Bad Boys appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though the transfer had some strong moments, it also came with more weaknesses than expected.
Sharpness seemed erratic. Some scenes displayed very good delineation, but others appeared a bit soft and fuzzy. Those tendencies weren’t dominant, but they created distractions. Moiré effects and jagged edges caused no concerns, and I noticed no edge haloes. The print betrayed only a few flaws; I saw a handful of small marks but nothing much.
Colors tended to be a bit heavy. The movie went with dense tones to fit the hot Miami setting, and I thought they were acceptable but a bit too thick.
Black levels looked deep and rich, but some problems with shadow detail occurred. These seemed to stem from Hollywood's oft-noted weakness when it comes to lighting people with dark skin; I still remember an old Eddie Murphy routine on the subject. You'd think that since the two stars of the film were black they'd make the necessary allowances, but that's often not the case, and Smith and Lawrence occasionally vanished into the night. It's not a terrible problem, but it did occur. This ended up as a “B-“ presentation.
I was more pleased by the film's DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. One expects a slam-bang audio experience from a Simpson/Bruckheimer shoot-em-up like this, and the mix usually delivered. The soundfield often was very encompassing and rich, with all five speakers providing useful and realistic audio detail. Sounds were nicely localized and panned well between the channels.
Audio quality seemed generally strong as well, with only a few exceptions. Dialogue appeared warm and natural, with no problems related to intelligibility. Music seemed clear and concise, with bright and broad tones, and effects were largely realistic and clean; very little distortion came through during the film.
Dynamic range usually appeared terrific, with some deep bass at times, but some scenes came across as curiously flat. These were rare, but during a couple of the many gun battles, I felt that the audio packed a surprisingly meek punch. Even with those exceptions, the track still worked well, though the small concerns kept Bad Boys from possibly rating higher than its "B+".
The Blu-ray provides a modest set of supplements. First up is an audio commentary from director Michael Bay. He provides a running, screen-specific look at cast and performances, sets and locations, action and stunts, effects, story/characters and connected elements.
On the negative side, the commentary suffers from a fair amount of dead air. Bay doesn’t vanish for super-long periods of time, be we get more empty spots than expected.
When Bay does speak, however, he offers a pretty terrific look at the movie. Relentlessly frank, Bay gives us an unvarnished take on the production, and he doesn’t shy away from stories about problems that he experienced. Most directors ladle out the happy talk, but Bay prefers to go in the opposite direction, and that helps make this a fascinating chat.
A featurette called Putting the Boom and the Bang in Bad Boys appears here. It runs 23 minutes, 54 seconds and primarily examines the action effects side of making the film. We hear from Bay, pyrotechnicians Anthony Simonaitis and Mike Meinardus, weapons handler Mike Papic, and actors Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.
Although I would have liked to learn more about the production’s creative side, this program gives us a good "nuts and bolts" look at an underexamined side of movie magic: the use of guns and pyrotechnics. After all, we often hear a lot about computer graphics and other more fantastical work, but we don't usually see a close examination of this kind of real-world mayhem. The piece offers a pretty interesting take on the subject matter.
Bad Boys features three music videos. The most interesting is the first: "Shy Guy" by Diana King. For the most part, this is a pretty standard video for a song from a movie. It shows King as she lip-synchs the song, and her parts are intercut with clips from the movie itself.
The video stands as more compelling than most because both Smith and Lawrence appear in footage specifically shot for the promo, in both introductory and fadeout bits plus some pieces that pop up sporadically throughout the song. It's not a great video, but it's mildly enjoyable.
It certainly tops the other two videos. "So Many Ways" by Warren G. is a very standard affair; it combines the usual film clips with dull shots of Mr. G. as he performs. Yawn!
Still, I'll take bland over obnoxious, which is why "Five O, Five O (Here They Come)" by 69 Boyz featuring K-Nock is easily the worst of the three videos. It's a genuinely annoying song in the tradition of junk like "Whoomp! There It Is" and the video - which alters the usual lip-synch/movie clip formula by having the performers dance and sing over a video background - made me wish I could perform my own firearms demonstration on my TV. Avoid it at all costs.
A few ads appear under Previews. It throws in promos for Casino Royale (2006), Men in Black, Ghostbusters, Hancock, Armored, Harry Brown, Wild Things: Foursome, Unthinkable, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, Youth in Revolt and Black Dynamite. No trailer for Bad Boys shows up here.
Despite my affection for dopey action films, I simply have never found much to like about Bad Boys. The overall level of the production seems decent but it lacks any particularly special elements to make it noteworthy. The Blu-ray offers erratic visuals, good audio and a smattering of supplements. This becomes a decent representation of a sporadically entertaining movie.
To rate this film, visit the Superbit review of BAD BOYS