Home Year 1995 Bad Boys (1995)

Bad Boys (1995)

It was the 90s. Let's leave it at that.
It was the 90s. Let’s leave it at that.

Twitter Plot Summary: Bay. Smith. Lawrence. Leoni. The 1990s. Cops. Bad guys. Drugs. Explosions. Someone saying “Lowwwwreeeeeee” a lot.

Michael Bay was at his best in the 90s,and it seems like it’s been a long time since he had a critical rather than a commercial hit. Sure, he may have made billions of dollars from the Transformers franchise, but they are hardly what you would call great. Or good. Or even mildly okay, come to think of it. But then given the amount of money he can make these days, he’s likely not all that bothered about the critical mauling his most recent movies have received.

And so with all of this in mind I decided it was about time I got round to watching Bad Boys, which I admit has been on the list for a while (along with many, many others) but the moment was never right. In my experience you need to be in the right mood for watching a Michael Bay film, otherwise you won’t get much out of it. You could say that Bad Boys is a perfect example of a film which captures this frame of mind.

The story sees cops Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) try to protect Julie Mott (Tea Leoni) from some gangsters who want her dead after she witnessed a murder first hand. It also proves to be relevant to another investigation they’re completing, regarding stolen heroin.

All of Bay’s usual trademarks are right here – slow motion action sequences, wisecracking, slightly misogynistic humour, fast cars and a plethora of magic hour shots for good measure. It’s less about the presentation though than it is about the buddy bromance between Lowrey and Burnett and their constant bickering. They are at opposite ends of their own little spectrum, and thus a perfect pair of characters to keep an audience entertained.

Tea Leoni. That is all.
Tea Leoni. That is all.

It lacks punch as it doesn’t have a great villain playing against Smith and Lawrence, although Tcheky Karyo as Fouchet at least looks the part. Leoni meanwhile doesn’t get a great amount of material to work with. Whilst her character is portrayed as somebody who has a bit of backbone to her, she more often than not falls into the old trap of being a damsel in distress. It doesn’t matter how you paint her up as being an independent woman if her only real contribution to the plot is to be a living MacGuffin. In fairness to Bay et al, this was a common issue with many films in the 90s, although sadly we’re still not quite there even today.

It’s not Bay’s best film by any stretch, but it does perfectly represent the era in which it was made and has its fair share of comedic and action elements, with a backdrop of ludicrous explosions and witty banter. If you’re after some typical Bay-related action, and a movie where Martin Lawrence is an enjoyable presence rather than being terribly annoying, then Bad Boys should be your Friday night movie.

More concerning is seeing Joe Pantoliano with a full hair of hair. Most disturbing. Most disturbing indeed.

Score: 3/5

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