Bad Boys I & II 20th Anniversary Collection Blu-ray Review
BAD BOYS (4/5)
Some people forget that BAD BOYS was actually Michael Bay’s feature length directorial debut. Bay had gained credit directing music videos and Playboy centerfold videos throughout the early 90’s and was rewarded by making a mundane action movie starring two actors that were only known for starring in cheesy sitcoms and an actress no one had heard of. And since no one knew who he or his stars were, he wasn’t given much of a budget. So what did he do with it? He made it look like a music video and in turn launched Will Smith into action hero status and paved the way for himself as an action director for the next two decades.
At its surface, BAD BOYS features a very tired and worn out plot, even back in 1995. But Bay adds so much style in the film and showcases the natural comedy and charm of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence that it’s hard not to enjoy the ride he’s taking us on, even if it feels like we’ve been there before. In truth, BAD BOYS exemplifies everything I actually like about Michael Bay when he’s held in check; cool characters, plenty of humor and stylish action pieces that don’t overstay their welcome. It wasn’t until years later that we realized BAD BOYS was more of a flash in the pan and not a sign of things to come.
BAD BOYS 2 (2/5)
There’s really only one thing that changed in the world of BAD BOYS from 1995 to 2003; the production budget. To put it in actual numbers, BAD BOYS had a budget of $19 million and BAD BOYS II had a budget of a whopping $130 million. Why? I have no idea. The best part about the original was watching Will Smith and Martin Lawrence crack jokes and have a good time. But in the sequel, Bay abandons that relationship to focus on elaborate and unnecessary stunts.
I believe BAD BOYS II was the first time Bay filmed an action chase scene where the lead car or truck throws something out the back at the vehicles in chase. He of course went on to duplicate that in almost every movie since, but here he actually does it twice and neither time was effective. In fact, the action scenes were so over the top and ridiculously long that I found myself losing interest in what was happening. The characters were in no real danger and Bay didn’t take the time to set up a plot worth following, so there was no reason for the audience to try to keep up. The frustrating thing about BAD BOYS II is that it already had the right ingredients to be a good film (Will Smith and Martin Lawrence) and it didn’t need the additional $100 million in special effects.
The BAD BOYS films are a testament to Michael Bay’s evolution (or regression, depending on your viewpoint) as a filmmaker. The first is what happens when you take a stylish filmmaker and give him two talented actors and make him work on a budget while the second is what happens when you take that same director and tell him to go make you some money. I would like to say Michael Bay has learned his lesson, but if the TRANSFORMERS films are any indication, he’s only getting worse. BAD BOYS III and IV have already been announced and word has it that Bay, Smith and Lawrence are all coming back, so the real question will be if Bay can put the focus on his actors or instead wastes money on elaborate action scenes.
Video: Both films have been remastered in 4K and both of them look stunning on Blu-ray.
Audio: The audio is equally impressive.
All of the special features from the original BAD BOYS Blu-ray release have been carried over.
This is the Blu-ray debut for BAD BOYS II.
BAD BOYS II special features:
Deleted Scenes (7:15): Seven scenes, all of which fit in seamlessly with the tone of the film.
Production Diaries (1:06:59): 19 separate features, the longest of which is just under eight minutes and the shortest is just over a minute. I’m not a fan of short featurettes and thought these would have worked better in some sort of longer featurette.
Sequence Breakdown (45:19): Six different stunt sequences get the breakdown treatment. I didn’t find any of the stunts particularly great, so I wasn’t too interested in seeing the details of how they were done.
Stunts (9:29): This is sort of like a summary of the above featurette.
Visual Effects (18:38): Again, more rehashing of the detailed sequence breakdowns.
Music Video and Trailers