This series focuses on the one and only Michael Bay. Attempting to deconstruct his filmography, one film at a time. The ideas explored here may or may not end up in my Dissertation about Michael Bay and Post-Cinema.
And to answer the question: Does it ever rain in a Michael Bay movie?
“You ain’t seen BAD BOYS II?!?”
That’s it. Thats the introduction.
After PEARL HARBOR, I almost feel like Michael Bay returned to BAD BOYS II just so he could go fully unhinged. There is racism, homophobia, rampant sexism, total disregard for anybody living or dead.
The KKK sequence at the start features pretty much all of Michael Bays bags of tricks. the violence is cartoonish, the one-liners pretty much become a conversation between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and every shot seems to be the most important shot ever made. The low-angle shot of Will Smith throwing off the KKK robes with a burning cross in the background, his arms aloft in a crucifiction pose guns ready to fire, is perhaps the best Bay shot ever.
Michael Bay turns Miami into a warzone. The car chase that follows has real things, crashing into real things. I have spoken in the past about the realness, and tangibility of the action sequences that Bay directs and this is none more evident in this car chase. The frenetic editing, short shot lengths, varying shot types in a seemingly random order, just create this chaos that with any other director would seem incomprehensible. But with Bay its normality.
The comedy is exagerrated, adolescent, and in places very, very cruel. There is a sequence where a 15 year old boy is verbally abused just for wanting to go out on a first date with Marcus’ daughter. And then they gloat about how awesome it was. The comedic to-and-fro between the two leads is juvenile bickering, for some its grating, for others it’s genuinely funny.
About 90 minutes in there is a car chase (another one), where Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett follow a van which is stacked with dead bodies. After the van doors fly open, bodies fly out, getting run over, and decapitated. This is almost surreal filmmaking, I am amazed this made it past the scriptwriting stage. Yes its an R-rated blockbuster, but this is just insane.
When driving through a shanty town with a Hummer, blowing up every building, I couldn’t help but think of POLICE STORY. But this is more than a homage, this is America driving through Cuba without a care for anyone else. Much like America in 2003.
I have read numerous takes on BAD BOYS II that mostly come to the conclusion that this is an exhausting, long arduous slog. This is an exhausting film to watch, I’d grant you that. But this is Michael Bay at his most unhinged.
Does it rain? I am amazed to say that it does.