Bad Boys II - Rolling Stone
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Bad Boys II

Bad Boys II has everything. Everything loud, dumb, violent, sexist, racist, misogynistic and homophobic that producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay can think of puking up onscreen. Worse, Bay — who directed the first Bad Boys eight years ago (it was his feature debut for the director of Armageddon and Pearl Harbor and a day that will live in infamy) — buries the easy rapport that stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence achieved first time out in this gaping wound of a sequel. They’re playing the same roles: Smith as Mike Lowrey, the studly Miami narcotics cop, and Lawrence as Marcus Burnett, his partner in (fighting) crime. But smugness has infected their performances this time. They’re so pleased with their preening shtick, they don’t need an audience.

What passes for plot involves Marcus’s sister Syd (Gabrielle Union), who is working undercover for the DEA and working Mike under the covers. Mike worries about Marcus finding out. And everyone worries about Cuban drug lord Johnny Tapia (Jordi Molla), who is taking over the designer Ecstasy trade in Miami. Molla plays the role like Tony Montana on steroids, neglecting only to point his gun and put his own spin on the line: “Say ello to my leettle friend.”

But enough of the pesky story. It’s merely an excuse for Bay to stage a numbing series of explosions, car chases and grossouts. Tapia uses a mortuary to smuggle in drugs. The Ecstasy is packed into the body cavities of corpses, creating an allegedly hilarious scene in which Mike cuts open a bunch of cadavers, guts spilling everywhere. Of course, time is taken out for Mike and Marcus to ogle the breasts of a young dead woman. The embalmers call her a “bimbo.” Tapia prefers to say “bitch.” In another lovely moment of Bay-like delicacy,the corpses fall out of a mortuary truck and are squashed and squished in Miami traffic. Not to be one-upped, Tapia dismembers a live body in his mother’s kitchen and serves up the bloody pieces in a tortilla box — the first of many Latino jokes — to scare his Russian partner (Peter Stormare).

And so it goes. Marcus gets shot in the ass in a scene that rivals Bruckheimer’s TV series CSI for taking us places we don’t want to go. Bay follows the bullet like he tracked the first bomb dropped on Pearl Harbor. It’s all a setup for the film’s broadside of gay jokes as a store camera inadvertently records the bad boys discussing the bullet in Marcus’s butt (“It hurt going in”) as the store’s family-oriented customers react in horror.

I should point out that all this, including innumerable shots of bullets going into foreheads and skulls being shattered, goes on for a punishing, pulverizing two hours and twenty six minutes. There’s still a month to go in the sweeps for worst flick of this woefully awful summer, but my money’s on Bad Boys II — the cinematic equivalent of toxic waste — to take the prize. A complete lack of humanity will give you the edge every time.


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