Bad Boys II appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The film nearly offered an “A”-level transfer, but one of the usual suspects kept it from that status.
What was the main problem I observed? Edge enhancement. Those haloes never became overwhelming, but they showed up consistently throughout the movie and created some small distractions. Otherwise, the image looked great. Sharpness was always tight and well defined. I noticed virtually no instances of softness in this accurate and detailed presentation. I saw no concerns with jagged edges or shimmering, and print flaws seemed totally absent.
As expected, Bay infused Bad Boys II with a highly stylized palette. The DVD demonstrated solid reproduction of those tones. From the warm “golden hour” look seen during many daytime scenes to the cold blues that marked night shots, hues came across as tight and precise. Black levels were dark and rich, and shadow detail came across as concise and well developed. The latter marked an improvement from the first film; at that time, Bay seemed to light poorly for the dark-skinned actors, but no such concerns appeared here. Overall, the transfer appeared very good except for the mildly distracting edge enhancement.
On the other hand, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Bad Boys II suffered from no relative problems. Instead, it gave us the kind of slam-bang mix that one would anticipate from a loud action flick like this. The soundfield used all five channels to great effect. Since the film poured on the raucous set pieces, the track got more than a few opportunities to shine, and it lived up to expectations. Elements always seemed accurately placed and they meshed together smoothly. The surrounds contributed good ambience during the rare quiet scenes, and they kicked into overdrive during the many loud ones. Check out the extended car chase at around the half an hour mark to find some vivid and involving audio. Cars zoomed all over the spectrum, bullets flew, and the piece created a great sense of action.
Audio quality also seemed positive. Speech was always natural and distinctive, and I noticed no concerns connected to edginess or intelligibility. Music often got subsumed to the action pieces, but the score and songs nonetheless came across as lively and well reproduced, with a good presentation of dynamics. Effects were accurate and detailed. They seemed firmly displayed and showed great punch. All those elements were tight and concise, and they never suffered from any distortion. Overall, Bad Boys II gave us an excellent soundtrack.
Michael Bay’s film always get good treatment on DVD. In fact, the four-disc version of Pearl Harbor stands as one of a small handful of the best DVDs every made. Bad Boys II offers some nice features, but it doesn’t reach those heights.
Almost everything appears on disc two, which means one major disappointment: no audio commentary from Bay. For prior flicks, he consistently offered insightful, provocative and entertaining tracks, so I missed the presence of a commentary here. The first disc only includes some trailers. We find ads for Bad Boys, Bad Boys II, Once Upon a Time In Mexico, Radio, SWAT, the animated Spider-Man, The Missing, and Underworld.
As we examine DVD Two, we open with seven deleted scenes. Given the movie’s bloated running time, I didn’t think there could be any unused footage. In any case, the excised clips all remain quite short. They run between 30 seconds and 115 seconds for a total of seven minutes, seven seconds. Unsurprisingly, none of these snippets seems very interesting.
Next we find two featurettes. Stunts runs nine minutes, 27 seconds and mixes movie snippets, behind the scenes footage, and comments from director Bay, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, stunt coordinators Andy Gill and Steve Picerni, and special effects supervisor John Frazier. This quick show basically offers an overview of various stunt topics that I expect will receive greater coverage later. It stands as an effective sampler, though, as we get a nice feel for some of the film’s challenges.
The second featurette concentrates on Visual Effects. It lasts 18 minutes and 36 seconds as it uses the same format as “Stunts”. We hear from Bay and visual effects supervisor Rob Legato. Another good sampler, this one moves through situations like car chases and special bullet effects to give us a nice demonstration of various computer-created techniques. We go through the steps well in this useful program.
After this we get a music video for Jay-Z’s “La-La-La”. Mostly just the usual combination of movie bits and lip-syncing, neither the song nor the video offer anything particularly compelling.
In the Sequence Breakdowns area we focus on six different segments. Each of these allow us to examine the scenes in various ways. Every one of them presents the final sequence from the movie, “On the Set” footage, “Storyboards”, and pages from the “Script”. When I looked at the different parts, the amount of “On the Set” footage varied between three minutes, two seconds and 10 minutes, 26 seconds for a total of 38 minutes and 42 seconds. These indeed present raw footage from the set – very raw much of the time, as you’ll hear quite a lot of profanity when things go wrong.
DVDs for Bay flicks often include material like this, and these segments remain a breath of fresh air. Whereas most productions try to make out everything to be happy happy, joy joy, Bay’s not afraid to let us see the rougher side of things. Indeed, he comes across like a pushy prick on occasion as he shouts things like “keep fuckin’ moving, guys – keep fuckin’ moving!” The presentation also adds text to explain things when necessary, which helps make the pieces more educational. Overall, we find lots of great images from the production and get a fine feel for how things went on the set.
The number of “Storyboards” ranged from 10 to 221 for a sum of 489 images. The “Script” pages filled between one and 14 screens for a total of 36 pages. These help us flesh out the creation fo the different scenes, but they’re not nearly as much fun as the “On the Set” footage.
The final domain of the DVD presents 19 Production Diaries. These segments last between 108 seconds and seven minutes, 50 seconds for a total of 66 minutes and 36 seconds of footage. That’s 66.6 minutes, which may mean Bay is the anti-Christ! The components mostly show footage from the set, but we also get a fair number of interview snippets as well. These include comments from Bay, Bruckheimer, actors Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Yul Vazquez, Joe Pantoliano, Jordi Molla, Gabrielle Union, Dan Marino, and Peter Stormare, law enforcement advisor Bill Erfurth, military and technical advisor Harry Humphries, stunt coordinators Andy Gill and Steve Picerni, property owner Eric Cherry, and special effects supervisor John Frazier.
The programs start with a diary that reflects on the first movie, and they then trace various elements of the production. We watch the actors’ training for the TNT team and examine behind the scenes elements of many other components. We also check out lots of raw dailies, which let us see multiple outtakes. As with the prior “Breakdowns”, these remain nicely fresh and honest. Actually, a little bit of fluffiness emerges on occasion, but much less than usual, and the segments generally seem informative and enjoyable. You’ll learn a lot about the making of the film in these entertaining and well-made clips.
Too bad Bad Boys II itself wasn’t as interesting. The movie pours on the high-priced mayhem but never delivers a compelling story, intriguing characters, or anything else that would turn it into a stimulating action flick. The DVD works well, however, as it offers positive picture, excellent audio, and some terrific extras, even without the usual audio commentary. If you’re a fan of Bad Boys II, I whole-heartedly aim you towards this disc, but others should skip it and check out one of Michael Bay’s better films instead. (That’d be all of them - Boys II is unquestionably the director’s worst.)