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Bad Boys II
cast: Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Peter Storemare, Jordi Molla, and Gabrielle Union

director: Michael Bay

142 minutes (15) 2003
Columbia VHS rental or retail

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by Sean Strebin
Sequels, much like remakes, are rarely as good as their predecessors. Bad Boys II is no exception. Michael Bay's follow-up is more flair than substance, leaving the viewer with a severe case of deja vu.
   The story has Marcus and Mike investigating a new brand of Ecstasy flooding the streets of Miami. Following clues that lead to local drug lord, Hector Tapia, the detectives stumble onto a sting operation involving money laundering. The DEA happens to have an interest in Tapia and Russian club owner, Alexei. Sound familiar? Throwing one cliché upon another. Marcus and Mike discover Syd (Gabrielle Union) - Marcus' sister - is involved. You guessed it. She's working undercover for the DEA. Now, add the relationship between Mike and Syd, and you'll get the character dynamics for the rest of the film.
   After the clichéd arse-chewing by Captain Howard, Marcus and Mike are given the go-ahead to takedown Tapia. Back to square one. They shakedown one of their informants. This leads them to the Haitian pirates responsible for busting up Syd's deal earlier in the film. Of course, our disgruntled cops discover the vital link to Tapia's drug trade. The how? Thus leading to the inevitable, yet reluctant team-up of Syd, her brother, and Mike. The rest of the film is just filling in the blanks.
   However, if you must know, Tapia uses his mother's mortuary as a front to smuggle drugs into the country. This is revealed in the opening scenes of Bad Boys II. In the script, the writers give the characters personal problems, but this doesn't quite work. How many times have we seen one of the partners buck for a transfer? How many times have we seen the mobster threaten the welfare of wife and child to get what he wanted? The stress and counselling issues? Like that's new... Most of the dialogue sounds like our characters spent the afternoon at a New Age convention.
   The movie had too many scenes that looked like they were lifted out of other films. For instance, during the third shootout that week (in script language), Marcus begins to blame Mike resembling a scene from the Lethal Weapon series. The scary thing is Marcus sounds like Danny Glover. Another scene that sticks out was the high-speed chase where our buddies are tailing a van and several cadavers fall out. Didn't I just see this in The Chase?
   The acting is another weakness in the movie. Lawrence is certainly maturing as an actor. He plays the stressed-out partner role well while balancing out his other issues. However, Smith's over-the-top acting undercuts Lawrence's better moments on screen. Granted there are a few one-liners that get a laugh, and a few scenes are funny, but nothing memorable or new in Bad Boys II.
   What surprises me the most about Bruckheimer, as a producer, he's usually good at exploiting and getting the best for his films. There is no sign of his involvement here. Bad Boys II is a run-of-mill, buddy cop movie given a high gloss look.

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