Before Michael Bay spent a gazillion dollars on the Transformers franchise he made a series of somewhat clichéd action movies, but the one that has always stuck out for me is Bad Boys (his first feature film). Give Bay a relatively small budget and a paper thin plot (two cops bust drug dealers and cop killers and yell. A lot) and he turns in a stylish action movie that went on to the ridiculously action packed (in a good way) sequel several years later.
When I was sent Bad Boys to review I went back and did a little digging to refresh my memory, and came back with the unwanted statistic that the film is now fifteen years old. Was it really fifteen years ago I went to see this action film from a director I hadn’t really heard of starring The Fresh Prince? I went along with friends for the ride, and initially ended up slightly disliking the experience.
It was loud, brash, bold, stupid and contained a lot of yelling and swearing. Not that I have any problem with the latter whatsoever, but some movies just drop constant f’bombs for the sake of it and revel in their edge adultness. Bad Boys is a big offender in this category.
The movie centres around Miami detectives Lowry (Will Smith) and Burnett (Martin Lawrence) working Homicide. When the departments career drug bust gets stolen from under their noses by a drugs kingpin named Fuchet (after inside assistance from cop Eddie Dominguez) our heroes have five days to crack the case before the unit is shut down and they are all reassigned.
I’m sure you don’t need me to go any further with the plot. This is the movie that effectively launched Will Smith’s career with a budget that is now roughly his salary alone.
Bad Boys is a great action movie of its time, still slightly in the Die Hard/Lethal Weapon mould before everything got high tech and CG driven.
As thin as it may be, Bad Boys relies on its story, the action, characters and the chemistry between the two leads which is pitch perfect.
Yes they shout, they scream and yell at each other at regular intervals, but Lawrence plays the slightly comedic sidekick to Smith’s straight as a die action cop movie protagonist perfectly.
As with all Bay directed movies, Bad Boys is stylishly shot showcasing Miami and the surrounding areas.
Bad Boys may be two hours of macho cop action movie, but it’s an incredibly entertaining ride primarily thanks to the already mentioned chemistry between the leads. Many of the movies most memorable lines are improvised (such as the convenience store FREEZE MOTHER BITCHES sequence) which gives the dialogue a believability we often don’t see in Hollywood screen writing.
Bad Boys contains considerably less action that its sequel, but it serves to prove what director Michael Bay can do when money doesn’t grow on trees and CGI robots aren’t destroying the planet.
Bad Boys comes to Blu-ray as a catalogue title from SPHE with the standard 1080p MPEG4 encode we always seem from their titles.
Many movies from around the time of Bad Boys tend to have a slightly soft look about them, and Bad Boys reminded me of A Few Good Men, a very bold and colourful movie but a little soft in the visual department.
There is no doubt that this is the best that Bad Boys has ever looked, and although the source isn’t pristine (there are some dirt specks here and there) this Blu-ray is a considerable step up from the already high quality DVD version.
That’s not to say its perfect, and many could argue that if the movie received the full on remaster treatment that it deserves it could look better. But Bad Boys looks above average for a catalogue title reissue, and fans should seek this new version out.
On the audio front we have a DTS HD Master Audio track that is indicative of the time of the movie as the picture quality. Bad Boys is a very solid soundtrack, explosions are suitably boomy and dialogue is clear through the centre channel.
But anyone expecting a miracle and for BB to sound like a modern action film that really excels as a DTS HD MA soundtrack such as Die Hard 4.0 will be sadly disappointed. That’s not a slight against this track, just the more stereo-bound soundtracks from that particular era. As with the picture it is a considerable step up from its DVD counterpart, but is nowhere close to being a reference disc.
Nothing new here, in fact this Blu-ray release contains less bonus features than the special edition DVD of Bad Boys.
Michael Bay Commentary – This commentary is a good listen for anyone interested in the filmmaking process primarily because it’s his first movie (although this track was after he had made a could more movies) and has a very low budget so there’s no “this was all handed off to ILM” chat here. This is a lengthy information dump about the moviemaking process and contains a lot of technical and personal information.
Putting The Boom & Bang In The Bad Boys – Not a talking head feature in sight on this Blu-ray, just a standard def documentary feature the effects crew. Michael Bay likes to blow stuff up, and these are the guys who make it happen.
Save for a couple of music videos that’s it!
I have a lot of love for Bad Boys. Although my initial impressions of the movie weren’t exactly stellar back in 1995, repeated viewings on DVD have made it one of my favourite action movies with a wealth of quotable lines.
This Blu-ray release does as much justice as the movie could possibly have without a fully extensive remaster, leaving a visually impressive and sonically middle of the road affair.
My only major gripe is with the lack of any new or enhanced special features. If there was a Bad Boys 3 on the horizon I’m sure we would have had special editions of both movies with new interviews, documentaries and commentary tracks.
For now, this BD release of Bad Boys will semi-please fans with what is a reasonably essential catalogue title purchase.