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Two South Miami cops, Mike Lowrey, a wild bachelor and Marcus Burnett, a family man, must find $100 million in stolen heroin before their department is shut down. In a race against time, detectives Burnett and Lowrey track a master thief into the Miami underworld, dodging bullets and bad guys along the way. A sexy witness can identify the thief, but when she calls the station, she'll only talk to Lowry--and he's not around. Acting quickly, Burnett impersonates his partner to take the call, but there's only one catch: He has to pretend to be Lowrey for the duration of the case or risk losing her trust. Now, between shoot-outs and car chases, married man Burnett has to stick close to their only eye witness while playboy Lowrey goes home to his partner's wife and kids, maintaining the charade until the case is solved.
For more about Bad Boys and the Bad Boys Blu-ray release, see Bad Boys Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 30, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Téa Leoni, Tchéky Karyo, Theresa Randle, Joe Pantoliano
Director: Michael Bay
» See full cast & crew
Bad Boys Blu-ray Review
'Bad Boys' was not filmed on-location with the men and women of law enforcement, but it's still a fun, if not wholly clichéd, Buddy Cop flick.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 30, 2010
Now back up, put the gun down, and give me a pack of Tropical Fruit Bubblicious.
Has it really been 15 years? Oh how time flies, just like Michael Bay's swooping camerawork. The director known for putting the "motion" in "motion pictures" has racked up the megabucks for several studios with a string of summer successes. Disney's Armageddon made the end of the world into a glossy magazine spread come to life and The Rock has nestled itself near the top of the Action movie heap. Paramount's Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen have been critically drubbed, but critics' words fell on deaf ears to the tune of well over $1.5 billion earned worldwide between the two pictures. Sony is home to Michael Bay's first feature picture, the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence Buddy Cop/Action/Comedy hybrid Bad Boys and, with Bad Boys II, the director's first franchise. Bay impressed with his frenetic visual style from the get-go, constructing a film in Bad Boys that's one of the defining Action pictures of the 1990s where fast, slick, and uptempo replaced the larger-than-life shoot-em-ups of the 1980s. Bad Boys earned Sony a cool $65.6 million and propelled Michael Bay to A-list status. Fifteen years later, his films look and sound pretty much the same, but Bad Boys still holds up as one of his best all-around achievements.
Hotshot Miami Detectives Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence, Blue Streak) and Mike Lowery (Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyyness) have recently impounded a large quantity of heroin, but just as the boys think they're off the case, the drugs jacked from inside the police department's own holding cell, and the dynamic duo are back on the hunt for the perps capable of pulling off such a precise job. All signs point to an inside job, and they have but 72 hours to crack the case before Internal Affairs gets involved. The stakes are raised when two people -- including an ex-cop -- are murdered, and Burnett and Lowery find themselves saddled with protecting a key witness, a young woman named Julie (Téa Leoni, Deep Impact). As the investigation rolls on, Burnett and Lowery must juggle their own emotions, make personal sacrifices, and even take on one another's identity if they're to find the mole, retrieve the drugs, catch the killers, and keep their witness -- and themselves -- alive.
Forget story; Bad Boys doesn't offer anything new in that department. It involves a pair of cops: one a family man, one a single guy; drugs; a girl in danger; plenty of humor; and a few midlevel action scenes leading up to a grand finale. In other words, it's Tango & Cash and Lethal Weapon with a little bit more attitude and some patented "Bayhem" tossed into the mix, but neither really manages to mask the fact that this is a retread of the same old Buddy Cop story through and through. That's all right, because Bad Boys -- and to a greater extent its sequel -- is more about style than it is substance. Indeed, the movie set a tone for Michael Bay films to follow, though it's not quite in the full-blown spin-the-camera-in-every-scene, shoot from every nonconventional angle possible, and edit every shot to be no longer than two or three seconds in length trademark Michael Bay mold. Instead, Bad Boys features that same look that's at once both technically slick but texturally rough-around-the-edges found in other 90s Action flicks, such as Point Break, Under Siege, and Face/Off, and it's on par with those pictures in terms of energy and technical proficiency while understandably lacking in character development because, well, Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett are basically Ray Tango, Gabriel Cash, Martin Riggs, and Roger Murtaugh -- in other words, walking, talking Action movie clichés -- and the picture's built-in audience should already know what to expect from these characters, anyway. Thematically, Bad Boys follows 1990s genre style, too, sacrificing drama and intrigue in favor of violence and big action scenes. Bad Boys is no Die Hard, a definitive Action film that adds substantial character development into the equation, but it's still one of Michael Bay's better films when examined in the context of his body of work, the picture vastly superior from a dramatic and thematic perspective than most anything he's done other than The Rock, even if his rookie picture still lacks in those areas.
Bad Boys' by-the-book story, run-of-the-mill characters, and nonexistent drama don't hinder the movie because, well, the Action genre by default allows for such trivialities to go by the wayside in favor of a "bigger is better" approach. Still, the movie needs to be commercially viable and audience-friendly, lest it wind up as some two-bit direct-to-video throwaway picture. There's no doubt a tremendous amount of spit-and-polish here that does an excellent job of masking the picture's built-in flaws, thanks to a good-sized budget, quality performances, and Bay's technical know-how that's, frankly, nothing short of impressive considering that Bad Boys was his first major motion picture. Martin Lawrence and Will Smith steal the show, though, appearing as characters that are even larger than the action and Bay's frenzied style. They wholeheartedly embrace the picture, revel in the clichés, deliver their lines with humor and honesty, and melt into their roles as believable longtime friends and co-workers. Even their spirited performances, however, can't save the movie from several slow points and an overabundance of genre formalities and clichés that drag the picture down several notches. In fact, it's so by-the-book that never does the picture require anything more than an attention span that's as short as a Michael Bay shot; Bad Boys is wholeheartedly formulaic, and Action fans with even a cursory understanding of how Buddy Cop films play out can zone out for long stretches and still understand what little there is to grasp beneath the surface.
Bad Boys Blu-ray, Video Quality
Bad Boys rolls onto Blu-ray with a 1080p, 1.85:1-framed transfer that's vastly superior to any previously-released home video version of the film, but it's not within striking distance of the top catalogue outputs that have recently been released on the format. Bad Boys is a product of the 1990s, and the film's somewhat dim appearance captures the decade's prevalent look. The transfer is marred but the occasional scratch and speckle and a few light halos, but it also retains a grain structure that fluctuates between light and moderate throughout the movie. Fine detail isn't as eye-popping as one might expect; many scenes are quite dark, and blacks often overwhelm the image and mask finer details in the darker recesses of the screen. Still, this Blu-ray delivers a marked improvement in many areas; viewers will note fine skin textures in close-ups, for instance. Image clarity also enjoys a bump; it's very easy to read "Sig Sauer" on the slide of Lowery's pistol in one shot. Colors are slightly faded and a bit warm but stable and seemingly reflective of the picture's intended appearance. Bad Boys' Blu-ray transfer certainly isn't going to turn heads, but fans should enjoy the upgrade to this stable, film-like, but rough-around-the-edges 1080p offering from Sony.
Bad Boys Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Bad Boys makes its long-anticipated Blu-ray debut with a mixed-bag DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Like the movie, Bad Boys' soundtrack is loud and big but not entirely polished. Mark Mancina's (Con Air) score blares from the speakers with a grand flair; it's thick, heavy, and strong with a hefty rear-channel accompaniment but is absent the crystal-clear and true-to-life sound that complements the better Blu-ray soundtracks. A club scene in chapter 10, likewise, delivers a strong, bellowing low end and a much-appreciated surround speaker presence to nicely engulf the listener in the moment, but it, again, is minus that crystal-clear sensation that brings the best tracks to life. Gunshots and a few explosions are loud but mushy, not lacking in power but certainly lacking in clarity; ditto a garbage truck that crashes through a building in one scene or most any loud and powerful sound in the film. Dialogue is generally fine, though it, too, suffers from a lack of crispness and occasionally sounds slightly off-balance. Bad Boys lacks sheer clarity but it's not a bad listen; though it's more about raw power than nuanced precision, listeners should still find plenty to enjoy as the movie rolls along.
Bad Boys Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Sony brings Bad Boys to Blu-ray with but a few extras. First is an audio commentary track with Director Michael Bay. Bay delivers a highly listenable, entertaining, and wonderfully informative track. He discusses the dynamic charisma of Smith and Lawrence, the weaknesses of the script, real-world events that influenced certain plot points in the film, the picture's light and easy tone, character improvs, the casting process and working with two comedians, and much more. Like Bay's films or not, there's no denying that he delivers some of the best commentary tracks around. This one's a fascinating listen from start to finish, and it's hard not to like Bay -- based on his persona in the track -- after giving his commentary a try. Putting the Boom & Bang in the Bad Boys (480p, 23:54) primarily looks at the film's weapons and many pyrotechnic special effects seen throughout the movie. Also included are the music videos (480p) "Five O, Five O (Here They Come)" by 69 Boyz (3:11), "Shy Guy" by Diana King (4:34), and "So Many Ways" by Warren G (3:26); BD-Live functionality; Sony's MovieIQ connectivity; and 1080p trailers for Casino Royale, Men in Black, Ghostbusters, Hancock, Armored, Harry Brown, Wild Things: Foursome, Unthinkable, The Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day, Youth in Revolt, and Black Dynamite.
Bad Boys Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Bad Boys looks good, sounds good, and captures that 1990s Action movie spirit to perfection, but all the spit-and-polish, humor, and action can't mask that the story is a complete retread of similar films past. At least don't go with the whole drug angle for the umpteenth time, which, of course, was the plot device once again utilized in Bad Boys II. No matter, the movie's all about style and action anyway. Michael Bay takes care of those aspects in fine fashion, and Martin Lawrence and Will Smith take care of keeping the audience relatively happy when they don't have their guns in someone's face or making stuff explode. For as thematically generic as it is, Bad Boys is still a primo example of 1990s Action filmmaking and the springboard for Michael Bay's career, the latter point one that movie fans may use as the ultimate barometer with which to judge the relevancy of the film, those who love Bay's work lauding its status as the cinematic birthplace of "Bayhem," and those that loathe the director seeing the movie as the roots from which sprung forth many a rapes of childhood memories when the Transformers films rolled out into theaters. Either way, Bad Boys is on Blu-ray, and while it's not a technical standout, Sony's latest release boasts a good -- not great -- high definition presentation and a handful of extras. Bad Boys is worth a purchase, particularly for those with well-worn DVD copies waiting to be replaced.
Bad Boys: Other Editions
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Bad Boys Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Bad Boys 1983 Announced on Blu-ray - November 10, 2010
Lionsgate Home Entertainment has announced the 1983 movie Bad Boys for Blu-ray release on February 1, 2011. This crime drama (not to be mistaken with the 1995 Michael Bay movie of the same title), set in a violent juvenile detention center, offers a breakthrough ...
• Bad Boys Blu-ray Announced - March 22, 2010
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced Bad Boys for Blu-ray release on June 1. In this Michael Bay film, two Miami cops (Will Smith and Martin Lawrence) are two loose cannons who tear up the Sunshine State in search of stolen drugs. There is no information ...
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