Bad Boys: And some Skittles

Join me, if you will, in 1995. I’m 11. Our household is quite heavily into basketball, Fresh Prince (even though we don’t understand half the sexy jokes), and beating each other up. Still.

So what do you think happened when we found out that Will Smith and Martin Lawrence were gonna be in an action movie, with guns, bad guys, guns, swearing, fast cars, and guns? You guessed it. Meet me on the corner by the video shop, guys. Friday, 6pm, bring your Skeleton warriors glow in the dark pyjamas (so we can match, natch) and your special fried rice.

In a bizarre ritual of which I never understood the licensing loopholes, before you were able to purchase the videos for real, wrapped in cellophane, with a bunch of leaflets inside beckoning you to purchase a crappy tshirt (“IF YOU SEE THE POLICE – WARNER BROTHER!”) or some orthopaedic shoes, you were able to procur the VHS tapes as ex-rentals. Not much difference in quality, I’m not sure how many other people who lived in Abington, Northampton were renting the Ewoks cartoon, but they came in a different box. The massive, weird, heavy, and, as we discovered exercising some of our bottomless sibling-based rage, quite dangerous rental box. The questions surrounding this were endless. Where are the real boxes? Whose job is it to swap the covers out? What are they made of that doesn’t break when you throw them off the roof at your brother? None of this was ever answered, but it didn’t matter. I loved Bad Boys so much, that once again, to save herself money, my long suffering mother purchased this movie for us ex-rental, such was the cost of keeping us in bubblicious Friday nights. And once again, I watched it every Monday before school until the next big favourite came along/the tape was worn down to a macroscopically thin band, probably snapping in the machine.

Look at the size of the stupid case.

If you know me, you know I have a huge soft spot for this movie. Whatever Hancock and Black Knight type cinematic crimes our leading duo have committed since (I’ll still watch those movies, if it’s bank holiday and all the other channels are H*rry P*tter), this remains, despite a diabolically overly confusing storyline, one of my favourites of the genre. Fight me, all of you.

Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) and Mike Lowery (Smith) are partners at the Miami Police Department. They are also the kind of best friends that spend far too much time together, and consequently, as made plain in the opening sequence, get right on each other’s tits.

In a car jacking that ends with the two dolts stupid enough to attempt the robbery caught in the middle of a lover’s tiff between the two about Marcus eating his Maccas in Mike’s new motor, and consequently unconscious and covered in milkshake, we’re introduced to their extremely humorous, efficiently violent, and profanity-soaked dynamic.

This was Michael Bay’s directorial debut, and I tell you what, he hasn’t changed shit about the way he makes action films pals. From the sweeping panoramic views of the city the film is set in, to the pause in action every 20 minutes for a solely comedy focused interaction or two. The soundtrack is down to Mark Mancina, your mate who did Speed, Con Air, Money Train, and later Training Day, so get your air guitars out and make like you’re Avenged Sevenfold circa 2005, basically. More pinch harmonics than should be legal in any 2 hour period.

Our first introduction to the extremely French baddie played by Tcheky Karyo is in the back of a delivery truck as he shoots some poor man dressed as a copper in the chest and lets him roll out onto the motorway. Poor show, but he needs the decoy to avert the police from the fact that him and his band of useless divs are gonna rob one hundred million dollars worth of heroin straight out of the weirdly empty police station. The hundred million dollars worth of heroin protected by one fat old guard who farts himself awake. In Miami. The empty station with one guard absolutely fucking chock full of HEROIN. Moving on! Their mission successful, Eddie, the greasiest of the gang, slips one of the silver packages into his backpack. Greedy greedy. I guess he needs the cash for more hair gel. Honestly, it’s like 90s year 8 levels of chip fat on his curtains.

Mike arrives to pick Marcus up for work, where we meet his cute little bucktooth kids, one of whom wore coke bottle bottom specs that made him look like a bug, not unlike yours truly, and his sassy wife, played by Theresa Randle. She is unamused by almost everything he or Mike does. Including Mike starting to tell the children about his date last night. You don’t need to have watched the film to know which Will Smith I’m talking about. At this point I think there was just this one Will Smith anyway. The ladies man, the terror. Except maybe in The Legend of Bagger Vance. But I can’t remember. Was that before or after this? Anyway. Classic Big Willie Style. A sexual man in a nice shirt always.

Off they go to the station, beckoned by a screeching Joe Pantaliano, calling everyone a jackass, much like standard Jo Pantaliano (see everyone playing to their strengths here?), telling them to hurry the fuck up as per every film he’s in ever (except Olive The Other Reindeer), and squawking at a woman with a weird mullet who is trying to have the department shut down with her massive shoulder pads. At this point they establish that a) it was an inside job, and b) Mike might know a girl who can let him know if any young men have been running around flashing their heroin. No one says the words “sex worker”. She might be a call girl. She might be going there in her shortest skirt to teach them to play Scrabble. In 1995 I didn’t know. But in 2017 as a grown woman I feel confident to report that I think she was paid to go to parties and entertain rich assholes full of toot, possibly with her vajutz. She says she’ll go. You think she might kiss the Fresh Prince when she agrees, so you know they like each other. Like like. Like if she was that sort of settling down type, she’d scratch his name into her pencil case. But she toddles off to Eddie’s sex party instead, with her mate Julie Mott in tow, played by the infuriating Tea Leoni. She wears a lot of big rings and complains loads and I hoped the minute she stepped into shot that she would be flung off a bridge. But you can’t always get what you want, boys and girls.

Eddie’s party is essentially him snorting speedballs and expecting these ladies to be impressed by his Man From Del Monte suit and all his drugs, which make him very handsy. Julie gets fed up and goes off to the loo. Unfortunately this is when Frenchie turns up with his mean goons, a Soprano reject and a man with a sinister goatee, after having noticed he’s missing a key of his dope. He finds it on Eddie’s coffee table. Max, Will’s nice lady, knows she’s in trouble, having just borne witness to the face of a man who robbed the Miami PD blind. She’s right. She’s fucked. And gets shot in the guts, before Big Bad (his name is Fouchet. Say it like “Foo-Shay”) does the same to Greasy Eddie Dominguez. Julie watches all this from the balcony with her mouth wide open, but sinister goatee knows something’s up. Fat Tony and the other guy no one cares about run up to the roof, just in time to see her jump into a swimming pool and not die. Their witness is gone. They call each other fat and useless some more and we all laugh.

The lads get called to the crime scene and poor Willie has to see his not girlfriend lying in a coffee table covered in glass with her spleen hanging out. Sad times for everyone. Martin Lawrence gives him a little arm squeeze and Lowery goes off to visit Lois, Max’s woman pimp, to see if he can find out anything else about what’s gone on. When he gets there, sinister goatee Noah Trafficante (say it like traff-ee-cant-ay) has already smashed Lois’ dome in with a sledge hammer, and Will gets pushed through a glass door by Noah stocking face. Meanwhile at the station, Julie calls up in her irritating whiny voice to report what she knows, whilst also threatening to blow town if she can’t speak to Mike, the man cited by Max as “the only person I would ever call if I was in trouble”. Weird, cos he’s a police man, but anyway, Mike isn’t in, so she gets Marcus pretending to be sexy Mike doing a deep voice, and hence the poor man’s Freaky Friday commences. He drags her to Mike’s apartment, where he can’t find the light switch, and her horrible little dogs shit all over everything. Problems for later.

The next morning Mike and Marcus have another lover’s tiff outside the station where Mike describes his concussion, and in one of the most quoted lines amongst a select group of my friends in cinematic history, poor old Marcus, whose irritable wife booted him out for getting home late, details how “I woke up this mornin’, I got a Power Ranger stuck up my ass”. Very good. We all laugh again. Everyone’s had a bad night. They also find out via John Salley of the NBA playing a giant nerdy criminal hacker with comedy bins (nerd fact – Salley played for Miami Heat when all this was going on, and his nickname was fucking BAD BOYS. Do you have any idea how next level I felt knowing that about a grown up film?), that the inside connection is Sarah’s mum from The Crow aka Francine the receptionist, who it turns out was blackmailed via n00dz by dead Eddie for inside narcotics department info.

John Salley wearing my specs.

Instead of immediately telling Marcus’ moody wife what they’re doing, and alerting the witness to the necessary entrapment they conducted in order to stop this murderous French drug baron from escaping with annoying Julie’s life, they carry on lying for the rest of the film. To everyone. Marcus is “going to Cleveland” and Mike is “staying at Marcus’ house to take care of Theresa and the kids”. You idiots.

Back at Smack Towers, Fouchet is getting fed up with the GCSE chemistry wizards he’s employed to cut his dope. Being holed up in some underground den means that the heroin is getting all damp (in my 11 year head I just assumed it was like when you mix talc and water into a paste and smear it all over the bathroom walls, no longer useful as talc, probably therefore no good as drugs, you get the picture), and this is severely “fooking wiz may timetaybool”.

Useless Julie and her stupid dogs successfully identifygoatee from a mugshot, and the Bad Boys decide to head over to CLUB HELL to accost him at his place of work. Julie gets told to stay at home, but she doesn’t because despite being the biggest wet blanket in the whole fucking film, she decides this sensitive reconnaissance mission in a large public place where anyone could see her, this massive nightclub full of people, is the perfect time to turn up unannounced with a gun in her handbag. Even as a child, I knew she was ruining EVERYTHING.

In one of those cool club scenes straight out of The Crow, or Stigmata, or literally ANY 90s film ever made, the gang are noted almost straight away whilst Gravity Kills or a Ministry lite remix or some horrible shit I probably loved plays over the top. Marcus fights some rednecks in the bog, and they all unwittingly get in an ice cream truck full of ether that was going to be used to keep fiddling with Frenchie’s drugs. There’s a chase, stuff blows up, Goatee dies, and everyone is super annoyed at dickhead Julie cos it’s basically her fault. Also it turns up on the news and Marcus’ nerdy kids tell their gloomy mother.

On the way back to civilisation, this happens, and if you’ve never seen it then we can’t be friends and also I don’t feel bad about spoiling it for you:

We’ve cleared the word count here that I’d expect you to have remained interested past here guys, and I’m sorry, so let me break it down for you real quick – Wife turns up at Mike’s, Julie solves the Freaky Friday mystery, Fouchet turns up and grabs Julie, and they go racing after. There’s a lot of running, most notably some running where Will Smith appears to keep up with a speeding car over an extended distance with not much trouble. They don’t get her back, so decide to go back to the station and regroup. They intercept Fouchet making his drug deal, kill some bad guys, who for some reason appear to have had their man screaming dubbed over with computer game noises and animal cries (if you know, you know), and in a car chase that Michael Bay actually had to fucking pay for out of his salary as director because the budget had been well and truly rinsed at this point (true facts), they make Frenchie drive a Porsche into a wall at hundreds of miles and hour, and then shoot him. Money well spent if you ask me. Game over. Ladies and gentlemen, your winners.

This film holds up as everything you want from a 90s action film. Or any action film really. Stuff blows up, people call each other “motherfucker” LOADS, and you laugh at things until you want to be sick and then quote them for the next 22 years with all your mates. 100 out of 10. Even if 10 minutes in you hope Tea Leoni just gets shot and they somehow write round it. As previously mentioned, if you have a problem with this rating, I have a bunch of fives with your name on it. The second one isn’t as good, but I still laughed loads and Henry Rollins is in it and they ambush a KKK meeting, which is reason enough to watch anything. Goodnight.

One thought on “Bad Boys: And some Skittles

  1. Well thats my friday night viewing sorted 😀

    And mentioning rollins has made me also want to watch johnny mnemonic just to remind my self how terrible it is (surely thats a contender to be on the list for these reviews, ice-t, rollins, dolph and half of the wild stallions…), its also all the evidence i need that the best thing in cinema inspired by william gibson is the copyright dodge in hackers by naming the super computer a gibson instead of a cray, as johnny mnemonic is a solid fail so epic that crow 3 no longer feels like an insult…

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