Plot: What’s it about?
A Star is Born…no, wait–Before Will Smith saved the Earth from the Aliens, uh, twice…he was best-known for his music ability. Nowadays, it’s a common occurrence for musicians to make the crossover to acting, though very few are any good at it. Ice Cube comes to mind, as he’s been in a few “critically acclaimed” movies like Boyz in the Hood and Three Kings. If Ice Cube is the “artistic” rapper turned actor, then Will Smith is his polar opposite. Smith is better known for his popcorn movies that usually turn into Summer blockbusters. Movies like Independence Day and Men In Black raked it in at the box office, but are more remembered for their special effects, rather than their screenwriting. This leads us to Martin Lawrence. Lawrence, a comic turned actor (another profession that seems to be blending the line between performance and acting) was best known for his stint on his self-titled TV show, “Martin”. So combine two young, up and coming actors from different parts of the entertainment industry, team them with producers Don Simpson (now deceased) and Jerry Bruckheimer (responsible for Top Gun, Crimson Tide, The Rock, Armageddon…) and give a rookie Director by the name of Michael Bay and you have Bad Boys. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Whatcha gonna do?
As in all three of Michael Bay’s films, the plot of Bad Boys isn’t that hard to decipher. Approximately $100 million in Heroin has been stolen from under the noses of the Los Angeles Police Department. Not believing that this could actually happen, they quickly deduce it’s an inside job (boy, aren’t they bright). We then meet Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), a married father of three who seems to never have the time to enjoy the ‘finer’ things in life with his significant other. Conversely, we meet Mike Lowrey (Will Smith), a swinging bachelor who has a hefty inheritance from his family and can’t keep up with all of his girlfriends. The drug dealers who stole the heroin have secured a deal to sell it for a healthy profit, though one of the help has sticky hands and can’t help but celebrate. Hence, he calls up an escort agency and along comes a beautiful woman to help him party. By sheer coincidence, a friend of the escort, Julie Mott (Tea Leoni) happens to be out of the room and witness her friend’s murder upon the drug kingpin finding out where his missing heroin is. It’s Julie, who narrowly escapes being shot herself, that the police need to find as she is the only material witness of this crime. Now the whole thing ties together when Julie is taken to Lowrey’s place (Smith) but it’s Burnett (Lawrence) who brings here there. Trying not to confuse her (and us) anymore, they go through most of the movie pretending to be each other. While interesting at first, we quickly put the pieces of the puzzle together and it gets real old real quick.
Of course, we know that it will be Lowrey and Burnett vs. the bad guys, and indeed it is. What Bad Boys lacks in plot, it more than makes up in action. Michael Bay, who helmed other movies like this, is impressive in his directorial debut. I had seen “The Rock” before this, so it parallels this in more ways than one, the way it’s shot, in particular. Still, you can’t help but to like this type of movie, if only to be entertained for a few hours. The movie was popular enough to inspire a sequel, due out next year. With the treatment that Columbia has given this title this time around, if you’re a fan of the movie, it’s worth a look. If not, the picture and sound you’ll get from this movie make it worth at least a rent.
Video: How does it look?
Unlike Armageddon and The Rock, Bad Boys is presented in a 1.85:1 ratio. Of course, both incarnations of Bad Boys are 16:9 enhanced wheras neither of the other two (and Armageddon has two different studios putting it out) are. The image looks very clean, and free of anything that I would consider distracting. Being an action movie, there are plenty of sequences in which a wide landscape of scenery is used. This looks great on DVD and the anamorphic picture only adds to the look and feel of it. Colors are natural and not overexposed and with a majority of the action taking place at night, the image handles it with ease and it looks very good. A few minor artifacts and elements keep this from being “perfect”, but on the whole, it looks very good and I think most anyone would be pleased with this transfer…again.
Audio: How does it sound?
Bad Boys was made in the days right as things were starting to “go digital”. It seems that most movies made from 1990 to the present don’t have that big of a problem being converted from their Dolby Surround mixes to a new 5.1 mix. Bad Boys is certainly no exception. A very active matrix of sound positively radiates out of every channel, and the sub gets it’s share of the action as well. Dialogue is very clean, which is good…that way we can hear every curse word that Will Smith and Martin Lawrence spew forth! Though explosions and bullets whizzing by activate the surrounds, it seems that action sequences are a bit few and far between, hence the real action of the audio is few and far between. Still, it’s a great audio presentation that sounds great on your home theater setup; you won’t be disappointed.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Bad Boys is yet another in the ever-growing number of DVD’s that has been revisited and given the full special edition treatment. Columbia Tristar is leading the way when it comes to titles getting what they deserve, and it looks as if there’s more to come. Early titles like Jumanji, Sleepless in Seattle, The Craft, Stand by Me and Donnie Brasco have already been released on the format, but have been given audio commentaries, documentaries, isolated music scores and featurettes. Again, Bad Boys is no exception. Along with an isolted music score, the main feature is a screen-specific audio commentary with Michael Bay. Though a bit sparce in places, Bay has a great love for his initial film and seemed like he had a good time making it. We don’t learn a whole lot, other than how scenes were setup and how stunts were filmed, but if you’re a fan of the movie, any new information is usually welcome. A featurette, “Damage Control”, is shown and shows how different camera angles can be used to enhance the special effects of the movie (you didn’t think they really blew up bulidings, did you?). An all new documentary entitled “The Boom and Bang of Bad Boys” is interesting, and features interviews with cast members Will Smith, Tea Leoni and Martin Lawrence. I thought this was a nice touch, personally. Add to that, three music videos and the “standard” trailer, production notes and cast bios and you have a nice litte disc here. While I can’t say that Bad Boys is the best movie I’ve ever seen, it’s not bad to pop in if only to hear some funny (and raunchy) dialogue from Smith and Lawrence.