Saturday, July 26, 2008

shit just got real...

I came to "Bad Boys 2" in kind of a roundabout way. It's not really the kind of movie I'd think to watch on my own, I don't know if it's something I'd specifically avoided, or something I'd just never thought of. Actually, I'd only seen my first Michael Bay movie (the first "Bad Boys") about a week earlier, so I had no real opinion of him, again, just the kind of filmmaker I'd never really thought about, he just doesn't make the kind of movies I watch. And I have nothing really specific against starts Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Sure, they may both be kind of hackey, and formerly the starts of some pretty bad sitcoms, but both have a few gems under their belts. Smith, who I actually find reasonably charismatic as a performer (and from what little I know about him personally, seems like actually a nice guy), was in "Six Degrees of Separation" and the "Men in Black" films, which I thought were good enough. Lawrence was in "Do the Right Thing" and the first two "House Party" movies before joining Eddie Murphy in the drag & fat suit set.

Anyway, I'd still never have seen "Bad Boys 2" had it not been for "Hot Fuzz," the most recent of the Edgar Wright- Simon Pegg- Nick Frost collabs (after "Spaced" and "Hot Fuzz"- "Spaced" by the way just came out on DVD in the states for the first time, exciting). In this almost painfully perfect and consistently hilarious police parody (which features some of the most ingenious editing in any film I've ever seen), sidekick Nick Frost plays a smalltown cop obsessed with American cop cinema, in particular Kathryn Bigelow's "Point Break" (which I've really, really tried to like, being a fan of Bigelow's "Loveless," "Near Dark," and "Blue Steel," but find generally pretty boring) and "Bad Boys 2." Both films are referenced and quoted repeatedly hilariously, and "Hot Fuzz's" take on BB2, along with some other opinions I'd heard, suggested that it was just the kind of bad movie I could really sink my teeth into.

Hot Fuzz

It is. Oh, yea, it really, really is. "Bad Boys 2" may trump "Domino" as the worst-best movie I've ever seen. It seems to have been conceived (by writers Ron Shelton and Jerry "Cafe Flesh/Alf/somehow got a shitty movie made about his drug habit" Stahl) not just on another planet, but on another planet on another dimension, where basic human logic and the politics of everyday life veer off in the most bizarre and unexpected of directions. Nothing in "Bad Boys 2" makes any kind of logical sense in any way, shape or form. The film itself doesn't even really have any internal logic, except that anything that happens need ultimately lead to a car chase that in turn must lead to a gunfight.

Cafe Flesh

In fact, by human logic, the characters played by Lawrence and Smith are possibly the two worst cops ever. Every thing they try to do- which never involves trying to get warrants or doing any actual policework- they fuck up, and it all ends in a car chase and then a gunfight. Seriously, it happens like five times, they set out to do something that's pretty much illegal anyway, it all goes wrong, car chase, gunfight. A bunch of times, I'd turn to say something to my friend, or just space out for a second, and I'd look back at the TV, and there'd be a chase going on, and I'd have no idea how it started. Meanwhile, all the chases and shootouts are so excessive, culminating in Smith and Lawrence chasing a morgue truck that has corpses spilling out of it and onto the highway, getting crushed and decapitated under the wheels of cars. "Bad Boys 2" reverts to this kind of gruesome slapstick on a number of occasions, and it actually works counterproductive to the overall veneer of seriousness, because despite the casting of two comedians in the leads, and their occasional bickering riffing, this film takes itself surprisingly seriously, which is funny in part because it's about the trafficking of exstasy, a drug I don't think is really as dangerous or addictive as heroin or cocaine, the latter of which they probably couldn't get because it's pretty evident that between this film and "Domino," filmmakers Michael Bay and Tony Scott did all of it. Probably off the asses of underage hookers. The other serious the veneer of self-importance amuses is because this film is easily the most ridiculous piece of shit I've ever seen.

What else? Lawrence's character, despite living on a policeman's salary, lives in a mansion. In one really oddly meant-to-be-comic scene, Lawrence also accidentally ingests some X tablets and gets like all high and stuff. It's like sitcom level humor- the pills fly across the room and land in his water glass. Oh, and the scene takes place in a morgue, and Lawrence just like picks up this glass and starts drinking out of it. In a morgue. With dead bodies. Just some random glass that happened to be sitting there. Like, in a morgue. Smith, meanwhile, has a different car in every scene, including a couple of Ferraris and some kind of concept car. His character has a trust fund, you see. So he has multiple Ferraris. Also, what kind of cops are Smith and Lawrence supposed to be anyway? They're going after drugs, gangsters, the Klan, invading Cuba...and they never seem to actually arrest anyone anyway, since they always pretty much just shoot people. And I know this isn't supposed to be a realistic expose of police procedure, but they really seem to bend the rules to the point where they'd probably have long since been kicked off the police force or arrested themselves for gross abuses of suspects' civil rights (kind of ironic for a film about two African-American policemen, and also horrifying).

The list goes on and on. There's a whole subplot at the beginning of the film about Lawrence going through therapy, anger management and some kind of new age men's movement hug therapy stuff, which we discover his and Smith's boss, played by Joe Pantaliano, is also involved in, but it never really goes anywhere. Oh yeah, "Bad Boys 2" is like 2 and a half hours long, so it cycles through several phases of underdeveloped subplots before the main characters, along with a cadre of previously unrevealed Navy SEAL, invade Cuba, which leads to another carchase, cultimating a shootout at the gates of Guantanamo, which is kind of fucked, just generally. There's some other stuff too, that I'm not thinking of. Oh yeah, Lawrence's sister, who is also Smith's girlfriend, is played by Gabrielle Union, and she's supposed to be this high ranking DEA agent, except she's like 20. Oh, and there's also Bug/Let's Go to Prison/Jesus' Son's Michael Shannon as a comic-relief Klan member (because, really, what's funnier than the KKK?) and Fargo/Bruiser's Peter Stomare as an inept Russian gangster.

"Shit just got real."

I really wish I could accurately convey the levels of insanity and inanity that this film reaches, it's wholly a cinematic entity unto itself, slick, stupid and strange and I gotta say, fun as hell. Even so, director Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer are clearly two of the most horrible people in Hollywood and seem not only to have no regard for the concept of cinema as art, but seem to be actively working to destroy it. So, y'know, fuck 'em. But seriously, "Bad Boys 2" is a trip.

Hot Fuzz (Nick Frost & Simon Pegg)

Meanwhile, watch "Hot Fuzz." It doesn't provide the immediate identification found in "Spaced" or "Shaun of the Dead," but it's just as funny, maybe funnier, than either. Meanwhile, I've finally caught up on my favorite UK sitcom "Peep Show" (costarring Olivia Coleman of "Hot Fuzz") which just finished it's fifth season, and, wow, talk about only theatre of pain. I'm rewatching the first four seasons and maybe I'll write something, but if you can get your hands on this stuff, watch it early and often.

Peep Show (David Mitchell & Robert Webb)

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