Once upon a time in Miami, there was a very bad man named Hector Juan Carlos Tapia ...
Come, let me tell you a story. Once upon a time in Miami, there was a very bad man named Hector Juan Carlos Tapia who enjoyed trafficking Ecstasy, brutally executing his cronies when they displeased him and dismembering rivals in his kitchen. Assigned to take him down are two (bad) cops, Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey. Both carry more baggage than a transatlantic jumbo jet. Marcus deals with his by regularly attending group therapy; Mike by seducing beautiful women and tooling around in his sports car. Despite sporting badges, neither has any regard for the law, but they share a common love: an undercover DEA agent named Syd, who just so happens to be Marcus’ sister and Mike’s secret girlfriend. Cue the "Bad Boys" theme music and let 143 minutes of soulless brutality begin.
Precious few. Marcus and Mike feud constantly throughout the movie, but display fierce loyalty when push comes to shove. Marcus loves Syd intensely and risks his own life to protect her from harm. One line from a Russian mobster and the supposed death of a raver implies that Ecstasy use is bad.
A mobster urges another to pray during a tense situation. An exasperated Marcus tells Mike that “God sent you here to test me.” A police informant welcomes officers into his store by saying, “Jesus is the way, my brothers.” Mike harasses gangstas with Rastafarian sensibilities by calling himself the devil during a gun battle. A statue of Buddha adorns a shop. Using a strong obscenity, a woman reminds the two cops that they “need Jesus.” Tapia has a mural of himself in his house in which he looks like Christ in Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.
Mike’s counselor performs fellatio on him (implied) and a quick shot shows her ecstatically moaning. While the film briefly decries drug use, highly eroticized shots of dancers dropping X are much more likely to stick in audiences’ minds. The camera repeatedly ogles bikinied women and—in one amazingly crass scene—the bare breasts of a well-endowed corpse. (Marcus snuggles up to the cadaver while trying to hide from mortuary workers.) During an impromptu psychoanalysis, Marcus repeatedly refers to the nipples of Mike’s mother. While attempting to view a videocassette at an electronics store, the cops accidentally end up splashing a pornographic movie across every TV in the establishment (no nudity is seen). A similarly televised conversation between Mike and Marcus in the same store leaves patrons with the mistaken impression that the two are homosexual. While posing as an exterminator, Marcus watches a pair of rats noisily copulate. The two cops intimidate a boy about to take Marcus’ daughter on a date by threatening him with, among other things, homosexual rape.
An early scene in Bad Boys II epitomizes the kind of exploitative violence that fills its two-and-a-half hour running time. In slow motion the camera watches as a bullet from Mike’s gun tears through Marcus’ gluteus maximus before blasting a hole in an assailant's forehead. (Close to half-a-dozen grievous head wounds result in graphically splattered viscera; one unfortunate bystander is left covered in gore when a co-worker is capped.) A freeway chase and gun battle that rival the intensity of similar moments in The Matrix Reloaded, Terminator 3 and Heat feature scores of exploding cars and extended firefights in urban environments. A man clinging to a car door is flung into a concrete post before he falls from a high building. During an extended gunfight, Mike shoots a person through the eye. Marcus then describes how the victim has left “his brains under the end table.” Tapia tries to intimidate a rival by placing the severed limbs of an associate on the table next to him (copious amounts of blood leak from the container). Corpses tumble onto a street and are crushed by a car. Fisticuffs on an elevated rail end with a criminal being electrocuted. Another is blown to bits by a mine. A man is riddled with automatic weapons at pointblank range. Mike, Marcus and company stage a military style raid on Tapia’s compound. Massive explosions, heavy caliber weapons’ fire and frantic car chases ensue. Etcetera. Etcetera.
Crude or Profane Language
The actors seems to have received little direction regarding their dialogue except to include as much profanity as possible. There are over 130 f-words and about 170 other profanities and vulgarities. God and Jesus’ names are abused over 15 times, and about that same number of racial slurs appear. Mike makes an obscene gesture at a colleague. Several Spanish oaths are uttered.
Drug and Alcohol Content
When the bullets stop flying long enough for characters both minor and major to breathe, they usually light up or take a drink. After being shot in the rear, Marcus is rendered impotent and laments that popping Viagra like candy isn't helping. His problem is solved, however, after he accidentally swallows two tablets of Ecstasy (an overlong scene features the doped cop blissfully bumbling about under the influence of the drug). A member of the Haitian Mafia smokes pot. Tapia treats a colleague to wine and cigars.
Other Negative Elements
Racially charged put-downs get swapped between Marcus and Mike (who are African-American) and two Latino officers. Ostensibly, these exchanges are intended to decry racial bantering since the Latinos can’t handle having their own barbs thrown back at them. But how many audiences want to hear such language in the first place? While searching for bags of drugs hidden within corpses, Mike pulls various organs out of chest cavities and Marcus accidentally knocks a body’s skull cap off. Mike and Marcus regularly spurn the law when its boundaries don’t suit them. They vandalize the shop of an informant when he refuses aid, bribe a fellow officer in order to set up an illegal wire tap, and resort to breaking and entering in order to find evidence. Mike justifies their activities by saying, “This is what we do.”
With films such as Armageddon and The Rock under his belt, director Michael Bay has proven himself an auteur of splashy, hyperkinetic films whose plots could fit on a matchbook cover. Bad Boys II breaks the mold only slightly: substitute the back of a fortune cookie slip for the matchbook. Worse than the underdeveloped plot, though, is how the movie relishes heartless violence, leers at perverse sexuality and delights in relentless obscenity. USA Today’s Mike Clark hits the nail right on the head when he calls it “appallingly mean-spirited.” To say there are better Boys upon which to bestow one’s box office dollars would be an understatement of the worst sort.