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15Bad Boys II (2003)

updated 2nd October 2003
reviewer's rating
three star
Reviewed by Nev Pierce

Michael Bay
Jerry Stahl
Ron Shelton
Will Smith
Martin Lawrence
Jordi Mollà
Gabrielle Union
Peter Stormare
Theresa Randle
Joe Pantoliano
146 minutes
3rd October 2003
Web Links
Visit the official website

Interview with Will Smith

Interview with Martin Lawrence

Interview with director Michael Bay

Brash, crass, bloody and loud, it's shameful just how enjoyable "Bad Boys II" is - an unapologetic, unreconstructed actioner that's as entertaining as it is politically retrograde.

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return, as suave cop Casanova Mike Lowrey and his angsty family man partner Marcus Burnett - tasked with busting an illicit Ecstasy import business run by Cuban nasty Johnny Tapia (Jordi Molla).

Complicating matters is Syd (Gabrielle Union), Burnett's kid sister and undercover agent, whose love for Lowrey causes their partnership to splinter. Lawrence's character has anger 'issues', and the smoothtalking Smith can't charm his way clear. Once the job's done, they will be too...

Starting with a gunfight at a Ku Klux Klan rally, culminating with a quick draw at Guantanamo Bay, Michael Bay's movie is a long hail of lead, punctured by wiseass buddy banter and gross-out interludes - corpses obliterated on the freeway, Lawrence forced to hide beside a naked, dead woman (that this is a 15 makes a joke of UK classification).

Coming on like "The Odd Couple" meets "The Last Boy Scout", it's very violent and very funny - the dialogue bearing the stamp of co-writer Ron Shelton, whose ear for profanity made "White Men Can't Jump" so amusing, and gifts Joe Pantoliano's caustic Captain some great lines ("I've got so much brass up my ass, I can play the Star Spangled Banner!").

And as ever with Bay, too much is not enough: everything is hyperkinetic and OTT - one house-set shootout dazzling with its gimmicky, virtuoso, revolving camerawork; a motorway chase scene that is stunning. Also as you'd expect, the film is self-indulgent and overlong - outstaying its welcome in the ridiculous final half hour.

Beyond that, the problems are more of principle. Police brutality is played for laughs, the humour relies heavily on race and sexuality, and yet again in an American movie, the villains are filthy foreigners.

Come the credits, you may echo Burnett's admonition of his sister, "That was reckless, that was stupid, and that was dangerous... I'm telling Mommy."

Find out more about "Bad Boys II" at
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