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‘Bad Boys’ Not So Bad Despite Repeating Same Old Theme, Good Acting Makes ‘Bad Boys’ Fun

Nathan Mauger Ferris

Buddy Cop Movies. Those words translate into a waste of time.

Well, almost always a waste of time; there are exceptions, such as “Lethal Weapon.” But does anyone remember “Tango & Cash,” “Lethal Weapon 2” or “Lethal Weapon 3?”

Buddy cop movies usually have no cinematic value, and the best we can hope for is one that is entertaining and well-made.

Luckily, the new “Bad Boys” is both. It’s slick, funny and, more often than not, fun to watch. All this, despite the fact it follows the outline of most any action film made today: The hero has a loved one killed by an evil mastermind. The hero kills countless bad guys. In the end, after killing still more bad guys, there’s a climatic fight between the evil leader and the hero, and the hero wins.

In this film, there are two good guys.

Their names are Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), and they’re both detectives with the Miami Police. After $180 million worth of uncut heroin is stolen from a police warehouse in a brilliant heist, Lowrey and Burnett are assigned to the case. They have only days to solve it before the FBI takes over.

In this genre, to “solve” a case means to slaughter nearly anyone with the slightest connection to the case, and then some. “Bad Boys” follows this element to the letter and the dripping body count is way up there.

The two leads do have a certain foul-mouth chemistry that works on screen. Smith shows he can act just as well as any other action star (except Hong Kong’s Chow Yun Fat), and Lawrence successfully integrates his comic talents.

The evil villain is, as in most action films, played by the best actor of the bunch. In this case, it’s one of my favorite actors: Tcheky Karyo (“The Bear,” “La Femme Nikita”). But here, there’s only so far he can go with the performance.

Because the Head Bad Guy is not allowed to show any characteristics other than all-around coldbloodedness, Karyo has hit a ceiling. All he can do is get more and more evil. In this case that’s illustrated by murdering women and his own men.

The editing and Michael Bay’s directing are superb, and the scenes come together amazingly well. But Howard Athorton’s excellent photography steal the show. From the opening shots of a car speeding down the freeway to the final highspeed car chase, “Bad Boys” is beautifully photographed. Light and colors are used to the full effect.

It’s not original, but it is generally entertaining. And “Bad Boys” does have its wide holes in logic, but if you’re an action fan, then this is one to look up.

Grade: B

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