Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bad Boys II: The Worst Film of the Decade

Over the last decade, i've watched some truly terrible movies that found their way to movie screens.
My Sister's Keeper, for example, took an already heartless and disgusting premise - a family with a terminally-ill daughter conceive another child for the sole purpose of using said child as a one-stop organ shop for Sofia's (Sofia Vassilieva playing the elder daughter) needs - and turned it into an over-dramatic ethical/courtroom/family drama of a mother at way with her youngest daughter, Anna (Abagail Breslin, fire your agent) that threatens to destroy the rest of the family that demands that you cry, damnit, cry!

Another movie, Good Luck Chuck, a rom-com  that churns out the same recycled sex gags we've seen in better and funnier films like The 40 Year-Old Virgin and American Pie, but goes one step further: it's premise of a dentist (a never unfunnier Dane Cook) who's cursed with getting laid but never being able to find true love, whist the other partner is, hearkens back to the stereotype that all men want is sex, and women, a relationship and children, and goes about beating this same drum almost mean-spirited way, and it never reaches your funny bone.

How about Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, a sequel to the 1999 movie, Charlie's Angels, which was stunningly lazy in its execution, lame in its action scenes, and filled to the brim with bad writing and terrible acting by everyone involved, especially from Demi Moore, who we all thought would be her triumphant return to the silver screen? Never had a sequel to a movie looked so lazy and lifeless.

And what else can I say about the entirety of the The Twilight Saga that I already haven't said before?

These movies are, again, really terrible movies in general. I haven't even mentioned other ghastly features, like Men In Black II, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Freddy Got Fingered, Battlefield Earth, The Happening, etc.

None of the movies i've mentioned hold a candle to Michael Bay's Bad Boys II, the most unpleasant, nasty, mean-spirited, and hateful piece of filmmaking i've seen in quite sometime. Before I get on with this review, allow me to take you back a decade and four year ago: the year was 1998, and Bay made it big with the sci-fi/disaster flick, Armageddon, grossing over $553 million worldwide. Despite the film recieving a drubbing by the critics, many of them saying Bay's blockbuster feature was filled with many plot holes, a ridiculous premise, underdeveloped characters, and staging overlong, loud and bombastic action scenes for the sake of stretching out the film's 150 minute-runtime, Bay's success at the domestic and international box office signated to him that the audience didn't really care about story, character developement or a plot that's logical or has continuity, and that all they wanted to see was carnage and destruction: shit blowing up and loud, long, head-pummeling acting scenes is what they want, the it's shit blowing up they'll get!

Little did we know, Bay's style of direction (which can be equated to a 12 year-old riddled with ADHD)  was just the beginning. Throught his career, he would go on an almost inturrped streak of blockbuster hits, Bad Boys II being part of that collection. Now, onto my review, and to do so, i'm going to quote one of my favorite movie critics, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, because it really does sum of this.....thing, in a nutshell: "Bad Boys 2 has everything: everything loud, dumb, violent, racist, sexist and homophobic director Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer can think of puking up onscreen." There is not a single moment in this film's 2 hour, 22 minute runtime that isn't ugly, that doesn't make you wish you were watching a better, more enjoyable action film.

Our "protagonists" are two Miami police detectives, Mike Lowrey and Marcus Barnett, who are once agian played by Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, respectively. I used "protagonists" in quotation marks because these two are, arguably, some of the worst on-screen heroes to come along in ages. The pair open fire in street corners, filled with innocent civilians, to adminsiter their brand of "justice" onto the criminal underworld in South Beach (and, by justice, I mean Will Smith takes out a semi-automatic rifle from the comaprtment of his Ferrari and starts pumping shells into one of the drug dealers trying to escape); they cause obscene amounts of damage on the freeways of Miami (because it's not a good day without getting into a reckless car chase that could serverly injure other drivers and/or pedestrians!), and endanger the lives and careeres of those working with the pair; this goes for Mike especially because his trigger-happy personality constantly ends up putting himself and Marcus in danger. Hell, even Marcus himself admits his partner's shoot-first, ask questions never mentality early in a scene:

"He's crazy! He has emotional anger issue problems! He goes to bed early for this sh*t, just to wake up to pop one in a motherfu**er!"
Seriously, it's a miracle that the Captain of the department (Joe Pantoliano) doesn't strip the pair of their guns and badges and have them kicked off the force for their behavior!

The "plot" of this movie is almost razor thin and it takes forever to get it going, amidst all the endless shootouts, car chases and "wacky" comedic segments (i'll get to those later): a Cuban drug lord (Jordi MollĂ , in what can only be described as a fourth-rade impersonation of Pacino's iconic role as Tony Montana in Brian De Palma's Scarface) is smuggling hordes of exctacy from his homeland of Cuba to the shores of Miami, where he's on the verge of becoming the drug kingpin of South Beach. He does this by selling it at nightclubs, which is owned by the Russian mob (yes, the Russian mob cliche is used in this movie). In order to take full control of the drugs and the money, he takes out his partners....key members in the Russian mob, a scene shown in loving, graphic detail as Marcus and Mike infiltrate the home of the Cuban druglord. Entertained, yet, folks?

This would have been a standard shoot-em-up action film, if Bay hadn't filled his movie with endless action scenes to pad out the movie's length and actually explored the character dynamics of the two partners. Oh, wait, they do! But in the worst, most offensive and tasteless ways ever concieved, passing off as "comedy". Brace yourselves, folks, for the two clips I have prepared for you demonstrate Bay's disdain for the audience. The first scene clocks in about 30 minutes in, where Mike and Marcus find a tape and have to go to an electronics store to watch the footage.

Yes, you really did watch that correctly: Bay goes for the lowest-common denominator in humor, so why not go for the gay sexual innuendos, the contrived portable camera that happens to be playing whilst the patrons watch the conversation takimg pace on ever screen in the establishment, complete with this homophobic and disgusting line, passed off as comedy: "IN FRONT OF MY BABIES, YOU GOT PORNO AND HOMO SHOWS UP IN HERE? WHAT KIND OF FREAK-A** STORE IS THIS? MMmm, and you two motha' f***s need Jesus! Cover your ears baby."

Surprisingly enough, that's not the worst of which Bay's comedic pratfalls comes rearing it's ugly head: here's another scene, in which Marcus and Mike grill the former's daughter taking her out on a date. Ladies and gentlemen, all of the film's spiteful and nasty nature in one mean-spirited, vulgar gag (note: this scene contains gratuious use of the n-word, so skip this clip if you find such coarse language to be distressing):

A few comments on this scene: First - what was the goddamn point to this scene, other than to add some cheap laughs to an already ugly and hateful picture? Did Michael Bay, Smith and Lawrence really think that this scene was actually funny, having their characters essentially threaten the boy's life if he had sex with Marcus' daughter!?And secondly - who's parents actually allowed the kid who played Reggie, to act out a scene like this?! Did the parents not read the fucking script before letting their son act in this vulgar and tasteless scene?

Add in a chace sequence in which Mike and Marcus manuver over dead corpses (and they run over a few of them in the process) while chasing drug dealers, rat fucking, the two police detectives objectifying a dead woman's corpse over her tits, and a finale that includes the Terrible Two ramming their Hummer H2 through a slum of Cuba, and you have Bad Boys II, a crass, despariring and spiteful example of excess that the film and the filmmakers happily wallow in. What makes this movie so godaful is the fact that this made almost $140 million domestically, and over $270 million internationally! People actually payed money to watch shit being flung at the screen and they enjoyed it so much, that there were repeated viewings. That's what makes this so painful: it's that Michael Bay will continue to make these kinds of repulsive movies and that he's laughing (at us) all the way to the bank doing it.

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