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Bad boys, bad boys. Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when the studio comes for you? Make another film that’s what! Bad Boys was originally released in 1995 and did well both at the cinema and when released to purchase. It really was only a matter of time before a sequel came out and here it is. The first film had a great camaraderie between the main characters as well as great one liners, good comedy and explosive action. By now this is a tried and tested formula and so a new lick of paint and a new baddie should have the public again enjoying Martin Lawrence and Will Smith as cops who will stop at nothing to get the bad guys.

Bad Boys 2

The Film
Since the last film a new team has been created to stop drugs entering the country named TNT – Tactical Narcotics Team. Since September 11th, TNT has started using a lot higher level of technology in water based operations to prevent illegal drugs entering the country so apparently the drug runners have "gone low". This means that we don’t just get bad boys; we get bad boys with toys. The drug that the boys have waged war on is "X" or ecstasy to you and me. A botched operation in which a lot of cops and equipment gets used to recovered just two bags is due to misinformation from one man. Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) has the team on his back including his partner Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) as he tries to get more information out of his lead. Add to this the fact that Marcus wants to leave the dangerous TNT operations and Mike for a quieter life and hasn’t told Mike yet, and Mike has been dating Marcus’ sister and hasn’t told him yet, and we have what might be termed as an explosive situation. On top of that the force captain, Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano) and Marcus amongst others have been seeing psychiatrists about their anger disorders and we are left with a still cool but slightly nervous Mike, a less cool and hippyish Marcus and a girl cop on the scene – Marcus sister Syd (Gabrielle Union) who it turns out is involved in all the action, and we have a lot of things happening in what should be a simple film. At least they upgraded the Porsche from the last film, into a Ferrari.

The main baddie here is Hector Juan Carlos 'Johnny' Tapia (Jordi Mollà – Dollar for the Dead) – a drug dealer looking to find new ways to get his X into America to sell. It turns out that Johnny is using coffins to transport money and drugs around the world and so it is up to the intrepid pair to find evidence of this without getting thrown off of the force. Just like the last film, this involves breaking all the rules, destroying a LOT of public property and at one point, destroying many cars in one of the best car chases I have seen for a while. It isn’t so much a car chase, but a gun fight whilst moving but some of the low angles that the scenes are filmed from really give a great sense of speed. If it is one thing Michael Bay has learnt how to do properly, it is blow things up and have a good shoot out.

Bad Boys 2

So what to say about this film? Well its not a bad film. In fact the action sequences were fantastic. Well planned and executed, there is a real feel of speed and tension throughout these scenes (helped along by a score by Paul Linford which reminded me a lot of the music in The Rock which in turn is complimented by many other original recordings for the soundtrack by various artists). However whilst excellent action sequences are to be expected in a Michael Bay directed film, Bad Boys should also be about a quality script. Not so much the story, but more in reference to the one liners and the humour the characters display. This is where the film was a real let down.

The first film had some great humour but instead of evolving this into the next film, it turns out to be very clichéd and tired. It is the appalling one liners that come off worst here and it leaves the pairing of Smith and Lawrence with a lot less of a “shooting from the hip, funny take on life” that they had in the first film. That is not to say it is all bad, but I really would have expected so much more from this film in that respect. Perhaps I wanted too much from this picture, as Bad Boys 2 is a great action film but the humour that should and was attempted to be present in the gaps between the shooting, just didn’t cut it.

There are some amusing slip ups in the film however that I noticed whilst watching it. In once scene there is a lot of money in a coffin. It is clearly marked “For Motion Picture Use Only”. Another scene is supposed to be shot in Amsterdam Harbour. However in reality this is a tiny harbour and not at all like the one in the film and in another scene, director Michael Bay and the crew can be seen in the background getting ready for a different shot. Michael Bay is actually in the film at one point, driving a beaten up rust bucket of a car which Marcus nearly commanders until Mike tells him to get something faster. Michael Bay has one line – “Freak!” - in Marcus direction as he drives off.

Bad Boys 2

Video
Presented in 2.40:1 and enhanced for widescreen televisions, Columbia Tri-Star have done an excellent job with this print. Colours are vivid and black levels are rich and detailed. There were no compression artefacts and the print was as clean as a whistle. There was talk of edge enhancement rearing its ugly head in the region 1 DVD but I did not notice it on the region 2 – that’s not to say it isn’t there, but if it is I did not see it. Certainly one of the best video transfers I have seen in a while and basically being close if not as good as reference material.

Audio
With such a fantastic video presentation it is a shame that this DVD is only presented with a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Not the end of the world however as the deep boomy bass and wild forceful high range audio is presented with depth and clarity. The definition is well executed with a good feeling of surround sound activity – essential in any action movie. Not quite as reference level as the video, there are times in which I felt the sound was just thrown at the viewer from all directions instead of being crafted to achieve an effect to match the on screen action however these are not particularly regular and therefore this audio soundtrack is a very good track. I wonder what a well crafted DTS mix could have accomplished here.

Extras
No audio commentaries here which is a pity. Still, there is a whole disc of extra features so let us hope that some of that is entertaining. Every feature appears to be subtitled on this disc, in English, Italian and Dutch which is an impressive feat in itself - highly commendable. First up we have seven Deleted Scenes. These are titles Group Therapy, Make and Mara, Arriving at the Haitians’ House, First Scene at Phat’s, Talking about Mama’s House, Hit on Dog and Fake Funeral. Nothing too outrageous here unfortunately, and these are by the way, proper deleted, mostly finished, scenes rather than a compilation of mistakes made during filming. The last scene however is quite entertaining where the two cops raid a funeral looking for drugs in the coffin. A shame they do not find any. It could have been a lot funnier however and that is perhaps why it was cut.

Next up we have two featurettes – the first is Stunts. This nine and a half minute feature shows how some of the starts were created starting with the main chase scene in which cars are pushed off a transporter and rolled down the highway. A new camera system was designed so that the stunt men could be the camera men and with cameras strapped to their vehicles, they could actually drive into oncoming traffic to impact, to capture action scenes that would have severely endangered the lives of the normal camera men. Michael Bay talks about the Ferrari used and how it was treated so carefully as not to harm it during the filming and whilst it survived the films main chase sequence, during one scene after Martin Lawrence opens the passenger door to shout at Syd (Gabrielle Union) and smashes the door into a concrete post. This moment is captured on film for the world to see. We also see one stunt that was practised many times which on execution goes horribly wrong and clips the camera car and its camera. Profanity can be heard off screen. After this scene we move to Puerto Rico where the cars drive through the shanty towns. Whilst the set looks like a mountain side, only part of it is a useable path. To the left and right are large drop offs so they had to be able to stay on target as they tunnel through the iron houses. However once they started they cannot see so they used NASCAR headsets with people in helicopters guiding the drivers down the hill. Finally we move onto the final set which is a real 56,000 square foot house that was going to be demolished so the crew took it on to explode however they talk about unlike with a set, with a real house you get real projectiles and concrete breaking off making it more realistic, but a lot more dangerous. The stunts in this film are very impressive and that is an interesting if a little short, feature.

Bad Boys 2

The next is called Visual Effects which starts out charting the main car chase showing how it was storyboarded, and then animated so that all involved could see what they were aiming towards. A nice spelling mistake in this as the animations are accompanied with text explaining what is going on – if anyone knows what “previs” means, please write in! It is quite impressive however that this animation is so detailed just for essentially, a moving storyboard. Some of the cars that were flipped in the final film I was sure were computer generated, however as you will see here, they are not. Since this Ferrari was so valuable it was not allowed to be damaged. So the car was computer generated in scenes and this was the product of a lot of modelling and hard work by animators to give it, its life like look. Animation is really starting to get impressive now. There are a lot of comparison frames showing before, after and during the animation process for different scenes. It is fascinating and runs for eighteen and a half minutes.

The Music Video “La-La-La” by Jay Z is next on the list. This is presented in 4:3 and with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The music itself is an acquired taste and runs for nearly four minutes. Sequence Breakdowns follow this and they are what they say – fairly through breakdowns of several sequences from the film – these are: MacArthur Causeway, Ice Van Chase, Monorail fight, 5 Man Ratchet, Tapia’s Mansion and Shanty Town. The first of these (MacArthur’s Causeway) is again the car chase and is presented with several options in menu format. These allow you to view the Finished Scene, view On the Set footage for this scene, view 221 pages of Storyboards broken down into 4 sections and even read the 14 page Script for the scene. This is a lot of information and only the brave would face it all however it serves as excellent information for those interested in making films, showing how script and storyboard can turn into the final scene, with a few minutes of footage taking from the day of filming.

The final extra feature is called Production Diaries. This is broken down into many sections filling three pages of menus, with the following titles: Genesis, Training Days, Swamp, Night Club, Intersection Shootout, Get in My Office, Hugs and Kisses, Poolside, Joidi Molla, First Date, Crime Lab, Captain’s House, A Couple of Cameos, Train Dodging, Joey Pants, The Russian is Coming, Home Invasion, Bringing down the House and finally Shanty Town. These feature interviews and raw footage from filming as the cast and crew discuss their characters and the production. Each is also dated to give you an understanding of how long the production lasted for. These are not very long pieces of footage but they do show some great things such as the boys at a real police training facility and some entertaining adlibbing by Will Smith in a scene in Captain Howard’s office.  

Bad Boys 2

Overall
There is little doubt in my mind that this is one of the best DVDs I have seen this year so far, in not ever. Presentation is excellent of both the video and audio as well as the menus and extra features. The only real problem with this DVD is the film itself. It is not a bad film and from an action point of view it certainly fills a gap however it should have been as funny as it wanted to be which is where it fell over. Extra features were impressive although the lack of a commentary track was disappointing. Certainly a DVD to attract noise complaints from the neighbours (sorry guys!) and so overall this is recommended viewing. The DVD is encoded for regions 2, 4 and 5 so those of you in Australia reading this can fairly reliably assume this will be identical to the R4 version.


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