Saturday, 30 August 2014

Bad Boys 2

There's an argument to be made that Michael Bay's Bad Boys 2 is the purest attempt by Hollywood to recreate a Hong Kong style action film. Bay's film doesn't try to replicate the platonic ideal of John Woo's The Killer though, instead it's closer to something people in Hong Kong might've actually wanted to see, a film like Sammo Hung's dayglo matinee My Lucky Stars.

Like Hung's film Bad Boys 2 has wild mood shifts and a dramatic premise completely subservient to seeing our favourite film stars yukking it up. Terrifying action choreography is bracketed by scenes of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence bickering about upholstery; Michael Bay cross-pollinates Golden Harvest star vehicles with rap album skits and gun porn. Countries are invaded, routines about buck-toothed Klansmen track into gooey head shots and two entirely separate sequences objectify cadavers.

A significant chunk of the middle section is given over to the two leads posing as pest exterminators in an effort to infiltrate the bad guy's mansion. There's no attempt to build any real tension - we don't feel like either of their lives are in danger. Instead it's an opportunity to push a camera in extremely close to Martin Lawrence's awed, sweaty face as he watches two rats copulate missionary.

Basically, Bad Boys 2 lives to entertain you. It doesn't know what you want, so it tries to give you everything. Here are some apocalyptic car crashes. Maybe you didn't like that so here's Smith and Lawrence talking about anal sex. If that didn't do it for you, how about a shoot-out in which the camera moves in and around the combatants like a snake? Bad Boys 2 even has the good grace to roll with an adult certificate - this isn't bad taste cinema as smuggled Summer product, it's brazen. Invectives and exit wounds, intended to be seen by its most enthusiastic audience on home video.

Bad Boys 2 doesn't pretend to be a tight narrative experience, it takes the bare model of a cops and robbers movie and embellishes, hurling money and ego and reality TV musical punctuation at you. Action cinema as a hyper-caffeinated variety act whose sole aim is to make you feel like you got your money's worth. Bad Boys 2 wants you to feel like your price of admission was nothing compared to how many fresh-off-the-assembly-line cars got rolled and gutted.

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