ONE thing I've noticed in my brief tenure as a movie reviewer is that people are often more blown away by the movies you haven't seen, as opposed to the movies you have seen.
This is best exemplified by the following conversation, which I seem to have had dozens of times with various acquaintances:
Aw man, I watched (insert movie here) again the other night. Damn that movie rocks the shit, don't you think?
Ah... I haven't seen it.
What? What the f***? You haven't seen (insert movie here)? It's f***ing awesome! Damn it, man - you call yourself a movie reviewer and you haven't seen (insert movie here)? You suck!
Firstly, I should really stop hanging out with these people.
Secondly, it doesn't matter that I could name maybe 50 great movies that they haven't seen. All that matters is that I suck because I haven't seen (insert movie here).
Anyway, the number one movie that fills that (insert movie here) gap is Bad Boys, Michael Bay's explosive-tastic buddy-cop-apalooza from 1995. Apparently this is the film that ALL movie reviewers have to have seen. Screw Orson Welle's Citizen Kane, bugger Fritz Lang's M, and f*** Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather - if you wanna be a film reviewer, Michael Bay's Bad Boys is compulsory viewing. Take note, prospective movie critics.
But enough is enough. A few weekends back, I decided to put an end to these shenanigans and actually watch Bad Boys.
And you know what? It sucks.
For those who haven't seen Bad Boys but would like to avoid being told they suck without having to actually watch it, here's the low-down.
Bad Boys is the movie that convinced the world, rightfully, that Will Smith had the stuff to be an A-lister. It's also the film that duped the world into thinking Martin Lawrence was anything other than really f***ing annoying. I was led to believe he was going to be funny in this film. No - he's just really f***ing annoying.
Much of the film hinges on the to-and-fro between Smith's suave cop and Lawrence's annoying cop, but I didn't buy the chemistry. A lot of the film also hinges on Michael Bay's ability to blow shit up (to use the technical term). This is all well and good, but if you're going to edit an action scene, how about you give us a bit of flow, a bit of a sense of what's actually happening, a bit of an idea as to where the 'bad boys' and 'bad guys' are in relation to each other... I dunno... something, anything, other than just blowing shit up and lots of squibs going off.
Not only that, but the script is bad. How bad? Here's an example that comes from the end of the film, when Martin suddenly appears in Mike's car to rescue him from a gun fight and lots of explosions at the very last second before there's one more really really big explosion (and I'm going from memory here because this isn't in the final scripts published on the web, which makes it worse because that means Bay actually added it in because he thought it would be better):
Mike (to Martin)
I can't believe you left me in the middle of a gun fight to go and get my car. What the hell were you thinking?
Shut up and let him drive.
Right. It makes no sense what-so-ever - so much so that it bears mentioning by a character - so we'll just scoot over it then, shall we? I was wondering exactly the same thing Mike was wondering. But no, the audience doesn't get an answer. That would be too much to ask.
The script also appears to have been written by someone who has no idea about basic police procedure. The scene where the 'bad boys' stumble upon a dead body is a great example.
One of my friends admitted that although he still digs Bad Boys, it hasn't aged that well, which makes it a little mystifying as to why my acquaintances rave about this compared to other older buddy cop films which have actually held up well, particularly Lethal Weapon (except Mel Gibson's hair) and Beverly Hills Cop (except for some of the gay jokes).
One final point: Bad Boys is something of a landmark as it contains a scene that quite possibly sums up Bay's entire career. It takes place during the opening heist, which is admittedly pretty cool. The villains come across a padlock that stands between them and a large amount of heroin, and rather than just cut the padlock with a pair of boltcutters, they freeze it with liquid nitrogen... then smash it with a pair of boltcutters. Huh? But that's Bay right there - why do something simply and effectively that actually makes sense when you can do it expensively, nonsensically and in a way that's completely OTT?