An uneven but enjoyable action comedy that benefits from its charismatic cast & its lively direction from directorial luminary Michael Bay in his debut. In many ways, it's like watching a star being born, or stars, as Smith & Lawrence both shot to superstardom from this movie. With Bay's animated moviemaking & the duo's palpable magnetism, Bad Boys transcends its cookie-cutter script. I think I'm becoming a Bay fan.
"Bad Boys" is perhaps overly indebted to the amber sky'd, kinetically-shot early 90's action films of directors like Tony Scott and Kathryn Bigelow - but since when is that such a bad thing? Budgetary constraints and his status as an unproven talent seemed to bring out the best in Michael Bay. His camera is constantly mobile but, unlike his later work, the editing is paced such that the audience can actually keep up.
Opens with a man complaining he’s not getting laid because he’s married and that’s what happens to married couples, followed by a masturbatory ode to fast cars, and ends with guns and a brawl. There are what feels like 300 cuts during a 3-min sequence. All of it is set to the most orange ever committed to celluloid. It’s the beginning of Bayhem and everyone who’s surprised about what came next wasn’t paying attention
Where most Michael Bay films are action heavy, Bad Boys is driven more by the buddy-comedy and identity-switches of its sub plots. This means the crime, action, and police work, are afterthoughts and much too stationary. The focus is on situational repetition and one-liners more than its inciting (and more creatively exciting) incident(s). Thus, the central story is without momentum and could’ve had more intensity.
Michael Bay may be a pariah in cinephile circles, but before delivering ish like the empty spectaculars of Transformers, the disrespectfully cheesy Pearl Harbor, et al, he was a reliable action director, at least with these two films, and he may have just been helped by the comedic chemistry of Lawrence and Smith, who bounce zingers off each other like they're trapped in a gunplay based pinball machine together,