The Bad Boys are back in this amped-up sequel, promising bigger explosions, wittier dialogue, and more slow-motion shots than the law of Peckinpah allows. This time, they take on a nasty Cuban drug lord and end up destroying half of Miami and Cuba along the way. It'd been a while since Michael Bay had directed a straight-ahead action film, so you can tell that he wanted to pull out all the stops with this one. As it turns out, he's managed to create one of the most excessive and mindless blockbusters to come out of Tinseltown in quite some time. It's loud, brutally violent, and extremely bloody, with each gun battle ending with multiple body bags for drug dealers, cops, and bystanders alike. It seems that Smith and Lawrence must've stockpiled their "get out of jail free" cards, because they destroy literally everything everywhere they go and never seem to get in trouble (though it does open the door for some hilarious Joe Pantoliano moments). Whatever happened to the cops getting suspended in the movies? Obviously the filmmakers had no room for that cliché, since they'd ripped off virtually every other one in the script already. Speaking of rip-offs, there are some painfully obvious Matrix-like scenes, which while still over-the-top, come out of nowhere and end up looking horribly out of place. The same goes for Bay's overabundant camera tricks -- like the endless nightclub shot or the spinning gunfight scene (which wears out its "cool factor" pretty quick). Overabundance of style like this just comes off laughable, but then again, it's Bad Boys II, so what do you expect? Comedy-wise, the laughs are seriously lacking, as they mine Lawrence's anger management subplot for far too long, virtually making the whole film one big argument between the two leads. Still, with a wild chase scene (rivaling the same summer's Terminator 3 for sheer destruction), and most scenes ending in complete carnage, this sequel might appeal to the brainless action movie lover in the crowd -- just don't expect them to explain it to you afterwards. With a whopping running time of 146 minutes and a convoluted plot that advances at break-neck speed, Bad Boys II runs the risk of not only confusing the audience, but making them restless -- a big mistake when dealing with summer blockbusters. That said, if you've got a few hours and can leave your brain at the door, you might be able to find some enjoyment in this gluttonous mess. If not, don't bother.
by Jeremy Wheeler review