Marcus Burnett is a hen-pecked family man. Mike Lowry is a foot-loose and fancy free ladies' man. Both are Miami policemen, and both have 72 hours to reclaim a consignment of drugs stolen from under their station's nose. To complicate matters, in order to get the assistance of the sole witness to a murder, they have to pretend to be each other. Written by
James Hastie <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Finally, a successful marriage of comedy and action/thriller
This high-action crime drama stands out for me because it succeeds at doing what other movies* have tried and, in my opinion, failed to do -- integrate genuinely funny comedy into the mix. The success is attributable partly to the comedic talents of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence -- who have the ability to deliver crude, rude dialog such that it's funny nevertheless -- and partly to a story that combines suspense and humor into a believable whole.
Our two heroes are police detectives Mike Lowry (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence), who are a kind of tough-cop variation on The Odd Couple . Lowry is suave, slick, self-controlled, well-to-do, heroic, and a real ladies man. Burnett, on the other hand, is an ordinary guy who manages to stumble reasonably effectively, if somewhat ineptly, through his work and his married life.
So imagine what happens when Burnett has to convince a key witness, Julie (Téa Leoni) that he's Mike Lowry -- not just for a few hours, but for a few days. Furthermore, this is no pre-planned, well-orchestrated masquerade. A large stash of confiscated heroin has been un-confiscated right from police headquarters, and both the heroin and the perpetrator must be found within four days, or Internal Affairs is going to take some big-time disciplinary action. Lowry and Burnett are called in because they were the ones who captured the heroin in the first place, and because of the one trait they share -- a renegade approach to police work, which may not have their boss's approval, but which does get the job done (and at one point, causes a store owner to think they're out to rob him). The various twists and turns of the investigation lead to Lowry getting knocked out of commission at the same time that Julie witnesses a murder and refuses to deal with anybody but Mike Lowry. But Marcus Burnett is the only one available to deal with her, and since waiting for Lowry to recover isn't an option
Subsequent events include Lowry's bachelor pad being invaded by Julie and her dogs, while Lowry stays with Burnett's wife, Burnett trying to keep his wife from finding out what's really going on, and Burnett and Lowry trying to find the heroin and keep Julie alive.
For all you action movie fans, plenty of cars, plenty of buildings, and plenty of people get blown up along the way. (Looking over this review, I see that I've belied the high level of violence, which I definitely should warn you against.)
BAD BOYS kept me both amused and on the edge of my seat throughout. I'm afraid I did have two small complaints, however. First, I wish the resolution of the Burnett-pretending-to-be-Lowry story had been timed to coincide with the resolution of the main plot.
As it is, the comic subplot ends, leaving the rest of the movie to proceed in a rather formulaic and pedantic fashion. Second, I wish more time had been spent on Lowry's problem of stepping into Burnett's shoes. The swinging bachelor having to play family man would have been good for a few laughs that we never got.
Aside from that, however, this is an action movie that stands out among the rest.
One final note concerning the DVD "Special Edition" release. BAD BOYS was a movie in which the music was particularly effective, and the DVD actually lets you listen to the music track by itself. I wish DVDs of other movies with great music had this option.
* Three examples that come to mind are 48 HOURS, KINDERGARTEN COP, and another Michael Bay film, ARMAGEDDON. 48 HOURS was grim enough to seriously stifle the humor, even with Eddie Murphy in the lead role. KINDERGARTEN COP made me laugh, but the crime drama felt like an unwelcome intrusion. In ARMAGEDDON, I felt the stakes were high enough that humor didn't seem appropriate.
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