Bad Boys II
Studio: Columbia TriStar Home Video
U.S. Rating: R
Canadian Rating: 18A
Rated for: Strong Violence, Pervasive Language
Sexuality, and Drug use.
Film Length: 147 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1, widescreen enhanced
Audio: English & French Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
Subtitles: English, French
Release Date: December 9, 2003
Martin Lawrence and Will Smith are back again as the in-your-face showdown of cops and bad guys in Bad Boys II. Grossing over $137 million domestically, this was the ultimate summer blockbuster smash of merging action sequences such as car chases and shoot-em ups and comic relief just to catch your breath after all of it. Director Michael Bay and Producer Jerry Bruckheimer did an excellent job of keeping the film real – very little CGI was used during the action sequences to have the sense of believability at its highest. The amazing special effects sequences, edge of your seat car chases, and a grooving soundtrack makes this ultimate 2-disc special edition a great movie thrill ride.
Ecstasy has come from Amsterdam to Miami and Mike (Will Smith) and Marcus (Martin Lawrence), the bad boy cops we’ve seen before are a part of a high-tech task force to crack down on the source of this drug. After the first investigation fails, Marcus realizes that he needs to do some soul searching. He feels working with Mike’s exuberant attitude is too much for him and that he has control of his life. A transfer away from him could be what he needs to feel better and to ensure that his family life doesn’t fall apart. Little does Marcus know, his sister Syd (Gabrielle Union) has a secret relationship with Mike, and Mike is afraid to let Marcus know about it fearing he wouldn’t approve. But both Mike and Marcus get a surprise finding out that Syd is also a part of the investigation as an undercover DEA agent and gets caught in the middle of “their work” in a crazy car chase over the Macarthur Causeway and a shoot-out in the street.
Marcus becomes the over-protective brother and fears for his sister. She has to get close to the deadly drug-lord “Johnny” Tapia (Jordie Moller) who is trying to find a way to get his money to Cuba but is having difficulties because of the increased American security over waters. In the meantime he hides in his mother’s mansion that is infested with rats and eating his money, and he also has a thing for cutting up his enemies and placing the body parts in a container.
With some quick thinking the Boys find their way into his house they are determined to make a connection to prove his guilt as a drug lord. But Bad Boys’ personality differences are proving to be hampering their success. Marcus must overcome Mike and Syd’s new relationship as well as Mike’s aggressive attitude. With Syd potentially up to her ears in trouble, the Bad Boys must do their best to close the case as well as staying within the boundaries of the law.
Eight years after the first film was made the studio finally got all of the actors and the director on the same schedule to shoot Bad Boys II. Director Michael Bay had little support from the studio on the first film – they weren’t really interested during its development and it wasn’t only until after it passed $60 million domestically did they really want to take notice. Since then, there has been new management in place and right away they wanted a sequel. Is it successful? Financially it was a huge success, but the picture received only satisfactory reviews.
This film was very entertaining despite its rather long film time of 147 minutes. There were only a few occasions when I felt the film dragged and didn’t progress the story. Lawrence’s character wasn’t really believable on the soul searching he was looking for – and while he emotionally broke down a few times it was more humorous than serious – but wasn’t that the point? Probably. The film’s car chase sequences were pretty darn good, especially the one over the Macarthur Causeway. This scene alone is worth watching this film. It’s no wonder why these films cost so much to make! There may have been one or two few many action sequences but for all it was worth it’s a great summer blockbuster film like it was intended to be.
The film has pretty morbid humor too – working with our desensitized minds towards violence that could potentially turn off many viewers who don’t see it in the same light. Considering one of the resolutions to the film involves a morgue there is a lot of dead people in this film. What is done to the deceased is quite shocking, and at times could be considered a bad taste in humor. There is an endless trail of carnage from cars driving over anything and hitting anything and anyone and the characters seem to have a great disrespect for people in general. But should we be surprised when Smith’s character kills all of the leads to solve the case because of his aggressiveness? Should we be surprised to see a ruthless drug lord having a liking to bodies in a barrel? Of course not, this is Bad Boys II; the title and the ‘R’ rating should indicate that something off the wall is going to happen. Roger Ebert may have given this film two thumbs down, but for those of you who have a joy living in the desensitized world just as I do – kick back and enjoy this film’s excellent presentation.
Was there anything I really didn’t like that really stood out? Yes – in-player subtitles. I’ve always hated them and I will always hate them. There is nothing worse than seeing huge ugly yellow letters plaguing my screen. I prefer to see them on the film print please……………
So how does this transfer perform? Read on…
Video Quality? /
There is nothing to complain about regarding the picture quality of this release. The team involved with this transfer did a fabulous job bringing Bad Boys II to DVD. Every aspect of this picture is breathtaking. Enhanced for widescreen TVs, this film looks correct at 2.39:1. The print is clean of defects, dirt, noise, and any other artifact I can think of. With excellent contrast and vivid colours, there is an extraordinary sense of three-dimensionality to this sharp picture and contributes to a very “polished” look. Using Sony’s HD mastering facilities, this is reference picture quality and should look wonderful on anyone’s display. It does complete justice to the cinematography that is both exciting and exhilarating.
Audio Quality? /
This soundtrack rocks! The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack is awesome and continuously provides excellent fidelity and a well-balanced frequency range. Bass kicks you in the gut mostly in the main channels, but there is also a lot of LFE information as well. Surround presence is almost always present blending perfectly with the main channels to provide a seamless 360-degree envelopment of sound. This applies to both quiet scenes as well as action sequences. Dynamic range is excellent and the music provides good pace through scenes that require it. Dialogue can be a little forward in one or two instances when there are loud noises like gunfire everywhere – but that is slightly understandable why that was done – just to hear it over the rest of the racket. I prefer to have the sounds portrayed as accurately as possible even if the dialogue is hard to hear – most of the time its not significant dialogue – but I guess there must be a balance between dynamic range and intelligibility. Overall I don’t think anyone should have an issue with this soundtrack’s stellar performance. Way to go, sound team!
Special Features? /
This special edition set keeps amazing me with everything it has. Disc One is the feature presentation. Disc two is loaded with extras. It was far more loaded than what I expected it to be and was blown away by the amount of detail went into giving YOU the breakdown of almost every major scene in this film. When you first pop the disc in, the menu looks less than appetizing for a disc full of features. But behind each option lie a lot of extras – mainly featurettes that can leave you sitting in your comfy home theatre chair for about two hours.
To me, its not the amount of extras on the disc, it’s the quality of the extras that make or break a high rating. This disc deserves the 4.5 stars I’ve given it, and I’ll explain below as much as I can for what you’ll expect to find when you button through this disc. All features are not enhanced for widescreen and are encoded as Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo.
When the menu first pops up, the deleted scenes is the first option and there are seven of them in total. All of them are extensions of scenes in the film and are played back to us with the scene that made it to the film so we know its placement. These are polished scenes so they look as good as the film, and are enhanced for widescreen and in DD2.0 stereo. They total about 5 minutes and don’t add anything important to the film.
Next are two featurettes, one on stunts (9m28s) and the other on visual effects (18m36s). These are both extremely informative and involve the input from the producer, director, and stunt coordinators. The stunts featurette focuses on the sequences on the Macarthur Causeway, the shantytown crash way, and the mansion explosion. The visual effects featurette explains how the use of 3-D animatics help overcome the limitations of the storyboard’s lack of timing in shots for pre-visualization. It is emphasized that almost all shots are 100% real to increase the level of danger in the film. Some shots normally would put camera operators in suicidal conditions. This featurette lets you see some sequences in four ways on the screen at once (use of multi-angle function would have been cool in this instance) with the raw plate, live action, a wire frame shot and the final composite. Very cool.
The lyrical music video (3.51) “La-La-La” by Jay-Z is next on the list, and is followed by the intensive sequence breakdowns of six different sequences in the film. Each of these six sequences have their own sub-menus where you can view sequence from movie, view on the set footage for this scene, view storyboards for this scene, and read script from this scene. If you were to go through all of this you could easily spend 2 hours in it and all of it is very informative material.
Following these sequence breakdowns are the production diaries where we can see the blood, sweat, and angry cursing of those behind the camera. These diaries do a good job of explaining the rolls of people and equipment that work behind the scenes to make the shoot work. We also get to see split-screen work of a behind-the-scenes recording a moving camera shooting a scene with the dailies it shot at the bottom of the screen. This was a very cool feature to see the work and running around of a camera crew to get the shot just right. There is a total of about 70 minutes of these “diaries” that are very exciting and interesting to watch and worth the price of this disc.
Despite the satisfactory rating of this film, this is a reference DVD for both picture and sound quality. The action scenes will blow you away and will show off your home theatre system to yourself and your friends proving your hobby/investment was worthwhile. Top-notch special features that are actually interesting makes this two-disc DVD a delight and worth recommending to any action film buff.