A DVD REVIEW: BAD BOYS II - SUPERBIT EDITION (Columbia/TriStar) [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


View Full Version : A DVD REVIEW: BAD BOYS II - SUPERBIT EDITION (Columbia/TriStar)

08-22-2005, 12:14 PM
"She doesn't make good choices Mike....she's not street smart.....well, men for one....she's attracted to these....flashy....just.....muscle bound dickheads Mike......cock diesel motha f****as who can't even turn to wipe their own ass.....feel me? Just dumb as a bucket of shrimp......"
-Martin Lawrence, Bad Boys II

You know something friends, I retract my previous statements regarding some of the results I was finding while watching half of this Superbit presentation which I replaced my original two disc Special Edition release for --- and which was already near demo-quality; I was, admittingly, (watching and) listening to the Bad Boys II Superbit DTS version below reference level through my system, and this gave me a bit of a skewed interpretation of the DTS audio mix used here.....upon watching the whole thing from beginning to end last night, at much louder, more forceful levels, I can honestly say that the DTS mix on the Superbit version does up the energy of this soundtrack just a tad----and that was HARD to do because Columbia's original Dolby Digital 5.1 mix sounded just oh so wicked to begin with..........

But before I go into that, let me explain why I believe this was a more effective sequel and why I feel it entertained more than the first film. Michael Bay returned to the director's chair for the sequel, along with his prerequisite Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer special effects production team, and here he has simply pumped up the action (with car chase and destruction sequences perhaps never before seen on celluloid) and the comedic trash talking between Martin Lawrence's and Will Smith's characters beyond what we experienced in the first film; the result is a sequel --- for the first time in a long time in cinema --- that was actually as enjoyable if not moreso (for me personally) than the original. Everything has been taken to the max here --- the lighting-flash editing, the typical Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer exploitation of closeups of gorgeous half naked women, the bodacious hip-hop score (supervised by "P Ditty" Combs; WHATever), the rich, eye-popping colors of the Miami landscape, the gunfights which get downright wild when watching them via the DTS audio option.....to me, THIS (and perhaps Jonathan Mostow's Terminator 3) is what an effective modern-day, check-your-brain-at-the-door summer action blockbuster should be.....to perfection.

While here we have almost an identical setpiece as the first Bad Boys film --- that is, a plot centering around drugs once again, Bay had decided to go ahead and re-team the hilariously effective pair of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith as the trash-talking Miami detectives who just can't seem to leave each other alone with every conversation they have, making the teaming so funny (for some reason, I thought this was more effective than Danny Glover and Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon films). With the success of Bad Boys, it seemed as though a sequel was almost inevitable --- I am uncertain if a third installment is in the works.

This time around, instead of heroin, the drug of target is ecstasy (as Bay seemed to be keeping with the changing times and the nightclub culture all throughout the country when making Bad Boys II) and Bay opens the film pretty brilliantly yet confusingly at the same time, showing us a million different things going on at once --- an Amsterdam lab creating the ecstasy, U.S. Navy and Coast Guard boats chasing a kingpin's load of drugs, and a briefing of a special TNT tactical drug team (lead by Henry Rollins) on a major bust they are attempting to take down. We don't quite know what is going on yet, nor do we even know where Lawrence and Smith are in the scheme of things --- that is, until they show up at a Ku Klux Klan rally which is really a staging ground for a drug dropoff disguised as Klan members.....it's a pretty hilarious scene and opens the film with a bang.

After accidentally shooting Lawrence in the ass during a wild shootout that ensues between the two trash talking cops and their TNT special unit and these Klan members who are really drug runners of some kind, Smith accompanies Lawrence to the hospital, where the typical comedic bantering between these two simply heats up once again and we get an idea where this film is headed. The plot of Bad Boys II can get downright head scratching in certain places where it really shouldn't have been --- and this was a mistake on Bay's behalf because we're watching these films for pure entertainment and to check our brains at the doors....something he didn't seem to understand in certain regards to the plots that develop here. What's worse is that this film is WAY too long for an action picture --- once the film goes in the direction of the guys trying to rescue Lawrence's kidnapped sister, it feels like whole different film has been tacked onto Bad Boys II and was simply unnecessary; it's hard to sit through this one straight through without feeling a little antsy and saying to yourself "this isn't over yet?"

The premise of the plot is this: a cocky ecstasy dealer running what is seemingly the whole trade in Miami of this drug (Jordi Molla) has found a way to run his drugs under the eyes of the law, and that is to put the drugs and cash into coffins and use a mortuary as a hiding place. Lawrence and Smith stumble upon this conspiracy after a high speed chase ensues which involves Lawrence's sister (Gabrielle Union) who is unknowingly working undercover for the CIA and trying to bust Molla themselves. This chase sequence --- which ends on a Florida causeway --- has become the talk of the home theater community, much like the "crane chase sequence" in T3 simply because of its taken-to-the-extreme camera antics during this shoot......as Lawrence and Smith (now driving a silver Ferrari in this) are chasing Jamaican drug dealers who attempt to hijack the "drop" Union's character was supposed to make for the Russian drug dealers she is pretending to launder money for (I know----I told you----it GETS confusing in many areas), one of the wildest chase and destroy scenes you will ever see on film goes down as Smith in his silver Ferrari dodge flying cars which are being flung off a truck by these Jamaican drug dealers --- all while Lawrence's character is busy screaming as cars are flying over Smith's car and Smith is attempting to calm Lawrence down --- the scene is hilarious and breathtaking at the same time because of the car crashes and chaos that's happening onscreen. And in DTS, this scene sounds absolutely real in your living room.

It seems Union's character is caught between two bad places --- being a money launderer (but working undercover for the CIA the whole time) for both a Russian drug lord (played by the Russian cosmonaut in Bay's Armageddon and who also played Lucifer in Constantine) as well as Jordi Molla's character, a ruthless Cuban ecstasy kingpin; when Molla decides to eliminate these Russian "middle men" so he can control the entire drug trade in Miami, Union is forced to work just for him ---- but her cover is eventually blown when Molla finds out her brother and her brother's partner are undercover Miami police detectives trying to bust him before he can run his money and drugs to Cuba. What ensues is a hostage scene, where Molla takes Union captive into Cuba, making the mission become personal for Lawrence because this is his sister --- and, as I said, this part of the film just felt "tacked on" and completely unnecessary, adding too much length to an action film to sit through.

Inbetween this basic plot summary are hilarious antics that transpire between Smith, Lawrence and their police captain (again played sarcastically by Joe Pantoliano), because, frankly, without them, it just wouldn't be a Bad Boys film. Lawrence's character has suddenly become "spiritually enlightened" and feels bad for shooting his victims, which enrages Smith....not to mention the fact that Lawrence's complaining about his job and working with Smith (which gets downright annoying after awhile) leads to his decision of wanting to transfer out from being Smith's partner. There is a downright hysterical scene where Smith and Lawrence take a videotape they confiscated from a Jamaican drug dealer's house to a local audio and video store (and you home theater nuts in here should appreciate this) on a camcorder to see what's on it, and upon entering the store, they are greeted by the store owner's son, who is Caucasian and tries to "relate" to Smith and Lawrence.....he puts the tape on their "central floor model" TV set so the cops can get a look at what's on it (and he makes a reference here to "set you up on the widescreen --- correct ratio" ) and to their shock (and the shock of the other customers in the store) the video has a spot where a girl is getting banged from behind as she is hanging out of a limousine window. The scene is pretty hysterical because before you know it, EVERY screen in this video store is playing the "homemade porno movie" and all the customers can see it -- from there, the scene gets even funnier as Smith and Lawrence go into what they think is a private room in the store, but little do they know that they are being videotaped in here so the whole store can see this, too; their conversation is one of Smith "doing damage to Lawrence's ass" during that initial beginning shootout with the Klan members --- but this is perceived as a homosexual conversation between the two men by the customers in the store and the scene is downright hilarious. There is also a reference during this scene to surround audio, where a geeky salesman informs a couple looking at a "system" that it has "Five Point One Dolby" as he switches something on the remote control, and it sends the conversation Smith and Lawrence are having in this room throughout all the speakers in the store-----the reference is very inaccurate, as it's translated through the surround speakers when playing this scene back on DVD though our OWN surround systems, but aside from that, the overall scene is just a pisser: as Smith and Lawrence are leaving the video store after their "damaged ass" (among other issues) conversation, an African American woman with her children is proclaiming "In front of my babies you got porno and homo shows up in here? What kind of freak ass store is this? And you two motha fu****as need Jesus....." as Smith and Lawrence walk past her. It's hysterical.

Inbetween three car chases in which Smith is driving and Lawrence is in the front seat fearing for his life because of the way Smith drives (including one particularly humorous scene where Michael Bay does a little cameo role driving a beat up car that Smith and Lawrence need in order to chase the guys taking the drugs and money in the coffins to the mortuary, but they end up taking a Cadillac CTS from Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino as he is on a test drive) are different aspects of Bad Boys II that just make it such a good action flick......albeit way too long, as I have said before. After awhile, watching things blow up as Will Smith dodges falling debris while driving 200 miles per hour gets exhausting and it seemed like Bay just didn't know where to quit. Joe Pantoliano is on top of his game here, even more sarcastic and patience-less with Smith and Lawrence than in the first film; there is a very humorous sequence where Lawrence accidentally ingests two tablets of "ex" while they are investigating the inside of a mortuary where Molla is stashing his drugs and money, and upon arriving at Pantoliano's house in order to get a search warrant, Lawrence is already feeling the effects of the drug --- and his behavior gets downright hysterical.

Columbia did an absolutely fantastic job with the original release of this title on DVD, proclaiming it a Special Edition and giving it an extra disc of bonus features; the video transfer was mastered in high definition and the Dolby Digital 5.1 track sounded absolutely pristine and you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between it and a good DTS mix --- it had been one of the most aggressive --- if not THE most aggressive --- Dolby tracks I had ever demo'ed. Knowing this, I was a bit reluctant to replace that version with this Superbit edition but did so because of this sale Best Buy has been running and I was very curious to see how the DTS track in particular would improve upon the Dolby Digital version of the first film, if it did at all. My first impressions, upon only watching about half of the film and not running it really near reference level, was that it sounded just about IDENTICAL to the fiery Dolby Digital mix from the two disc original release.....running the whole film last night at raised volume levels, I received a different impression. Let's take a closer look at audio and video characteristics for this Superbit version of Michael Bay's Bad Boys II.......


As the Superbit "technology" promises via Sony Entertainment, video and audio bitrate performance is supposed to be improved significantly from original versions of these titles --- in the case of Bad Boys II I wonder just how much was in fact improved because the first two disc release boasted a "high definition master" for its 2:40:1 transfer which looked absolutely gorgeous with no flaws whatsoever. THIS transfer exhibits the same qualities on this Superbit edition --- the screen remains grain free and the environmental colors of the Miami landscape are vividly rendered on this version, making me wonder what Columbia meant by "Mastered In High Definition" on the first release of this title because this "Digitally Mastered" transfer on this Superbit version looks just as crisp and clear as the first version did. This can even be considered demo worthy video material.


THIS is the area where I wanted to spend the most time analyzing differences between Columbia's first release of this title and this Superbit edition. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track on the first release was indeed demo quality --- scenes to listen for were the causeway chase where cars are flying all around Smith's Ferrari as well as the shootout scene in the Jamaican drug dealers' house, where bullet fire, car crashes and everything you can imagine simply RIPPED from the entire soundstage. Initially only watching half of the Superbit title since owning it and not running it near reference level for certain reasons at the time, it seemed to my ears that the DTS track on the Superbit version sounded just about identical to the Dolby mix on the first release ---- that was until I CRANKED the volume levels up last night and watched the entire film from beginning to end. The DTS mix definitely improves upon the Dolby mix --- but only slightly; these differences are subtle in certain places, but they ARE there. The shootout sequence between Smith and the Jamaican drug dealers in the pink house sounds absolutely breathtaking in DTS----the bullets seem to explode from the surrounds with more force than on the Dolby version. The causeway chase scene also opens up in DTS --- but, as I said, these differences are not night and day when compared to the original two disc Special Edition's Dolby Digital track and although subtle, they are noticeable as you raise the volume of your setup. LFE seemed a bit tighter and more controlled on the DTS mix --- a common upgrade from Dolby Digital to DTS --- and, of course, the track was a tad bit "hotter" as was to be expected.

This was, unlike The Patriot, not part of Columbia's Superbit DELUXE line of titles, so the disc came devoid of extras of any kind save for scene selections. The video remains razor-sharp and JUST as clean as the two disc original release (again, making me scratch my head as to just what Columbia was talking about with regard to the first release being "mastered in high definition" when there is now this supposedly superior Superbit version out) and the DTS mix does in fact improve the Dolby track by a small margin, so I feel as if in THIS case, I made the right decision in upgrading this title to Superbit (something I didn't really feel with The Patriot) because most of the time I have to be honest with you --- I take Bad Boys II off the shelf just for the sound.......

........and, of course, for that blonde on the beach who walks away in that black thong...........

08-24-2005, 04:10 PM
One other part I felt was ultra funny was the boyfriend coming over to take (Martin) daugther out to the movies. From a dad and former cop the scene is side splitting.

08-25-2005, 09:40 AM
One other part I felt was ultra funny was the boyfriend coming over to take (Martin) daugther out to the movies. From a dad and former cop the scene is side splitting.

ABSOLUTELY AGREED Recovery! I forgot to mention that in the review.....that scene is HILARIOUS as Smith walks over to the door pretending to be drunk and he's like "****, you at least 30....." and Lawrence is like "Are you a virgin? I'd keep it that way....aint gonna be no ****in tonight....." and Smith is like "And if Im there you know what its gonna be----chitty chitty bang bang ***** thats what its gonna be..."