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MOVIE INFO
Synopsis:
Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) is a hen-pecked family man. Mike Lowry (Will Smith) is a footloose 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.

Director:
Michael Bay
Cast:
Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Tea Leoni, Tcheky Karyo, Joe Pantoliano, Theresa Randle
Writing Credits:
George Gallo, Michael Barrie, Jim Mulholland, Doug Richardson

Tagline:
Whatcha gonna do?
Box Office:
Budget $23 million.
Opening weekend $15.5 million.
Domestic gross $65.807 million.
MPAA:
Rated R for intense violent action and pervasive strong language.

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English DTS 5.1
Subtitles:
English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, Thai, Chinese
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 118 min.
Price: $26.95
Release Date: 5/13/2003

Bonus:
• None


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RELATED REVIEWS


Bad Boys: Superbit (1995)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 23, 2003)

Although many disparage their films, I don't apologize because I feel some fondness for the action flicks produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and (prior to his death in 1996) Don Simpson. Yes, these movies often seem silly, loud and superficial, but they don’t pretend to be anything else. They may offer the cinematic equivalent of junk food, but they’re tasty snacks nonetheless.

Only a couple Bruckheimer films leave me totally cold. One of these main exceptions comes from 1995’s Bad Boys. I recall that Boys actually got some pretty positive reviews when it appeared in April 1995, and I got around to seeing it when it hit the local bargain theater. (I was even stingier back then and almost never saw first-run movies.) As I recall, I felt pretty unimpressed with what I witnessed. I didn't think it was a terrible movie, but it seemed to be a pretty perfunctory little "buddy" action picture.

Eight years down the road and nothing has altered that opinion. During this recent screening, Bad Boys still seemed pretty tired and flat. Director Michael Bay attracts many detractors with his music video-influenced style of quick cuts and flashy action, but I don't mind the superficiality of his work because it usually adds to the excitement; his films come across as very stylish and sharp.

That's not the case with Boys. It features the usual Bay components but quite never takes off and becomes thrilling or even very interesting. Boys really should have worked well, as it has potential. From Bay's visual style to the experience of the Bruckheimer/Simpson team to a solid leading cast of Will Smith, Martin Lawrence and Tea Leoni, all of the cogs were in place to make the movie a fun thrill ride.

Alas, it never gets out of the gate. The problem with Boys is that nothing about it seems special and the overall product becomes rather forgettable. Bay's other movies include some real stand-out scenes, but there's nothing in Boys that sticks with me; not one moment in the entire film registered as something memorable. It all feels like one big incoherent mass of mayhem that does nothing to distinguish itself.

At the start of Boys, we meet a pair of Miami narcotics cops. The duo matches sex-deprived family man Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) with wealthy womanizer Mike Lowrey (Will Smith). A gang breaks into a police evidence room and steals about $100 million of heroin confiscated during an arrest executed by Marcus and Mike. Internal Affairs officer Captain Sinclair (Marg Helgenberger) thinks it’s an inside job, and the cops have about 72 hours to clean house before the feds intervene. Their boss Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano) puts Mike and Marcus on the case.

Mike asks working girl Maxine (Karen Alexander) to keep an eye out for newly rich dudes who seek a good time. When her madam Lois (Heather Davis) receives a call for hookers at a hotel party, Max gets the job, and she brings along her non-prostitute pal Julie (Tea Leoni) as company. Former cop Eddie Dominguez (Emmanuel Xuereb) brings them in, but the crime boss Fouchet (Tcheky Karyo) disapproves of his conduct. He knocks off Eddie and Max. Julie witnesses this, so she becomes an integral part of the investigation. She escapes and contacts Mike because he’s the only one she’ll trust. However, Mike’s not in the office, so Captain Howard makes Marcus impersonate him to reel in Julie.

From there, Marcus needs to continue to impersonate Mike as Julie stays in the latter’s apartment. Mike goes to stay with Marcus’ family while he pretends to go out of town. According to Julie, they have a few days before the drug deal goes down, so they need to protect and rein in a revenge-minded Julie and find Fouchet and company while they still can.

The leads are always fairly engaging and likable. It now feels odd to see Lawrence billed over Smith; in the ensuing years, Lawrence clearly demonstrated some box office appeal, but Smith became a major star who won't often be second-billed to anyone. In any case, the two create a decent chemistry and add what little life the movie possesses.

I also find Leoni to be an interesting actress. She presents as something of a female counterpart to Jeff Goldblum; she uses a lot of unusual line readings that could be annoying but usually are pleasantly quirky. Leoni has little to do in the film, but it doesn't appear that way because she makes the most of her time onscreen and enlivens the proceedings with her presence.

Unfortunately, that's not enough to make Bad Boys anything more than a vaguely watchable but "by the numbers" action flick. We've seen it before, and we've seen it better. I've read a number of other reviews of Boys and it's clear that it maintains a pretty strong following, but I honestly don't get it; it's the kind of shallow and hollow affair that folks usually accuse Bruckheimer and Bay of making.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+ / Audio A- / Bonus F

Bad Boys appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This Superbit version offered the movie’s third DVD release. First we got a movie-only disc from 1997, and then a special edition came out in 2000. With Bad Boys 2 about to hit screens, Columbia-Tristar went to the well a third time for this Superbit DVD.

I thought the special edition already looked very good, so I didn’t observe a whole of room for improvement here. The Superbit release proved to look nicely sharp and distinct. The movie suffered from virtually no instances of softness as it constantly appeared tight and well defined. I encountered no problems due to jagged edges or moiré effects, but some mild haloes manifested themselves at times. Though print flaws stayed minor, they did crop up at times. Mostly they stemmed from some sporadic speckles; those didn’t appear constantly, but they created occasional distractions.

As expected, Bay infused Bad Boys 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 looked deep and rich, but some slight problems with shadow detail occurred. Mostly the lighting didn’t seem to adequately accommodate the dark-skinned actors. Since both leads fell into that category, the darkness of many low-light scenes made it more difficult to discern the actors than expected. I thought Bad Boys displayed too many problems to earn more than a “B+”, but I felt the majority of the movie looked very good.

The Superbit DVD shared the same Dolby Digital 5.1 audio heard on the prior two discs, and it added a DTS 5.1 mix as well. The main differences I noticed between the pair stemmed from the fact the DTS version sounded louder. At first, it seemed to display slightly stronger bass, but when I compensated for the volume variances, the two came across as very similar.

The soundfield appeared extremely active from start to finish. All five channels received a nice workout and manifested a lot of useful material. The film’s many action sequences demonstrated the most impressive material, of course, as these showed terrific range and spread. Cars and bullets zipped convincingly around the spectrum and the whole package blended together neatly. The various channels received fine attention and created a realistic and involving setting.

Audio quality seemed solid for the most part. Speech came across as natural and accurate, and I noticed no issues related to intelligibility or edginess. Music was broad and bright as well, as the score and songs demonstrated crisp highs and deep lows. Most of the effects sounded vivid and dynamic, but a few exceptions occurred. While the majority of the elements were aggressively loud and forceful, gun battles occasionally sounded a little feeble and lackluster. The track packed a tremendous punch otherwise, so even with those exceptions, the audio of Bad Boys presented a fine piece.

So far the Superbit DVD of Bad Boys seemed pretty similar to the prior special edition release. Where it varied from that package related to its extras. The 2000 package included lots of good supplements and earned a “B+” from me in that department. Unfortunately, the Superbit set omitted all of these features.

Because of that, I must continue to steer fans toward the special edition release of Bad Boys. For me, I think the movie fails to work terribly well. It offers some decent action and gags but it doesn’t create much of a distinctive personality for itself, and the whole feels like less than the sum of its parts. The DVD presents very good picture and sound but lacks any supplements.

The Superbit version of Bad Boys may have tightened up the image slightly, but to these eyes, the two look very similar, and I noticed no distinct improvements for the new edition. Despite the addition of a DTS soundtrack, the audio remains very consistent as well. Since the Superbit edition doesn’t seem to look or sound decidedly better than the special edition release and it loses the earlier set’s extras, that one remains the best version for fans of Bad Boys.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.7727 Stars Number of Votes: 22
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