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Feature


$100 Million dollars worth of heroin has been stolen from the Miami police vault, causing internal affairs to come down hard on police captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano). He gets his two best detectives—Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Will Smith)— on the case to find out who was involved in this obvious inside job and get that heroin back.

Mike Lowrey asks a close friend, Max, to find out any information that might be happening on the street, and it’s not long before she gets caught up in a bad situation and killed. With her best friend Julie (Téa Leoni) the only surviving witness to the whole affair, the Bad Boys have to protect her all while trying to track down the missing drugs and bring in Max’s killer.

 Bad Boys
Blu-ray


Bad Boys                                          
DVD


1995. Bad Boys came out in 1995! It’s hard to believe that this thoroughbred action movie is fifteen years old (though the soundtrack, the fashion, the overall look and even the dancing flower on Marcus’s desk confirms every step of the way what decade this was made in), but revisiting it here was an absolute joy. Now I know that Michael Bay gets a good kicking from critics and film fans alike, and I’m not saying I don’t join in with the pitch fork waving from time to time (Man, Transformers 2 sucked), but there’s no denying he’s one of the best action directors around and Bad Boys is pretty much a perfect action movie in my mind.

For a start you can’t ask for a better duo in the lead roles. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are a double act that just work wonders, and watching this movie again it’s a credit to them both that not a single gag falls flat all these years later and I still find myself laughing out loud at their bickering and facial reactions to each other’s comments. On top at that the supporting cast are brilliant. Joe Pantoliano is just the most clichéd angry police captain ever, but it works wonders (I could watch him miss basketball hoops all day), the two the other cops that they share a whole host of ‘your mother’ jokes with are a great grin inducing addition and the comedy within Marcus’s family set up still makes me chuckle (‘I need my quality time!’).

 Bad Boys
Blu-ray

 
Bad Boys
DVD


Because of these solid foundations (all of which worked just as well in the sequel) everything else, no matter how typical (let’s face it the bad guys in both the Bad Boys movies are as typical as they come) is acceptable because these criminals aren’t only doing bad things that have to be stopped, but they are affecting our characters' lives indirectly and we want them to be happy. It’s the Lethal Weapon way of doing things and frankly I eat this stuff up.

Now, to go back to Michael Bay. His direction for all of this is exactly what a good action movie needs. The man’s frantic editing (I love playing the ‘count the cuts’ Michael Bay game, if it were a drinking game you’d be dead by the time the opening credits finished) totally over the top glossy visuals, his ‘appreciation’ of the female form (that’s the nicest way I can put it) and his ability to sit you right in the heart of the action and them blow the hell out of everything on screen just fits like a glove here and even though he’s obviously evolved a fair bit since this first Bad Boys movie (he now blows even more shit up) this first outing with the two Miami detectives is still one of the great action movies.

 Bad Boys
Blu-ray

 
Bad Boys
DVD

 

Video


It’s not perfect but I’ve gotta say Bad Boys has a pretty decent HD transfer upgrade. Those Miami skyline shots immediately pop and the orange hue looks great. The bright sun drenched exterior shots all look sharper and cleaner than previous releases and even though the interior shots get a little more grainy they still hold up well and make for the best presentation to Bad Boys I’ve seen on a home format.

Where the disc falls over is genuine detail. It offers up more than its DVD release, but finer details like skin texture and set dressing don’t really shine like we’ve grown used to with a modern movie. Also colours are generally low key. They are not at all muted but they don’t really pop either (unless it’s the orange Miami skylines) and while they are more vibrant than the previous DVD release, I still felt they could be a little bolder.

I expected this catalogue title to suffer. I expected it to be one of those titles that are just thrown out on Blu-ray. However, I actually ended up pretty happy with the transfer with its bright, relatively clean visuals, good black levels and noticeably (even if it’s not spectacularly) better detail and while I feel there could still be improvements, the step up from the DVD release is more than enough to warrant the upgrade.

 Bad Boys
Blu-ray

 
Bad Boys
DVD


Audio


Once again as this is a Michael Bay movie, it comes with certain expectations and one of those is a powerful audio track. Here the DTS-HD Master Audio track isn’t consistent, but when it has something to show off it goes for it. Explosions, gunshots and anything that goes 'boom' kicks into the bass with a real oomph and every speaker has a layer to audio attack.

Dialogue is clear, though the levels can sometimes differ from scene to scene, and there’s a nice selection of rear speaker moments to add to the surround sound experiences. Marcus’s kids coming from a different room sounded realistic, a fly skipping through the rear speakers when they find the dead body in the house was heavy handed but enjoyable and throughout the Club Hell scene there’s a lot going on in all in the channels, be it footsteps, music, or voices. It’s an enjoyable track with plenty going on. The only thing letting it down is comparing it to modern audio tracks and unfortunately, despite its highlights it just doesn’t quite hold up.

 Bad Boys
Blu-ray

Bad Boys
DVD

 

Extras


Sadly this is just a catalogue release so the majority of the previous DVD release extras have been ported over as opposed to anything new.

The Michael Bay commentary is surprisingly great. He talks about how hard it is to make a movie like this on a small budget (it’s pretty impressive when you think that this was his first movie) and offers up a lot of insider stories about getting a movie made and working with everyone involved. For a solo effort it’s a great track and well worth a listen.

Next up, ‘Putting the Boom and Bang into Bad Boys’ (23:54 SD) is a sort of making of but focuses heavy on prepping for and blowing stuff up. It’s intercut with interviews and clips from the movie and generally shows off the joys of practical special effects and stunts with explosions.

There’s a batch of music videos from the movie, Diana King’s ‘Shy Guy’ (featuring Martin Lawrence and Will Smith), 69 Boyz’s ‘Five-o’ and Warren G’s ‘So Many ways’, and rounding up there’s BD-Live, movieIQ and trailers for Legion, Bounty Hunter, Karate Kid (with Will Smith’s kid) and Not the Messiah: He’s a Very Naughty Boy.

 Bad Boys
Blu-ray

 
Bad Boys
DVD

 

Overall


Bad Boys is just a blast and for me it’s still one of the best action movie out there (certainly one of the greatest of the nineties).

This catalogue release is slightly lacking when compared to modern releases but still managed to impress with the HD transfer and DTS-HD audio track and with the lion’s share of the original DVD features ported over it’s a fine way of upgrading a title for any hardcore Bad Boys fans out there. Now where’s Bad Boys 2? That’s the one I’m really keen to see in HD.

* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.


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