Bad Boys II (2003)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Space(!)
Theatrical Trailer-2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1 (2:21)
Trailer-Hollywood Homicide, The Medallion, National Security
Trailer-Returner, S.W.A.T., Ride Or Die
Featurette-Visual Effects (18:38)
Music Video-Jay Z: La-La-La (3:52)
Featurette-Sequence Breakdowns - 6 scenes
Featurette-Production Diaries - 19 scenes
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Michael Bay|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Editor's Warning: Those that loved the plot of Bad Boys II are advised to skip down to the Transfer Section now.
First of all there was Bad Boys. Then there was Bad Boys: Collector's Edition. Finally there was Bad Boys (Superbit). Having run out of ways of flogging Bad Boys, they decided to make a sequel and (presumably) start the process all over again. And so it is that I find myself ensconced in front of the television for a couple of days, reviewing Bad Boys II. I suppose that given that those two days were over that grossly over-commercialised holiday known as Christmas, this was something of a prophetic situation. After all, there is nothing other than pure commerciality that sees a film being given a sequel eight years after the original film was released.
Since Bad Boys II is nothing more than commerciality run amok, you can pretty much guess that the expectations going in to reviewing this were fairly modest. After all, the original film was hardly a cinematic masterpiece: it was a hugely enjoyable and preposterous buddy movie that excelled at what it needed to do. Namely, get Will Smith bare-chested as often as possible to keep the girls happy, toss the gorgeous Téa Leoni in for the guys and lace the whole thing with plenty of action. The result? A d*** fine two hours of pure entertainment. So how exactly were they going to top Bad Boys without just doing the exact same thing with a bigger budget? The chances were low so the expectations were low.
And the truth is that all they did was take a vastly bigger budget and just make the film longer, louder, even more preposterous and utterly lame. Now as you should know, I really do like Bad Boys as it is one of those great mindless entertainment films that you can sit back and just plain enjoy. That at the very least was exactly what I was expecting from Bad Boys II. After all, Michael Bay's films have never exactly been blessed with anything approaching a great story or great character development. No. His films have plenty of mindless action and are meant to be surface films - all style and sod all substance. That basic premise was set down by his debut film (Bad Boys of course), continued in the generally very good follow up The Rock and culminated with the raucous piece of fluff called Armageddon. Of course, the latter film was also the film where the plot holes started taking on the size of canyons but even that was infinitely superior to the atrocious piece of garbage known as Pearl Harbor. So basically Bad Boys II was on a hiding to nothing - it could have easily disappeared without a trace under the weight of utter preposterousness or swim as a piece of mindless action without any substance. Whilst hardly the most successful film ever, it did rake in over $230,000,000 at the box office worldwide so has at least recouped its budget of $130,000,000. In the end though, it has probably not made any significant profit - the general gauge to garnering profitability being twice the budget.
The jury is still out I guess on whether Michael Bay might actually be better than the worst mainstream director in Hollywood, but you cannot argue the fact that his films generally do well at the box office. Just don't expect them to do well with the critics. And don't expect them to be the sort of films that people will be returning to time and time again in thirty or forty years. No, these are films for their times: short, sharp assaults that gain the bucks before people have time to realise how bad they really are. And believe me, this one is bad - very bad. Even by Michael Bay's appallingly low standards for substance, and correspondingly high standards of style, this is a wretched piece of work that fails to engage in just about every way. If the original Bad Boys was a plot hole riddled work, then in comparison to this pandering to the four minute music video generation it is Citizen Kane. There are just so many ways that this does not work as a film and the fact that it made so much money is a sad indictment of the fact that the chances of quality films ever coming from Hollywood in the future can be ranked right down there at absolute zero.
As a starting point, there is the utterly rubbish screenplay turned out by Ron Shelton and Jerry Stahl, based upon a story by Marianne Wibberley & Cormac Wibberley and Ron Shelton. Quite what these people were thinking about in this effort I have no idea but what we get is the perfect feature length film for the music video generation: a sequence of short, almost unconnected action sequences, featuring as much preposterous action as can possibly be stuffed into a specified time, edited together into what might very, very, very loosely be termed a story.
Actually, I don't think I can ascribe the concept of story to this piece of rubbish. Story gives the impression that there is reasonably logical progression from the start towards the end, with the climax being at the end, and along the way we learn about people and events and become engrossed in what is being told to us. This really is not a story. It is almost a sketch-based action feature film.
This effort starts with the erstwhile buddies Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) undercover in search of the people behind one of the biggest ecstasy shipments ever seen. Since we are talking about these two, you can bet the whole operation (run as part of the ridiculously named Tactical Narcotics Team - so that we get the acronym TNT of course) goes belly up in a hail of bullets and dead bad guys. With the abject failure of this particular operation to meet its objectives, the long-suffering Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano) basically tells the guys to do what they have to to redeem themselves whilst he removes the brass from out of his ass. This is a bad instruction to give these guys as they head out in search of the necessary evidence to put Cuban drug magnate Johnny Tapia (Jordi Mollà) out of business. The only problem is that the Miami PD are not the only ones after the man. So is the DEA with the agent at the pointy end of their operation being none other than Marcus' sister Sydney Burnett (Gabrielle Union), who also happens to be the current flame of Mike Lowrey - unbeknownst to Marcus. There are also a bunch of Haitians after the money or the drugs, just to add more mayhem to the improbable mix. Oh, and add into the mix Russian mob boss Alexei (Peter Stormare) who does not get on too well with Johnny. What follows is almost totally unbelievable mayhem as Marcus and Mike do what they have to do to get out of the manure they are in - which of course means getting into even more manure.
This DVD was actually reviewed over the Christmas holiday, which is totally appropriate - plump, juicy turkey is still the finest meal of the season. And this is the plumpest, juiciest turkey that I have indulged in for a long time.
Much of the reason for this being a turkey of a movie can be laid at the feet of whoever gave this thing a budget of $130,000,000. With that sort of budget, you could pretty much be guaranteed that this would become an effects-laden effort - exactly what the first film was not and exactly what needs to be removed from filmmaking nowadays. So with this budget we get the obligatory slow motion stuff, the obligatory follow-the-bullet stuff and whatever else the demented minds in the visual effects department could come up with. Compounding that problem was adding Michael Bay as the director. Even though his lack-of-substance style can produce quite entertaining films, he has no idea how (or rather more accurately no inclination) to meld effects into a coherent film. So whilst we get all these effects, they don't add to the film but rather become an excuse for another vignette. Add into the mix a frenetic filming style that relies heavily on editing to create zillions of chops and changes in the film to compound a shooting style that at times leaves you sitting there getting motion sickness as you try and keep up with the flow of things. In many respects this ends up being his version of The Matrix and it is about as bad a film as a result. Of course, that big budget also meant that there seemed to be little restraint when it came to editing a final version of the film. Really, this could have done with having a serious thirty minutes lopped out of it, and had they have done so I would suggest that this would have been a much better film - the lack of substance would have sustained the shorter length much more easily as there is plenty of filler in this padded-out nightmare. If anyone can explain to me the point of the video store sequence for instance... It's not funny, does not advance the plot in any way and does nothing for character development. In other words, it is pointless padding without purpose.
The next disappointment is that the pairing of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, who rather than being slightly fresh and engaging as in Bad Boys, come across as a bickering couple whom no one would want to be near. The lack of depth to the characters in this situation is really what hampers the film further. We knew there was no emotional depth to the characters, but if you are going to have a 140 minute film with the interrelationship between the two leads as a crux of the film, then you d*** well better make sure that you have enough depth to them to sustain the film. We don't get that - again not unexpectedly since that sort of character development is not possible on the evidence of Michael Bay's films to date - but we sure do miss it. The female role this time is filled by the rather attractive Gabrielle Union, and whilst she is not this time paraded around in as skimpy clothing as in Bring It On, she does look fine in a bikini.
Jerry Bruckheimer producing. Michael Bay directing. $130,000,000 budget. We knew exactly what this one was going to be like before we even saw it I guess. Obviously there is going to be some polarization of opinion on the merits of this film. Some will think it terrific simply because of all those cool effects, the frenetic editing style, the lack of character development and the motion-sickness inducing shooting styles. Fine. I am not one of those people and as much as I love Bad Boys, this is an unmitigated disaster of the highest order. I have seen Bad Boys II described as the worst film Michael Bay has made. I will not go that far as that would be according the truly atrocious Pearl Harbor some respect that it does not deserve. However, after the relative decency of his first three feature films, his most recent two films have certainly steered him well into Jan de Bont territory.
Of course, with the backing of Jerry Bruckheimer he will continue to have a "successful" career making style over substance films but truly his directorial abilities are definitely heading in the same direction as Jan de Bont.
If you like mindless action films with no discernible plot and plenty of special effects, this one is right up your alley.
Just about every review of the Region 1 release of the DVD, which has been available for a couple of months now, has raved over the transfer being virtually perfect. So what happened in the translation to Region 4? Now don't misunderstand me, this is generally a pretty good transfer but it is blighted with constant aliasing, has frequent instances of cross colouration, hints at moiré artefacting and the end credits are almost unwatchable owing to Gibb effect, all of which is most surprising given that this is a big name release and it comes from Columbia TriStar. That has in the past been a virtual guarantee of something special in the transfer department.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, and it is of course 16x9 enhanced. The theatrical aspect ratio was 2.35:1 according to the Internet Movie Database, although the generally more authoritative Widescreen Review lists the theatrical aspect ratio as 2.39:1. Either way, there is not a fat lot of variance and I would doubt that many would be able to positively notice much difference between the theatrical release and the DVD transfer.
The raw transfer itself is rather good, very sharp in most places and very well detailed. Indeed, were that the only attributes necessary for a transfer, this would have been close to a pearler. In some respects it harkens back to the earlier film, with some colour processing having been used but nothing that approaches the level of the processing of the earlier film. Carried over from the earlier film too is some edge enhancement, not too much and barely noticeable most of the time. Shadow detail is generally excellent, although some of the nighttime scenes have of course been deliberately shot in order to highlight the central characters and not the peripheral imagery. Clarity is superb with barely a single instance of even minor grain to be found. Low level noise is also notably absent from the transfer, even though there are plenty of instances where it could have been an issue in the opening twenty minutes.
Colours are very well handled, within the context of the film. The whole transfer is generally quite vibrant, although there was one section in the middle of the film that seemed to be a little more muted than the rest of the transfer (which may of course have been intended). There are a few places where colours are intended to be anything but natural, however on the whole the transfer does have a natural, Miami look to it. Perhaps a bit more in the way of bright, primary colours would have been nice but you sure cannot argue with the consistency and depth of what is offered up here. Oversaturation, other than where intended, is not an issue and there was no evidence of colour bleed.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, although the downward pan at about 1:32 seems to be lacking a little in the way of resolution. This may be inherent in the source material and not introduced by the mastering process. Where this transfer goes belly-up is in the film-to-video artefacting. The most obvious problem is aliasing, which is an ongoing problem throughout the transfer to some extent. At times it gets rather obvious, at other times it plays around on the periphery of one's vision. Just about anything is afflicted with the problem - buildings (12:50, 78:37 and 106:24), cars (29:50) or even just general stuff (24:57, 25:15 and 51:40). The other significant problem is cross colouration that is quite obvious in the building at 25:29, the shirt at 66:30 and the roof at 117:07. At times, such as in the aforementioned shirt, the problem is compounded by some moiré artefacting. There are certainly plenty of instances that I might have missed too whilst my head was down making notes in my note book. After having suffered the problems to greater or lesser extents during the entire transfer, you are then confronted with the very poor looking end credits where Gibb effect is let loose with gay abandon. There are no film artefacts of any note to be found in what is a very recent film.
This is presumably an RSDL formatted DVD, but I don't know where the layer change is located.
There are just the three subtitle options on the DVD - English, Dutch and English for the Hearing Impaired. I sampled the first and the last and they appeared to be quite okay although missing some of the motor mouth dialogue that peppers the film.
Very surprisingly in this day and age, there is just the single English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on the DVD. Given that there is an absolute truckload of space available on the DVD (it runs to barely more than 6GB of data, leaving about 3.5GB of unused space), where on earth is the dts 5.1 soundtrack? Surely there is enough space here to include such a soundtrack, even if it meant losing some of the garbage adverts?
There is certainly nothing wrong at all with the soundtrack, other than a few instances of very minor extraneous bass straying into the mix. This really is a very good soundtrack in all respects. The dialogue and all the other noises are handled very well in the soundtrack and are easily understood (where necessary) and definitely heard (where necessary). There did not appear to be even the slightest hint of any audio sync problems with the transfer.
The original music score was composed by Trevor Rabin with additional music by Dr. Dre. It is not a patch upon the effort afforded the first film, but an otherwise excellent contribution to the whole style over substance approach of the director. You will probably not notice the score too much with all the action whizzing past on the screen.
At various times during the film, the soundtrack has some background police sirens coming into and going out of the sound picture. These were so well handled in the overall soundtrack that I was convinced that they were coming from outside (ignoring for the moment that the West Australian emergency services do not use American-style sirens). This is but one indication of the wide, sweeping soundfield in use during the film. Indeed, if there is one aspect of this film that does demonstrate excellence it is the sound. The action sequences at times might be utterly and ridiculously preposterous but the sound they are afforded is just plain stunning. The surround channel use is excellent, with the rears contributing oodles of ambience and the fronts providing a wide soundfield that is thoroughly engrossing. Indeed, it is just the odd instance of barely noticeable extraneous bass that provides any indication that this is a less-than-perfect sound transfer.
The only issue that I would have with the sound we are given is that just on the odd occasion I would have felt a bit more activity in the bass channel would have been advantageous. I doubt, however, that many will have reason to complain about the soundtrack as it stands.
|Surround Channel Use|
It's a big name title, so we should expect a decent extras package, right? Well, it gets a big extras package all right - I am just not too convinced about the quality of it. Most of the extras are on the second disc of this two DVD release.
In keeping with the stylistic nature of the film, the main menu is presented after an introduction that initially was quite interesting but upon repeated viewings gets rather annoying. The menus themselves are rather nicely done with audio and animation enhancement derived from the film itself. Rather vibrant efforts they are, too.
Well, paint me yellow and call me a canary: a Columbia TriStar release without the utterly crap Dolby Digital City trailer. Woohoo! Clinching proof that there might actually be a God after all! In commemoration of this auspicious elimination (hopefully permanently) of the City trailer, I am adding an extra star onto both the extras and the plot ratings below.
This presentation, in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 that is 16x9 enhanced with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, should just about tell you all you need to know about whether or not you need to see this film. If you like the trailer, then the film will suit. If you don't like the trailer, the film will not suit. Fairly simple really and in other words, the trailer does exactly what it is supposed to do. Whilst the technical quality is very good, the actual trailer itself is stylistic garbage.
The purpose of the theatrical trailer is to entice the viewer into going to the nearest cinema to watch the film. I don't know what the purpose of this trailer is other than to suggest that the film is utter crap and is to be avoided on DVD. Funny that it is written and directed by Ron Shelton. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, it is 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The technical quality is very good.
I love Jackie Chan films. I love Claire Forlani. I will not be heading out to grab this DVD until such time as it gets into the budget price range at Big W. Oops, another trailer that failed to do what it is supposed to do. Again the technical quality is very good, with the presentation being the same as for the Hollywood Homicide trailer.
Wow, is this turning into a turkey sale or what? I have toyed with the idea of picking this one up at Big W. I am now glad that I did not bother. Technically very good, artistically a disaster area and presentation wise the same as the previous two trailers.
This is a Japanese film and as such stands out as stylistically different to the other film trailers seen here. It is noteworthy for not being 16x9 enhanced and having only Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The aspect ratio is 1.85:1. Whilst the trailer is a little confusing and certainly is a little less pleasing visually, it seems a more interesting film than the others advertised here (and let's not beat around the bush - these trailers are pure advertising).
Whilst not quite in the same utter crap league as Hollywood Homicide, on the evidence of the trailer here it is not a film that I shall be charging out to the stores to buy. But then again, on the evidence here, if you like Bad Boys II, then this will also be right up your alley. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, it is 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The technical quality is very good.
Saving the worst for last, this was mercifully the shortest of the trailers on offer. It presents such a forgettable introduction to the film that within hours of seeing it I could not recall anything about it and had to watch the blighted thing again to remind me. It looks like a turkey of ostrich-sized proportions. The presentation is in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, it is 16x9 enhanced and it comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The technical quality is fine.
Since the entire film has put me into cynical mode, I might as well stay there. Given that the film is already way too long, why on earth delete seven scenes that total less than eight minutes (including the bits that actually are in the final film) from the film. None of the scenes are any worse than those left in the final film and none of them do any less of a job of not advancing the plot as all the scenes left in the film... The seven deleted scenes are:
The technical quality is very good, suggesting that these were extremely late excisions from the film. They are presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio that is 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound that is surround encoded. There is regrettably no option to play all of the scenes in succession. Like all the extras, there are subtitles the same as for the main feature.
Basically a look at the main stunt sequences in the film: the car chase, the shanty town and the mansion. It sort of falls into an in-between category - a bit more than an EPK style effort but a less than exhaustive look at the sequences. It is pretty interesting though, even though I could easily imagine something far better and more extensive. The technical side of things is very good, and garners no complaints whatsoever. The presentation is in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced. The sound is Dolby Digital 2.0, surround encoded.
Another quite interesting look at how some of the visual effects were done, most notably the car chase. The presentation and quality is the same as for the previous featurette, although a little bit of aliasing can be seen here and there. I cannot say that all the effects are as successful as the people concerned believe, but what the heck.
Music (n): an art form consisting of sequences of sounds in time, esp. tones of definite pitch organised melodically, harmoniously, rhythmically and according to tone-colour. So arguably this is nothing at all comprising music. (C)rap music for a crap film perhaps? There must be people out there that like this sort of thing - unfortunately I am not one of them. The presentation is Full Frame, it is not 16x9 enhanced, it comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound and it is a waste of time and space. The technical quality is very good.
On The Set
|MacArthur Causeway|| |
|Ice Van Chase|| |
|Monorail Fight|| |
|5 Man Ratchets|| |
|Tapia's Mansion|| |
|Shanty Town|| |
Following the same basic format for each listed sequence, Sequence refers to the excerpt shown from the film itself, On The Set is behind the scenes footage that was shot during the filming of the sequence, whilst Storyboards and Script are fairly self-explanatory. The presentation of the sequences is 2.35:1, not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The presentation of On The Set is Full Frame, not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Some of this is quite interesting but much is just over the top excess, especially the storyboards - I admit to not checking them all out as they simply got too boring to view. Again, there is no option to play all the Sequences or On The Set stuff in one hit, which I found a tad annoying.
Basically shortish video snippets about the topics, featuring some interview material and some behind the scenes stuff - some of which is duplicated from the featurettes and the sequence breakdowns. The topics, basically describing the scene in the film, are:
Much like the sequence breakdowns, some of this is interesting and some of it is pretty boring. In this instance the lack of a "play all" option is especially galling. The presentation is uniformly Full Frame, it is not 16x9 enhanced and the sound is Dolby Digital 2.0. A bit of aliasing crops up here and there but that is the extent of the technical issues with the presentations.
One thing that does become apparent in the extras package: with a bit of imagination, all of these small bits could have been combined to produce a bumper two hour behind-the-scenes featurette.
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 2 release is so far lacking any reviews on DVD-Basen so presumably what they will be getting is identical to what we are getting. The Region 1 release, as stated earlier, has been out for a while and there are plenty of reviews available for it. Based upon those reviews, the whole package is pretty much the same as the Region 4 release barring the obligatory language and subtitle differences, and a different selection of trailers. As stated before, the available reviews are almost universal in their praise for the DVD transfer, making little if any mention of any of the film-to-video artefact problems that blight the Region 4 release. Accordingly, the decision is overwhelmingly in favour of avoiding any version of the DVD and getting something better in the way of a film instead. However, if you must have the film, then perhaps the Region 1 version might be the way to go.
Bad Boys was a great piece of entertainment - utterly preposterous at times, but with some great action and comedy served up in a really well handled way. Bad Boys II is stylistic crap that lowers the style over substance bar to even lower depths than previously thought possible. It is too long, too disjointed, far too preposterous and it completely forgot about the comedy that made the first film so enjoyable. Indeed, the only decent joke in the whole film was so obvious that they used it twice. The video transfer is surprisingly poorer than usual for this sort of release from Columbia TriStar. My expectations for this were not high but at least I thought I would get another dose of the entertainment of the original film. Those expectations were not met in any way and this over-long piece of crap really is a major disappointment.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|