Four thousand, eight hundred and forty three days ago, Bad Boys II — the greatest action comedy romance thriller-mentary in cinematic history — hit theaters to universal acclaim. Anniversaries this important don’t come around often. As such, the internet will likely flood the zone with think pieces, oral histories, and celebrity tweet roundups honoring Michael Bay’s staggering artistic achievement. This won’t be the most profound, or most touching, or even the most reverential homage you’ll read today; I lack the skill and higher plane of existence necessary to properly capture the film’s emotional heft and cultural resonance. But it will be the most passionate. Can a sea turtle adequately communicate his love for rare Cézanne? No. But he can try. He can try.
Look, man, politics has dominated my keyboard for two months and I want to write about something enjoyable for once, OK? Read it or don’t.
• The plot, to the extent one exists, involves Will Smith (Mike Lowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwrey) and Martin Lawrence (Marcus Burnett) going after a Miami Ecstasy kingpin named Johnny Tapia. Burnett’s sister, Syd (Gabrielle Union), is a DEA agent working undercover as a money launderer in Tapia’s organization. She’s also secretly dating Lowrey. Other important plot points include absolutely nothing because the entire script is designed as an action sequence delivery system. You might interpret this as a knock against the film. This is because you lack the sophistication required to appreciate 150 minutes of ceaseless carnage. Bad Boys II is all that’s good and decent in this world. It’s polling at 27 percent in Utah. It is joy personified.
• Well, except that it’s socially regressive at every possible turn. Smith attends counseling solely to fuck his sexpot therapist. Lawrence ogles a cadaver’s breasts. The duo endlessly insults their fellow Latino officers using various racial jokes. At one point, after Lawrence’s character flashes his badge and tells an armed robber to pull over, Lowrey turns to him, incredulous, and says “Your badge? He has a gun. Shoot him!” Impossible to hear that line today and even consider chuckling.
• Oh, in case you’re wondering how Lowrey resolves the aforementioned situation: he calmly grabs the fully automatic assault weapon tucked in the back of his $300,000 Ferrari, speeds toward the dozen heavily armed baddies, yanks the e-brake to send the car into a 360-degree spin so he can fire the entire clip into the crowd from the driver’s side window one-handed. The best part? He only takes out a single guy. Then screams, “Now show ‘em your badge!” Few big-budget action films contain stupider scenes. I get hard just thinking about it.
• The first-act car chase is mesmerizing. Pharmaceutical companies should invest their entire R&D budget into extracting its essence and placing it into pill form as a cure for erectile dysfunction. A flawless four minutes. Hey, why can’t a 500-horsepower supercar catch an 18-wheeler loaded to the brim with a dozen 5-ton automobiles, you ask? If this question comes to mind while watching this exhilarating sequence, understand that you’re a friendless asshole who probably pays with a check at the grocery store. Just know that.
• Here’s what happened when I rewatched the chase for this piece:
WIFE: “Hey, hon, it’s getting late can you please feed [REDACTED]?”
ME: “I’M WATCHING THE CAR CHASE IN BAD BOYS II YOU KNOW BETTER THAN TO INTERRUPT ME DURING THIS!”
WIFE: “Our daughter needs to eat dinner, you idiot.”
ME: “BEENIE MAN IS THROWING CARS AT A FERRARI GOING 120 MPH DOWN A MIAMI FREEWAY IT’S TIME FOR HER TO LEARN TO FEED HERSELF!”
WIFE: “I want a divorce.”
ME: “THE MOTHERFUCKING BOAT IS SPINNINNNNNNNNNN ARE YOU SEEING THIS?!?!”
• Peter Stormare shows up. He has Chiclet teeth and a cartoonish Russian accent and says things like “I’m the Russian grim reaper” for no reason. Actually, there’s a reason: because fuck you he’s Peter Stormare and he’ll do whatever he wants. He could walk on set with a live groundhog tied to his dick, demand to shoot all his scenes in black and white, and Bay wouldn’t just agree, he’d pay him more for the idea. Stormare got it like that.
• Here is some real dialogue from Bad Boys II:
SMITH: “We have a mic in the house.”
UNION: “You have a warrant for that wire?”
LAWRENCE: “Fuck all that.”
Marcus Burnett thinks about the Patriot Act while fucking his wife.
• Late in the film Lowrey, Burnett and 43 other cops raid a mortuary where Tapia stores his cadaver mules (he transports the Ecstasy inside dead bodies). They burst in to find the place empty. Lowrey gets on his radio to ask the spotters if anyone left the funeral home in the last few hours. The response: “A four hearse funeral just left. We trailed them to Miami Harbor.” Perhaps this information would have been good to know before the assault team arrived, there, Guy Whose Only Job It Is To Watch and Report What Happens at This Mortuary?
ME: “Hey man, did you feed my cat while I was on vacation?”
WORLD’S WORST LOOKOUT: “Yeah. Well, through Wednesday anyway.”
ME: “Why only though Wednesday?”
WORLD’S WORST LOOKOUT: “Oh, because I accidentally burned your house down Thursday morning. Cat was inside.”
• Michael Shannon is in this movie, playing a one-eared Klansman who is coerced into helping Lowrey and Burnett track down a boat. How do two black cops get a Trump voter to do them a solid? By taking a photo of him with a smiling Lawrence and threatening to send it to every Klansman in the panhandle. As Smith emphasizes, it’s a digital photo, which means they can manipulate it using Photoshop 1.0. “By the time we’re done with you,” Lowrey says, “you’re gonna be in the next Busta Rhymes video on BET.” It’s a funny line, but the number of dated references is staggering. Wonder how this would play today? “By the time we’re done with you, you’re gonna be an extra in Young Thug’s visual album streaming live on his Vevo channel.”
• Here’s another line from Bad Boys II:
SMITH: “At three o’clock sharp the bag of cats and iguanas goes over the fence.”
• The Reggie scene. Holy shit the Reggie scene. Why Smith and Lawrence spend three minutes of a two and a half hour film viciously berating and waving a gun at a high school kid who’s come to date Lawrence’s daughter isn’t even worth considering. It’s like asking why Michelangelo decided to paint the Sistine Chapel. Perfection absolves explanation. My friends and I still use, “Shit, you at least 30” multiple times a week.
• This is how Will Smith answers his phone in this movie: “YO IT’S LOWREY, YOU HOT!” Everyone should answer their phone/door/mail this way. There’s no excuse not to. YO IT’S DEGRASSE TYSON, YOU HOT! YO IT’S SCHINDLER, YOU HOT! YO, IT’S NOSTRADAMUS, YOU HOT…YES OF COURSE I KNOW WHO THIS IS!
• Obviously, Tapia discovers Union’s character is a DEA agent in the third act and spirits her off to Cuba as a hostage. Some Limp-Dicked Empty Suit Bureaucrat who probably pays his taxes like a loser and never cheats on his wife gives Lowrey and Burnett some jibberjabber about trying to work back-channel contacts in hopes of finding a diplomatic solution. Pussy. His endless bullshit about laws and international sovereignty and other things clearly don’t apply to baller-ass cops or their ex-Delta Force buddies who agree to accompany them on an illegal invasion literally within seconds of being introduced. This scene makes me weep with joy.
• Is this Billy Zane? I’ve wondered for 13 years. I want to think this is Billy Zane so if it isn’t don’t tell me, OK?
• Lowrey, Burnett, and their HGH-laden crew — all of whom are now international criminals facing immediate arrest the second they return to American soil — reach Cuba and post up in a safe house that’s literally directly across the street from Tapia’s mansion. Makes total sense. Lawrence’s character, perhaps verbalizing a script note, asks their Cuban contact (Tito) why the hell they’re right next door to the bad guy’s crib and the answer is the most insane thing in a movie that already belongs in a straightjacket: “It’s the last place they’d look.” NO IT FUCKING ISN’T! They know what you look like! Marcus’ sister was kidnapped solely because Tapia’s crew made Smith and Lawrence as cops. And now you’re hiding out in a pad Tapia can see from his bedroom window? EVEN THE GUY WHO SHIT THE BED ON FUNERAL WATCH DUTY COULD FIND YOU!
• Speaking of, the conversation between Marcus and Tito takes place OUTSIDE IN BROAD DAYLIGHT ON A BALCONY ATTACHED TO A HOUSE THAT AGAIN IS LESS THAN A BASEBALL THROW AWAY FROM TAPIA’S COMPOUND! FUCK, THIS MOVIE IS AWESOME!
• Maybilly Zane kills half a soccer team with an exploding toy. The other half took dives, holding their ankles and screaming until everyone lost interest. Then they ran away.
• Bad Boys II concludes — and this is all true — with Smith, Lawrence, and Union driving down the side of a mountain through favelas in a yellow Hummer in a frantic race to Guantanamo Bay. The Navy, after riddling the Hummer with hundreds of bullets as it crashes through the base fence, sits back while armed assailants try to murder each other on a mine-strewn beach. Union kills Tapia’s top henchmen by throwing a gun on a mine — you know she planned this because she says “I’m going to throw my gun right next to the mine” as she throws the gun right next to the mine — creating an opening for Lawrence to put a bullet through Tapia’s dome. A poetic, tasteful, intimate finale.
Bad Boys II is on Netflix. You should quit your job and watch it right now.