Bad Boys (1995)

The 100 Films Guide to…

Bad Boys

Whatcha gonna do?

Country: USA
Language: English
Runtime: 119 minutes
BBFC: 18
MPAA: R

Original Release: 7th April 1995 (USA)
UK Release: 16th June 1995
Budget: $19 million
Worldwide Gross: $141.1 million

Stars
Martin Lawrence (Blue Streak, Big Momma’s House)
Will Smith (Six Degrees of Separation, Independence Day)
Téa Leoni (Deep Impact, Jurassic Park III)
Tcheky Karyo (Nikita, GoldenEye)
Joe Pantoliano (Empire of the Sun, Memento)

Director
Michael Bay (Armageddon, Transformers)

Screenwriters
Michael Barrie & Jim Mulholland (Amazon Women on the Moon, Oscar)
Doug Richardson (Die Hard 2, Hostage)

Story by
George Gallo (Midnight Run, The Whole Ten Yards)


The Story
When millions of dollars’ worth of heroine is stolen from police evidence, the two cops that brought it in must find the thieves and retrieve the drugs, while also protecting the only surviving witness who’s seen the crooks.

Our Heroes
Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowery, a pair of wisecracking cop buddies, one a family man with a wife and kids, the other a smooth womaniser. Never seen that before.

Our Villain
Drug lord Fouchet. Murder happy and clearly a master at planning heists. Other than that, we barely get to know him.

Best Supporting Character
A witness to some of Fouchet’s crimes, Julie ends up in witness protection with Marcus, who she thinks is Mike, which they have to hide from Marcus’ family. Hilarity ensues!

Memorable Quote
Mike Lowrey: “Now back up, put the gun down, and get me a pack of Tropical Fruit Bubblicious.”
Marcus Burnett: “And some Skittles.”

Memorable Scene
After a shoot-out at the airport, Fouchet escapes in a sports car. Marcus, Mike, and Julie give chase, with the normally slow Marcus driving, as they find themselves in a game of chicken with the concrete crash barriers at the end of the runway…

Making of
Bad Boys was a relatively low-budget production, but, fortunately for director Michael Bay’s ambitions, he was already a wealthy man from directing commercials and music videos — so when the budget ran out before shooting a key part of the climax, he was able to pay for it out of his salary; and when they needed a swish car for the heroes to drive, Bay lent his own Porsche 911 to the production.

Next time…
A sequel came eight years later, with a third in on-and-off development ever since — the last news seems to be that it might start shooting later this year. Definitely in the works this year is a spin-off series based around a character from the second film.

Verdict

The debut feature from director Michael Bay, Bad Boys displays a lot of the things he would become known for: fast-cut action scenes; a sense of style over substance; a little light lasciviousness… Even from his first film, some of his flourishes look over the top. Maybe they’ve just aged badly — it certainly feels of its time, i.e. the mid-’90s (with some ’80s holdovers). Anyway, it’s kept aloft by the buddy act of its two stars, who are pretty funny at times. Bay allows the film to run a mite too long though, and the villain is underdeveloped, both of which hold it back even more than Bay’s sometimes-cheesy direction.

Flirting with Disaster (1996)

2014 #112
David O. Russell | 88 mins | TV | 1.85:1 | USA / English | 15 / R

Flirting with DisasterDavid O. Russell’s second feature sees adoptee Ben Stiller go on a kerazee road trip to find his birth parents, accompanied by dissatisfied wife Patricia Arquette and kooky adoption agency psychologist Téa Leoni, along the way bumping into Arquette’s high school crush (Josh Brolin) and his husband (Richard Jenkins). Cue an almost-PG-13 sex comedy told among sketch-like encounters with quirky people who turn out to not be Stiller’s folks.

Despite a bitty structure, it’s a pretty amusing farce, with a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Now merely a footnote in the filmographies of everyone involved, it deserves a degree of rediscovery.

4 out of 5

In the interests of completing my ever-growing backlog, I decided to post ‘drabble reviews’ of some films. For those unfamiliar with the concept, a drabble is a complete piece of writing exactly 100 words long. You’ve just read one.

Ghost Town (2008)

2010 #37
David Koepp | 98 mins | TV | 12 / PG-13

Before I come to write a review, I tend to check out the sort of scores it’s received at a few different sites. This isn’t to help form my opinion, but actually just a side effect of the fact I go to places to rate the films myself. What one usually encounters is some degree of discrepancy, be it as little as half a mark or as large as several. As you may have guessed, Ghost Town is going to prove the exception: on IMDb, both the DVD and the Blu-ray on LOVEFiLM, and FilmJournal’s own Slate Scrawl, Ghost Town is a three-and-a-half-out-of-five film.*

As some readers may have noticed, I don’t do half-stars, which means Ghost Town must in my eyes become either a three-star or a four-star effort. Which for once is a little irritating, because Ghost Town really is a three-and-a-half-out-of-five kind of film.

This is the point at which it becomes apparent I have far more to say about my arbitrary assessment of the film’s reception than the film itself. It’s a gently amusing affair, with little that’s especially memorable but is absolutely fine while it goes about its business. Many scenes may raise a smile or a giggle, but little more than that. Scenes of hospital bureaucracy, for example, are amusing because we can identify with the legal-technicalities-to-the-point-of-silliness that it plays upon, but it’s both a familiar target and perhaps pushed a little too far.

The high-concept at the film’s centre — that Ricky Gervais sees dead people and doesn’t want to — is neat enough. It largely sticks to its rules, it manages a few moments of humour, it doesn’t get too repetitive, it often plays the most obvious card (someone thinks Ricky’s talking to them when he’s actually talking to a ghost! Oh, my sides.) And Gervais, as you’re no doubt aware, plays himself. He doesn’t do characters but variations on a theme, and while this means he’ll never be a good actor per se, he can fulfil such characters very competently.

Ghost Town won’t have you fighting back tears of laughter (unless you’re particularly undiscerning), but it also won’t have you wondering where they left the humour (unless you’re particularly discerning). It’s quite amiable, quite pleasant, a little above average. It’s three-and-a-half-out-of-five.

3 out of 5

The half star’s a ghost. Only Ricky Gervais can see it.

Ghost Town is on BBC One tonight, 28th April 2015, at 11:55pm.


* If you cast the net further afield this collapses, but shh, that’d ruin my point. (Though read the actual review quotes on that link and you begin to wonder how accurate a meter that particular fruit/vegetable-based system is.) And besides, this particular four-way alignment is still rare enough that I find it worth commenting on, especially as IMDb’s out-of-100 system lands it with an exact 7.0. OK, so this is ultimately a largely-meaningless selection of averaged-out and individual opinion, but again, shh, you’re spoiling my point. ^