Bad Boys

Bad Boys. Don Simson/Jerry Bruckheimer Films 1995,
Bad Boys. Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer Films 1995,

Before watching the movie:

Action movie, probably some laughs but not exceptionally comical, though I think Will Smith and Martin Lawrence both have a comedy background. The main thing I know about this is that its sequel is widely considered the best action movie ever made, or something to that effect. But I’m not watching Bad Boys II right now.

There’s something in the summary about the two guys having to switch lives for some reason? Not sure how that works, but that should make things interesting. There’s a lot of room for comedy in them criticizing each other’s impressions. Otherwise, it looks like a pretty standard bit of fun with explosions.

After watching the movie:

Plainclothes Miami policemen Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett, fresh off a career narcotics bust, get called into headquarters one morning to find that their entire $100 million pile of seized heroin has been stolen, and as it was their case originally, they’re assigned to get it back before Internal Affairs shuts down the department. Rich, smooth ladies’ man Mike asks his ex-girlfriend/informant Max to help him finger anybody who may have recently come into a lot of money or heroin, and when she finds out somebody fitting that description is looking for a couple of hookers for a “private party”, she gets her friend Julie to come with her to investigate. While they’re there, the rest of the gang crash the guy’s “party”, things go down, and Julie barely escapes. She calls the police station, insisting on only speaking to her friend’s friend Mike, but since Mike isn’t available, the chief makes tense, family man Marcus impersonate his partner to get her to talk. With four days until the sale is made, Internal Affairs champing at the bit to close down the department, and Marcus’s wife as well as Julie to placate, Mike and Marcus break the rules whenever necessary to get their drugs back.

I would definitely call this a comedy. The level of bickering between Mike and Marcus goes beyond the traditional mismatched partners trope. They aren’t even nearly as mismatched as such pairings usually are, which probably only serves to highlight their friction. Not only is their bickering funnier (and more realistic) than usual, their friendship is shown to go much deeper than is often the case.

If this movie were not directed by Michael Bay, I would almost believe that the action sequences are meant as parody. The bad guys happen to be using flammable ether, which they drive around in a huge van full of tanks of the stuff, making a ludicrously convenient source of explosions midway through the movie. The climactic firefight/car chase/firefight goes to absurd degrees to put exciting stuff on screen for as long as possible (slightly longer than my interest lasted).

While this does stick fairly well to the expectations set up for this genre of movie, there’s one dramatic exception. Early in the film someone I thought had very thick plot armor… didn’t. Unfortunately, most of the characters forgot about that earlier than they should have, and by the end everyone’s motivation is “the bad guys shot me and generally made this week awful, get them!”

 

Watch this movie: if you’re a pyromaniac with an appreciation for slightly deeper than average characterization.

Don’t watch this movie: if you rely on names and hairstyles to tell people apart.

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