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Bad Boys II (4K Blu-ray) (2003)
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Details At A Glance
Year Of Production
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew
Pan & Scan/Full Frame
English Dolby Atmos
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
French DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
German DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio
|Original Aspect Ratio
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement
|Action In or After Credits
NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.
Bad Boys II is the perfect Michael Bay movie. It's overblown, self-indulgent, offensive, puerile, overlong and ridiculous, yet it's almost proud to wear the aforementioned descriptors. There's a lot of hate about this movie, and while that's an understandable viewpoint, Bad Boys II is a total gas for my money, a mammoth 150-minute action blockbuster extravaganza that genuinely delivers. Fun is fun, and I cannot deny that I was joyed by nearly every minute of this bona fide guilty pleasure, which is both exhilarating and downright hilarious. Bad Boys II is truly unique in the annals of action cinema, and with its R rating in place allowing for excessive blood-letting, relentless profanity and crude bantering (not to mention female breasts...because it's Michael Bay), all backed by a monster budget, it's not likely that we will ever see anything comparable again.
A pair of Miami police officers, Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) are partners working for the Tactical Narcotics Team, overseen by Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano). Investigating the flow of ecstasy into the United States, Mike and Marcus are lead to powerful Cuban drug lord Johnny Tapia (Jordi Mollà), who has been arrested in the past but never convicted. The DEA are interested in Tapia as well, with Marcus' younger sister Syd (Gabrielle Union) working undercover to bring him down. And, unbeknownst to Marcus, Syd and Mike have started a secretive relationship.
When people speak in negative generalisations about Hollywood, calling blockbusters big and dumb, Bad Boys II is precisely the kind of production they are referring to. Aside from the obvious overblown Hollywood theatrics throughout, the tactics of the DEA and Miami PD are thoroughly ridiculous here. Sure, firearms handling is pretty accurate owing to on-set advisors and even real policemen being used as extras, but such high-risk assaults, shootouts and car chases would never happen in real life. Also, apparently Miami cops are extraordinarily well paid since they live in luxurious mansions and drive sports cars. That's just scratching the surface of the absurdity to unearth here, but suffice it to say nobody should ever come to Bad Boys II expecting anything remotely believable. All these flaws are entirely by design - it's not as if Bay set out to make a true-to-life cop drama.
Penned by Ron Shelton and Jerry Stahl, Bad Boys II is a lengthy flick at a bit under two-and-a-half hours, but it never drags. The easily offended may grow sick of the material fairly quickly, but I found it consistently entertaining, lurching from one big ridiculous action set-piece to the next, pausing in between the chaos for some outrageous comedic vignettes. Indeed, Bad Boys II is the funniest movie of Bay's filmmaking career (not exactly a high bar to reach), which is probably attributable to Smith and Lawrence more than anything else (this is not an especially well-written actioner). A tears-in-the-eyes comic highlight sees Mike and Marcus intimidating a young boy arriving to take Marcus' daughter on a date, while an iconic scene in an electronics store never gets old, and it's side-splitting to see the boys clash with their long-suffering captain. Comedy is subjective, so others are perfectly welcome to disagree with this viewpoint, but I cannot lie - I laughed heartily and frequently.
Bay's films are often marred by sickening shaky-cam photography which transforms every set-piece into a disjointed, headache-inducing mess but while the camerawork here is frenetic it's easy to follow the mayhem, which is both frequent and enjoyable. With an R rating in place here, no awkward or restrictive editing is employed - we are permitted to take in the bloodshed in all its violent glory. Bay was working with a hefty budget here, with a generous $130 million at his disposal, thus production values are gorgeous and the photography is frequently eye-catching. Bay is a notoriously difficult director to work with since he's so demanding, but his dedication shows on-screen, with a sense of authority pervading the feature, and with the action sequences benefitting from accomplished cinematic craftsmanship. Fluid and fun, any action fan should enjoy the action on display here. And underscoring the shootouts and explosions is a memorable score courtesy of Trevor Rabin.
Smith and Lawrence are perhaps the key reason why the Bad Boys movies work as well as they do. Both men come from comedic backgrounds, and they look believable as men of action. Not to mention they share astonishing, easy-going chemistry and there's a palpable camaraderie between them; their bantering is a frequent source of amusement. The most notable member of the supporting cast is Pantoliano, a perfect choice for Captain Howard. When Smith, Lawrence and Pantoliano feature in a scene together, it's guaranteed to be comedy gold.
Bad Boys II is a motion picture which really highlights the subjective nature of movie criticism, and the polarising nature of films in general. Respected critics trashed this movie to death, with the jaded James Berardinelli even going to far as to state that anyone who enjoys Bad Boys II should seek professional help - such pomposity! For my money, this is an insanely fun movie, the kind of big-budget actioner that can be enjoyed with beer and pizza. Bay's best movie will always be the '90s action masterpiece known as The Rock, but Bad Boys II is right up there with the director's superior filmic endeavours, far better than all of the Transformers abominations or the agonising Pain & Gain. It's difficult to respect Bay, but when he gets it right, dear lord he gets it right.
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After a baffling wait, Bad Boys II finally hit Blu-ray back in 2015, and the result was a hugely satisfying upgrade over the dated DVD. Bad Boys II was shot on 35mm film and finished with a 2K digital intermediate back in 2003 (per information from IMDb), but Sony selected the movie for a native 4K rebuild, and that new 4K master was used for the Blu-ray. Thus, Sony spent additional money re-scanning the original 35mm camera negative, and rebuilding the movie in 4K (aside from shots with CGI; for such shots, a film-out was created from the digital files, which was then also scanned at 4K). As it turns out, this is normal practice for the good folks at Sony; when digital intermediates became commonplace, the studio enforced a policy for the original camera negative to be conformed to the final cut, in order to make such rebuilds feasible. Bad Boys II comes to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in HEVC/H.265-encoded 2160p, framed at its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1, with the master having been created directly from the fresh 4K rebuild of this Michael Bay action extravaganza. It looked great on Blu-ray, but Sony confidently ups the ante with this 4K presentation, which is placed on a triple-layer BD-100 and maintains an average video bitrate above 50 Mbps. Enhanced with High Dynamic Range (encoded in HDR10), the image is genuinely stunning, and packs the textural pop that I had hoped to see on the 1080p Blu-ray.
Owing to the bump in resolution as well as the 4K rebuild, the movie is considerably tighter and more richly detailed than the regular 1080p Blu-ray, not to mention it's razor-sharp from start to finish. Close-ups and medium shots reveal pitch-perfect object delineation on faces, with facial hair on Smith, Lawrence, and Mollà looking immaculately refined. Even in full and wide shots, the 4K encode retains a level of texturing that kicks the crap out of the Blu-ray, while clarity is enormously satisfying. Grain also looks healthier, coating but never overwhelming the image, and it frequently appears refined and tight. This level of texturing scarcely falters, as it never looks noticeably smooth or smeary no matter the lighting conditions, the width of the frame, or the speed of a shot. It's worth pointing out that Bad Boys II was shot anamorphically with spherical Panavision Primo Lenses - as a result, each frame's spherical focus area looks sharper and more refined, while things don't look quite as impressive at the edge of the frame. This is very intentional, as this is a trait of shooting anamorphic. Still, sets and costumes nevertheless look enormously impressive more often than not. Admittedly, some of the digital effects shots, which were upscaled, do stand out with blockier grain and even some flickering (see 33:03 or 90:11), but these instances are minor and fleeting compared to the gorgeous, 4K-scanned first-generation material. The slow-motion shots of Smith during the shootout at the 49-minute mark also exhibit heavier grain, though this presumably traces back to the original shooting conditions to capture such moments in slo-mo.
As ever, the HDR enhancement is a huge benefit. Bad Boys II is available to stream on iTunes in Dolby Vision, but this disc only offers regular old HDR10 (which may irk videophiles). Nevertheless, it's difficult to imagine the film looking much better. Rather than a HDR grade designed to melt your face off with garish oversaturation and brightness, the grading is instead more understated, augmenting the colours and restoring as much highlight detail as possible. The HDR grade gives the colour palette considerably more pop and vibrancy, with colours positively leaping off the screen, doing justice to the flashy visual style. Admittedly, though, the blacks look a bit crushed at times, particularly when shadows are prevalent (see Peter Stormare at the 15-minute mark in the club), and I also noticed some bizarre moments in which clothing looks blown out when hit by harsh light sources (see the tech guy's shirt at 57:40), which is the only downside of the UHD transfer. Aside from this, the HDR grade brings out more highlights, and restores specular detail to explosions and flames. Just see the flames in the opening shootout with KKK members - whereas said flames look blown out on Blu-ray, they're more defined in UHD. Skies and even car headlights receive noticeably more specular detail, too, while the HDR also brings out more highlights on faces and skin. See the close-ups of Lawrence in the opening shootout; you can make out every pore and bead of sweat on his face. Contrast and blacks are improved, giving the image more appreciable depth. Several shots look so impressive and lifelike from a colour standpoint that it feels like you're glancing out a window.
As to be expected from a Sony encode, I could not detect any technical problems, aside from the aforementioned light crush from time to time. But other than that, there's no macroblocking, aliasing, banding or ringing, nor is there any evidence of nasty digital manipulation like edge enhancement or noise reduction. Bad Boys II looks pleasingly organic, and it greatly benefits from the native 4K rebuild, which is how catalogue titles should be treated. It falls just short of being top-tier demo material, but it is a superb illustration of the improvements a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray can provide over a 1080p Blu-ray in terms of resolution, encoding, and colour. Minor shortcomings aside, Bad Boys II is worth the upgrade, and then some.
Dozens of subtitle languages are available, including English and English SDH. I wasn't able to detect any issues with the English subtitle tracks.
Video Ratings Summary
I had no issues with Bad Boys II's DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix on the 1080p Blu-ray, though I acknowledged that some may yearn for an Atmos remix. And, well, Sony has delivered, presenting the movie in Dolby Atmos with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core, ensuring that audiophiles will have nothing to complain about. Right from the start, the audio is crystal clear and positively free of issues, while separation and panning effects are constant. Helicopters seem to be flying all around, vehicular sounds move fluidly from one speaker to the next, while the sounds of gunshots and bullets flying come from all around. Just see the shootout/car chase starting at around 28:30 - depending on the camera placement, bullet hits either come through the rear speakers or the front channels, while gunshots are likewise precisely placed in the soundscape. This fluidity and dynamism continues throughout the movie, with the rear channels are also engaged to deliver music and environmental ambience. I only have a 7.1 set-up and therefore cannot comment on the overhead activity of the Atmos track, but, on my equipment, I never found the surround activity underwhelming in any way.
Despite how loud this movie can be during the big action sequences, there are no problems with prioritisation, as dialogue is always comprehensible no matter how frenetic the mayhem becomes. And speaking of the mayhem, hoo boy, it's satisfying. Every gunshot, punch, crash, explosion, and roaring engine packs exceptional punch, with astute subwoofer impact and low-frequency effects when required. Music comes through with pristine clarity, with the various hip-hop tunes sounding especially great. And with Sony giving the track a sufficient bitrate, there are absolutely no encoding problems to speak of - no popping, clicking, or hissing, nor are there any sync issues or drop-outs. I gave the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track the full five stars back in 2015, but this Atmos track is even better. This is an easy, confident five-star audio mix from the reliable folks at Sony.
Audio Ratings Summary
|Surround Channel Use|
No extras on the 4K disc. They're all on the accompanying 1080p Blu-ray.
R4 vs R1
NOTE: To view
non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually
also NTSC compatible.
This appears to be the same disc released in the United States, and all other territories. It's a draw, buy local.
Bad Boys II is my ultimate guilty pleasure. I've watched it dozens of times, yet I never get sick of it. It's big, loud, fun, exciting and very, very funny. In my mind, it's a god-tier blockbuster - lightning in a bottle. I understand why some people don't like it, but I can't lie to myself - I love every frame.
Happily, Sony have finally delivered the Bad Boys movies on 4K Blu-ray, and the results are stunning. Bad Boys II is beautiful to observe in 2160p, especially with the HDR colour enhancement, and Sony have also upped the ante with a Dolby Atmos remix. The accompanying Blu-ray comes with a quality selection of special features. Highly recommended, assuming you like the film.
© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Friday, January 31, 2020
|DVD||Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output|
This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.
This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
|Amplification||Samsung Series 7 HT-J7750W|
|Speakers||Samsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up|