Bad Boys II DVD Review

I can't imagine what it's like to make a movie with Jerry Bruckheimer, Don Simpson, and Michael Bay. These guys know one thing: How to make things blow up. Bad Boys was a huge hit for the crew back in 1995 and here we are in 2003 with a long time in coming sequel. Though far from the quality of the original, there's still enough here to recommend for people who like things blowing up and a car chase that rivals anything else ever put on film. Martin Lawrence and Will Smith return, playing 2 Miami cops, this time to catch a violent ecstacy dealer smuggling the substance in the most unusual way imaginable. Countless sub-plots are tossed in, one involving Will Smith and Lawrences sister and yet another dealing with Lawrnces emotional issues. It all leads to an explosive finale in Cuba for the final showdown. There is very little story here. Most of the character interaction only serves to extend the running time way over the 2 hour mark. The superb action sequences are a sight to behold (including the stunning car chase mentioned above), but the minute storyline surrounding them doesn't make them anymore intersting like it should. Smith and Lawrence are gut-busting hilarious, but the language used here is asinine. Not that it's offending, but it's mostly used as an attempt to increase the comedy factor. That's not good writing. Also, some of the CG effects used in the action scenes are painfully obvious. Still, this is a sequel that does what it's supposed to do: Make everything louder, bigger, and crazier. In that, is succeeds. (*** out of *****)
The 2-disc DVD set has the movie residing on disc 1, presented in 2.40:1 widescreen. This is a shockingly good transfer, bursting with a crazy color scheme that should be cause for nightmares. It falters in the beginning with heavy compression issues and color bleeding, but steps up after this and stays that way for the entire film. There is some minor "haloing" around the characters in brighter scenes, but this is a small issue and most people probably won't notice it. (****) As any good action should, this one has an amazing soundfield. Presented in English 5.1, this is a disc that fills the entire room with bullets, explosions, and glass shattering. The LFE channel won't get a superb workout, but when it's used, your sure to feel it. Characters are easily understood throughout, even in the heaviest of action scenes. Sadly, there is no DTS track which would have most likely been earth-shattering, but with the excellet viedo and length, it's obviously why one wasn't included. (****) This one loads up the extras for a 2-disc extravaganza, sadly missing a commentary track of any kind. First up are 20 seperate production diaries, each showcasing what it was like to be on the set during filming various scenes. The actors discuss their performances, and Michael Bay amongst others will occasionaly chime in as well. 7 deleted scenes totaling around 20 minutes have been tossed on, all wise cuts sicne this film is already far too long. They simply play through with no seperate commentary as to why they were cut. Two longer featurettes focus on the movies insane stunts and special effects. These are quite in depth and run for about a half hour each. There are also 6 sequence breakdowns which allow viewers to see each step of the filming process individually. From the sript, storyboards, animatics, dailies, and final cuts, you'll witness the evolution of these scenes. Last up is a Jay-Z music video and some trailers for other films. (****) If your a huge fan of the first film, you'll probably be a fan of the sequel as well. Some of the action scenes are a stretch (as they always are in a movie like this), but this is a staple of the genre. It runs far too long, the countless sub-plots annoy, but the two leads are strong enough to carry this one just a notch above average. The excellent DVD set only helps this one seem better.

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