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Bad Boys I & II – 20th Anniversary Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Bad-BoysSony Pictures Home Entertainment celebrates a momentous milestone for a wildly popular and influential action franchise with the release of BAD BOYS I & II: 20thANNIVERSARY COLLECTION on Blu-ray and Digital HD Nov. 10.  Directed by Michael Bay (Transformers franchise), both films star two-time Best Actor Academy Award®nominee Will Smith (Ali, 2001; The Pursuit of Happyness, 2006) and Martin Lawrence (Big Momma’s House franchise) as loose cannon narcotics detectives solving major crimes in Miami with action and humor. Bad Boys II is making its Blu-ray debut.  Both blockbuster films are fully remastered in 4K and will be available as part of a two-movie Blu-ray set, complete with pristine high definition picture and booming lossless audio.

Bad Boys 3

Bad Boys 

One hundred million dollars’ worth of confiscated drugs has just been jacked from police custody. Once the career bust of Detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, the missing drugs now threaten to shut down the Narcotics Division of the Miami Police Department. When the drug investigation turns deadly, the murderers kidnap the only witness, a beautiful police informant and close friend of the boys.

This 90s action classic was a breakout film for many involved.  Michael Bay makes his directorial debut here and began changing the game in the world of action blockbusters that were a staple since the late 1980s.  Both Martin Lawrence and Will Smith were on the rise to becoming big stars.  They were making the jump from sitcom stars to multiplex names above the title on a marquee.  With this first movie there is a grand sense of cool and calm confidence from a bunch of newcomers that feels almost veteran like.  “Act like you’ve been here” is a popular term thrown around by coaches and fans in sports nowadays, but it truly applies to this film.

Bad Boys is a film that will still engage you on the level it did back in 1995, but also take you on a nostalgic trip with some of the style choices and music displayed on the film’s soundtrack.  It can’t really help it, the film was a hip thing in its time and that will happen.  Will Smith and Martin Lawrence make for one hell of a duo with great screen chemistry.  Its a shame that they have only made two movies together.  However, this film also kind of works on the level of a trio, as Tea Leoni really gets in there and is able to romp with our two leads when shes’s involved in the action.  And there are a lot of other people that get in on the fun too, like Joe Pantoliano, who is clearly making a parody of every cop boss captured on celluloid in the 1980s.

For as successful as the film was, I still think its underrated.  I personally didn’t catch the film until it hit VHS on the home market.  At the time of release, maybe this wasn’t a popular choice with adult movie-goers who liked the action blockbusters back then, but this one maybe spoke more to the younger viewers.  Those of us who loved our leads on Martin and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and were excited to see a buddy cop comedy/action pairing two of TV’s biggest stars.  Not without saying, is that Michael Bay makes a heck of an impression here, not fully into his stylings, but able to stand out in a genre that was well represented already on the big screen.  Going back, Bad Boys is still every bit as enjoyable and as much a revelation as it was back in 1995.

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Bad Boys II 

Hang on for maximum mayhem, full-on fun and the wildest chase scenes ever put on film! The action and comedy never stop when superstars Martin Lawrence and Will Smith reunite as out-of-control trash-talking buddy cops. Bullets fly, cars crash, and laughs explode as they pursue a whacked-out drug lord from the streets of Miami to the barrios of Cuba. But the real fireworks result when Lawrence discovers that playboy Smith is secretly romancing his sexy sister.

It took 8 years for us to return to Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett’s lives, but we got it.  In that mean time, Will Smith had become the biggest star on the planet, Martin Lawrence was a comedy superstar and Michael Bay was one of the top blockbuster directors around.  Now that they had been around the block and learned some things, they could put them all to use in another Bad Boys film.

And boy, did they ever.  Bad Boys II might be the Michael Bay’iest of Michael Bay movies.  Maybe his personal masterpiece in his filmography.  The film is bloated, but full of Miami, girls, fancy cars and wreckless, carefree action that heats up about every time you’ve caught your breath from the last action sequence.  Now, to some, this movie is just too much.  Personally, while it is a long movie, its a wild, over the top adrenaline rush that just keeps pounding all the way to the end.  Its an outstanding action achievement and maybe the last moment of righteousness from the pure action genre (of the big summer blockbuster ilk) before superhero movies would fully take over.  A changing of the guard, I suppose.

This film has its shootouts and car chases with wreckless abandon.  There are gun fights all over in public places, and Bay has no problem showing civilians running and ducking for cover to let you know they are there.  The car chases destroy freeways as well as the lower class housing in Cuba.  A lot of people have had problems with this over the years, but damn…this is FICTION and FANTASY and its just too gonzo crazy and high octane for me to sit and care about the “real world” while I’m watching a popcorn action movie.  Here’s another thing, this film is constantly pointing out how silly, far fetched and ridiculous it is.

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith get back together and its like they haven’t missed a beat.  This movie is even funnier than the previous film.  It has an all time great scene in which Burnett and Lowrey attempt to intimidate a boy coming over to date Burnett’s daughter.  If you can laugh and find that funny, you must be some miserable soul to be around.  The chemistry also extends to the action sequences where they really do have each other’s backs no matter how much more equipped for the task one is than the other.  These two also manage to get a decent performance out of Gabrielle Union too (I say that because she’s actually decent here).

People can hate. They can call it dumb.  They can scoff at everything just because it says “Michael Bay” on it.  But, damnit, I have had a blast every time I watch Bad Boys II.  We have an enjoyable pair of leads to solve crimes with and a director that really pushes the limits and awes with his action.  Everyone is on top of their game in this and have earned the bloated run time.

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Video

Bad Boys 

Bad Boys II 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: Bad Bays 1.85:1 / Bad Boys II 2.39:1

Clarity/Detail:  Both films have received 4K restorations.  Bad Boys II looks amazing here.  The tropical setting and everything else is slick, polished, detailed and beautiful.  The first film looks fantastic as well, but also carries that Tony Scott action film kinda look to it, which isn’t the prettiest, but Bay makes it look fine.  Both images are pretty sharp with rampant detail and bold imagery.

Depth:  Movements on both films are smooth and cinematic with no real blur to report.  Background imagery is as crisp and discernible as the camera focus allows.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and provide ample shading and help to sharpen the definition.  No crush, detail lost is minimal if even.  Hair follicles, clothing texture and surfaces still show plenty of detail.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are bold and in Bad Boys II’s case, pop like crazy.  Miami looks gorgeous in the sequel.  The first film has some good bold coloring in the use of its stylish clothing, but a lot of it is a monotous dingier look.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent.  Both films feature great detail on facial hair, cuts, bruises, make-up and skin textures.

Noise/Artifacts:  These are pretty spotless save for some natural, welcome grain on the first film.

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Audio

Bad Boys 

Bad Boys II 

Audio Format(s): Bad Boys – English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital

Bad Boys II – English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: Bad Boys – English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin (Simple), Mandarin (Traditional), Thai

Bad Boys II – English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

Dynamics:  Bad Boys carries the same audio from the original Blu-ray release.  Its a fine audio track, but somewhat of an also-ran.  It gets the job done with quality but not a standout.  Bad Boys II, however, is bad ass.  Its loud and in your face.  Action sounds crisp and fierce.  Its a measure mix that will rock your living room and put you right in the middle of a shootout or car chase.

Low Frequency Extension:  Gunfire, explosions, punches, Hummers…you name it…Bay’s got you covered with some sub thumping.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Bad Boys II features an active 5 channel mix that has you hearing cars behind you and gunfire whisking around speaker to speaker.  It’ll keep you on your toes and keep you involved.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Both films feature loud, clear and crisp dialogue.

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Extras

This is a 2-disc set and both films come with an UltraViolet Digital Copy.  The extras included on both films are carried over from their previous DVD releases and nothing new is included.  While these are encoded in AVC, they come from 480i sources.

Bad Boys 

Audio Commentary 

  • With Director Michael Bay

Putting The Boom and Bang In The Bad Boys (HD, 23:54) – A vintage behind the scenes of the film with a lot of focus on the effects.

Music Videos

  • “Five O, Five O (Here They Come)” by 69 Boyz (HD, 3:11)
  • Shy Guy” by Diana King (HD, 4:34)
  • “So Many Ways” by Warren G (HD , 3:26)

Original Theatrical Trailers

Bad Boys II 

Deleted Scenes (HD, 7:06)

Production Diaries

  • Genesis (HD, 5:44) – Recaps the first film.
  • Training Days (HD, 2:21) – A look at the preparation by the performers for the movie.
  • Swamp (HD, 6:13) – Behind the scenes of the opening at the KKK rally.
  • Night Club (HD, 2:44) – Behind the scenes of the night club scene, has a focus on how to work the extras.
  • Intersection Shootout (HD, 7:51) – A featurette dedicated to thrilling chase sequence in the middle of the film.
  • Get Into My Office (HD, 2:17) – A bit on a scene that had improvised dialogue.
  • Hugs and Kisses (HD, 3:24) – A look at what should be a simple thing to shoot being complicated.
  • Poolside (HD, 2:59) – Did you know it was Michael Bay’s dog that destroys Martin Lawrence’s pool in the film?  Well, now you do.
  • Jordi Molla (HD, 3:11) – Focuses on the big bad in the movie.
  • First Date (HD, 2:42) – On that poor fellow that chose to take the wrong girl on his first date.
  • Crime Lab (HD, 1:48) – Behind the scenes on a forensics sequence.
  • Captain’s House (HD, 2:24) – Behind the scenes of the ecstasy sequence in Joey Pants’ house.
  • A Couple Of Cameos (HD, 2:29) – A look at the Michael Bay and Dan Marino appearances.
  • Train Dodging (HD, 3:00) – Behind the Scenes of the monorail fight.
  • Joey Pants (HD, 1:51) – Focuses on a scene with the veteran character actor.
  • The Russian Is Coming (3:31) – A featurette on Peter Stormare
  • Home Invasion (HD, 5:40) – Behind the scenes of the sequence inside the villain’s home.
  • Bringing Down The House (HD, 3:50) – Mansion go BOOM and they show you how
  • Shanty Town (HD, 3:00) – How they did that controversial bit where our heroes drive through and destroy poor peoples’ homes.

Sequence Breakdown – These little featurettes all pull prime focus on individual effects/action sequences in the film.

  • MacArthur Causeway (HD, 12:25) 
  • Ice Van Chase (HD, 5:22)
  • Monorail Fight (HD, 4:48)
  • 5-Man Ratchet (HD, 3:38) 
  • Tapia’s Mansion (HD, 9:00) 
  • Shanty Town (HD, 5:06)

Stunts (HD, 9:29) – A featurette on all the practical and dangerous stunts performed in the film.

Visual Effects (HD, 18:38) – Showing the support and marriage of practical and digital effects coming together in the final product.

“La-La-La” Music Video by Jay-z (HD, 3:52)

Theatrical Trailers

  • Teaser Trailer (HD, 2:08)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:26)
  • Theatrical Trailer 2 (HD, 1:02)

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Summary 

Think of them however you want, but I love the Bad Boys movies.  They are nothing but some fine action work with top of the line comedy to boot.  You’ll be thrilled and you’ll be in stitches laughing.  That’s some great entertainment if you ask me.  This new set that FINALLY brings Bad Boys II to Blu-ray is likely some of the best we’ll get from the series.  They both look and sound marvelous.  I’d love more extras on the first one, but beggars can’t be choosers.  While no new extras appear, Bad Boys II was already stacked with way more than you need to begin with.  This is a high recommend for fans, fans of action movies and those who just loves some terrific light entertainment.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “Bad Boys I & II – 20th Anniversary Collection (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Not enough credit is given to Bay for having the guts in the 90s to cast to black leads for Bad Boys (which he fought for) at a time when that was a ‘risky’ move. Also, these movies are so much fun!