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PCR # 174  (Vol. 4, No. 30)  This edition is for the week of July 21--27, 2003.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Bad Boys II"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Two stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Columbia Pictures     
Starring: Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Gabriele Union and Joe Pantiolano
Directed by: Michael Bay
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hours 15 mins

It's been eight years since producer Jerry Bruckheimer teamed up a music video director and two television stars in the buddy/cop movie Bad Boys. A lot has happened since then. Michael Bay, the director, went on to do The Rock, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. Martin Lawrence, TV star # 1, continued to do steady work despite some very public off-camera problems. TV star # 2, Will Smith, has become not only one of the most popular film stars of our time, but also a respected and Academy Award nominated actor. With all of this talent you would think that Bad Boys II would be a slam dunk classic. But like the saying goes, "too much isn't always a good thing." And there is just TOO MUCH in Bad Boys II.

Our story picks up with our two bad boys, Mike Lowrey (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) still doing things their way. Of course, their way isn't always the right way, which continues to draw the wrath of their boss, Captain Howard. As played by Joe Pantiolano, Captain Howard is the typical blustery supervisor who yells a lot but silently admires his troops. As much as I love Joey Pants, the one image that stuck in my mind every time he came on screen was that of the late Paul Lynde. His facial expressions and gyrations make him a perfect selection next time they are looking for the center square on Hollywood Squares.

Now throw into the mix Sydney Burnett, Marcus' beautiful DEA agent sister (Union). Oh, and why not add another subplot concerning her and Lowrey and their chance meeting months earlier in New York. Oh, and have them all work on the same case. Did I mention the blustery Captain? What starts out as an entertaining movie becomes a series of cliches. The three begin to investigate the dealings of the new Ecstasy supplier in town. And what a surprise.........he's a Latino. Are there any white drug dealers in America? Apparently not in Hollywood. Of course, he's a drug dealer with a heart of gold, always doting on his pudgy daughter and admiring the pink frocks she wears daily. When Sydney goes undercover to work for him, the two Boys do their best to look out for her. Or at least try.

I've come to expect a lot of things from Michael Bay. And he doesn't disappoint here. Lots of explosions? Check. Some interesting camera movement? Check. Group of guys walking towards the camera in slow motion surrounded by fog/mist/smoke? Check. A movie that is at least 30 minutes too long? Check. This movie just keeps going and going and going. What could have been a satisfactory ending is followed by another half hour sub plot tacked on at the end. The best part of the film is the interaction between Smith and Lawrence. It's obvious on screen the affection the two have for each other and there are some genuinely moving scenes between the two. My other main complaint about this film is the violence. Not the shoot 'em kind, which is pretty standard, but the unnecessary gratuitous kind that permeates this film. I would be giving away a major plot detail if I go further so just suffice it to say that this film is not for the squeamish. Did I mention that Michael Bay produced the upcoming Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake?

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Bad Boys 2  Two stars

This week's movie review of "Bad Boys II" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2003, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.