the best use of Miami and ensuring that the screen always looks gorgeous. Bad Boys is a slick two hour music video, an exercise in parking the brain and indulging the base instincts of the juvenile eye.

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