&#91MOVIE REVIEW&#93The bad boys of summer leave a major body count

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&#91MOVIE REVIEW&#93The bad boys of summer leave a major body count

Bikini-clad bodies and car explosions. What more can you ask for in a summer hit? How about respect for the dead?
The violence in “Bad Boys 2” goes overboard, to the point of nausea. In one scene, a door swings open to reveal a car chock-full of corpses. They tumble out so the camera can zoom in and capture a grisly, severed torso. In another scene, Will Smith dons plastic gloves, slices open a corpse and rummages inside the chest cavity. In yet another scene, Martin Lawrence hides next to the corpse of a rather well-endowed naked woman.
Is this someone’s morbid sense of humor? Or does the equation of Michael Bay as director plus Jerry Bruckheimer as producer make for the equivalent of two kids overloaded on Twinkies, Hostess Cupcakes and Blow Pops trying to outdo one another in graphic spectacle? After the first “Bad Boys,” Bay and Bruckheimer did “The Rock,” “Armageddon” and “Pearl Harbor,” carving out a reputation for big movies with big budgets and big explosions.
Besides dead people, the plot involves, once again, Smith and Lawrence as Miami police detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, respectively. This time, the duo is after a drug kingpin with a Russian mob partner and ties in Cuba. The corpses, it turns out, are a means of transporting drugs.
Gabrielle Union plays Marcus’s sister, Syd, who, unbeknownst to Marcus, is seeing Mike. She also serves as the requisite female distraction.
In the original “Bad Boys,” the pairing of the rich playboy Mike with the neurotic family man Marcus was funny. In the sequel, Marcus comes off as annoying, while Mike seems merely distant.
The film’s lack of taste is masked by explosive action and frenetic camera work. The chase scenes manage to top those in fellow summer offerings “The Matrix Reloaded” and “Terminator 3.” Mr. Bay also includes a nightclub rave (a reference to the drug Ecstasy is a few years too late), helicopters, ships and even the Klu Klux Klan.
But a bit of restraint could have helped. It’s not enough that Marcus is overprotective of his daughter; Mike has to pull a gun on her young suitor. It’s not enough that there’s a wild car chase on the streets of Miami; it has to extend to Cuba. Instead of ending in 90 minutes, or even two hours, the movie extends to almost two-and-a-half hours. Mr. Bay should have learned from “The Matrix Reloaded,” which was headache-inducing after 138 minutes.
Even amid the extreme violence, there are moments of humor. With references to other movies ― slow-motion bullets and albino dreadlocks a la “The Matrix Reloaded,” dead bodies a la “The Sixth Sense” and anger management a la “Anger Management” ― perhaps Mr. Bay was trying to be witty. The movie, though, is far from it.

“Bad Boys II”
Action, Comedy / English
143 min.
Opens today

by Joe Yong-hee
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