I’ve written much on the subject of Michael Bay, specifically his Transformers series of movies because I find him to be an enigma. He’s a competent director and began his own form of filmmaking through Bayhem. It’s an instantly recognizable style that at some point heightened to levels of unintentional parody. Bad Boys 2 is that movie and isn’t good. In no capacity is it good. I’m not quite so sure it’s fun either. It’s indulgent in the same sense that a lasagna made out of McDonald’s cheeseburgers is enjoyable or how bar hopping can be fun for a while before getting out of hand. Next thing you know you’re waking up in a stranger’s bathroom using a shower curtain as a blanket. It’s not good for anyone, but for fans of crappy immoral action movies, this is Citizen Kane. So what exactly is Bad Boys 2? Bad Boys 2 is the apex of trashy cinema.
Bad Boys is a fine action movie. The chemistry between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence is electric, full of zingers and one-liners that are pretty funny, though unmemorable. It’s decent fun. It was a time when producer Jerry Bruckheimer still had the tendencies of Michael Bay’s Bayhem under wraps. Bad Boys 2 is the quintessential Bayhem. No autobots in sight and the film still manages to leave dozens of miles of Miami freeways torn to bits with cars as well as a boat exploding into an inferno of death and destruction. Mortuaries are demolished, and the ethical bounds of reality are torn limb from limb.
Our titular Bad Boys are no heroes. They’re sociopaths vowing to hate every person no matter the race or gender. Mike and Marcus will take the time out of their busy detective schedule to harass a teenage boy asking Marcus’ daughter out on a date by waving a gun in his face and using racial slurs. They prove how much they hate poor people in the climax (we’ll get to Cuba in a minute). They even hate dead people. During a scene in a morgue where the movie stops to comment on the breast of a dead woman, and a following chase scene where the streets of Miami are littered with cadavers. That’s when it dawned on me: Bad Boys 2 is the embodiment of a line from Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming”:
“Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”
Every director has one or two movies that best represent their modus operandi. Christopher Nolan has The Prestige and Inception. Wes Anderson has The Grand Budapest Hotel. Michael Bay has Bad Boys 2. Bad Boys 2 is an unrestrained look into the psychology of Michael Bay’s filmmaking style. It’s not that he empathizes with everything he puts on screen. He just doesn’t care. This movie is a “fuck you” to everything about movies. You think we’re at the end at the natural endpoint of our story? Fuck you, we’re going to add an entire act and invade Cuba. After blowing up a mansion, tearing down the dozens of shacks sheltering people in Cuban hillsides, the heroes race to Guantanamo Bay for safety. Bad Boys 2 is the type of movie in which Gitmo is seen as the safest possible destination for our heroes to end up.
Bad Boys 2 isn’t a movie; it’s an experience. It’s a pure rush to the head of Bayhem, ecstasy, explosions, bullets, racism, sexism, and cocaine. It’s the only movie that’s ever given me a hangover immediately after I watched it.
Everything is Bad Boys 2 and everything hurts.