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  Bad Boys So Bad They're Good
Year: 1995
Director: Michael Bay
Stars: Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Téa Leoni, Tchéky Karyo, Theresa Randle, Joe Pantoliano, Marg Helgenberger, Nestor Serrano, Julio Oschar Mechoso, Anna Levine, Michael Imperioli, Karen Alexander, Saverio Guerra, Kevin Corrigan, Shaun Toub, Marc Macaulay
Genre: Comedy, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Narcotics cops Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowery (Will Smith) are currently driving through Miami in Mike's new sports car, with him at the wheel. He is less than impressed that his partner is chomping down on fast food, with the explanation that he's not getting his needs serviced at home, so he has to be allowed this one simple pleasure, although there's no pleasure for Mike when the fries are spilled over the car's interior. As if that were not bad enough, when they stop to discuss the mishap, a small gang of carjackers appears at the windows, brandishing guns and ordering them out - but it doesn't do to undestimate Marcus and Mike...

The film that made movie stars out of comedian Martin Lawrence and rapper Will Smith, Bad Boys crept up on the world's moviegoers and turned into a blockbuster that was one of the most popular of its year. Since then, some of its gloss has worn off, and if anything it's now recalled as the movie that marked slick entertainment behemoth Michael Bay's directorial debut, so that while it still has its fans, that initial flush of excitement that greeted this has been diminished by those legions of Bay haters who now see him as the antithesis of all that decent and noble in that most admirable of endeavours, showbusiness. You can see where Bad Boys sowed the seeds of those later abominations, they will cry.

But if those Transformers flicks were seriously lacking everywhere except in the budget department, and in the amount of cash they took at the box office for that matter, perhaps we can look back to a more innocent time here, where Bay was not some buffs' idea of a cinematic Antichrist and simply a modest, unassuming commericials director who had already made a fortune before he turned his hand to what resembled feature length advertisements. Perfect for nineties blockbusters, then, and it's hard to argue against how good this example of his oeuvre looks, as if Tony Scott had a lovechild who he had secretly taught everything he knew about shooting in amber sunsets and making everything under the camera's gaze looked sleek and stylish.

Just like an ad, in fact, but an ad for what? The police? The cars? The women? Or maybe just for itself? The plot is the flimsiest of excuses to string these gleaming visuals together, but for the record it features generic European bad guy Fouchet (Tchéky Karyo) stealing a few tons (or something) of heroin from a police storage facility which he hopes to flood the market with and make himself oodles of cash. There is a spanner in the works when one of his gang starts spending the cash before it has been made, and inviting over a high class prostitute (Karen Alexander - what happened to her?), who happens to take along her non-prostitute roommate Julie (Téa Leoni, also in a starmaking part) to make up the numbers.

Long story short, and Julie ends up witnessing her friend's death, then hides out at Mike's apartment thinking Marcus is him, so comedy shenanigans can ensue with that old favourite, the mistaken identity plot. Except Julie twigs early on that Marcus isn't Mike, but he doesn't know that and has to make excuses that take the buddy movie genre into interesting places where the possibility of the two cops being more attracted to each other than any romantic partners they might have raises its head. Mostly this is brought out in "bickering old couple" humorous exchanges, and say what you like about some of their choices since, Lawrence and Smith were ideal for this kind of thing and didn't really find anyone to create the same kind of sparks in their subsequent efforts as they did with each other in this. Yes, it's hackneyed to a fault, but as undemanding diversions go, Bad Boys was easy to watch if you didn't mind the fact that most of the dialogue was made up of arguments. Music by Mark Mancina.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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