Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return to the roles that gave them a hit movie in 1995: Miami, Florida police detectives who get the crooks their own way. Alan Silverman has a look at the sequel Bad Boys II
Mike Lowrey, played by Will Smith, and Marcus Burnett, played by Martin Lawrence are partners on the Miami police force, fighting crooks by occasionally acting like them.
In Bad Boys II their investigation of a narcotics kingpin turns personal when they find out that Marcus's younger sister Syd (who is secretly Mike's girlfriend) is actually an undercover Federal drug enforcement agent.
Gabrielle Union co-stars as "Syd" Burnett.
"I actually met in Los Angeles with an undercover cop who is also in the film. I also met with a female DEA agent out of Miami who I spent the day with and was able to pick her brain," she explains. "She gave me a wealth of knowledge and just from those conversations I realized that these people risk their lives every day and I wanted to pay homage to the amount of hard work and the seriousness of their job and n-o-t make light of it just because it's a big action movie."
It is, as Union puts it, "a big action movie" directed by Michael Bay and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer: filmmakers known for explosive, gritty, violent scenes. Will Smith acknowledges that his character's frequent profanity is at odds with the clean cut image he usually tries to portray.
"I need to answer this question because it's what my mom is going to ask me. We're playing narcotics agents in Miami, That is really a dark world and I wanted to commit to it," says Smith. " Even on the set I was struggling a little bit, but I decided that if I was going to play this character I just had to close my eyes and 100 percent commit to it. It is definitely rated 'R.' This movie is good and ' R.' It's very funny and I think the combination of the action and the comedy is something rare and the only way that I could do justice to that was it had to be raw."
Some grisly scenes are played for comedy, but Martin Lawrence does n-o-t believe it is the actor's (or filmmaker's) responsibility to shield young audiences from that:
"I don't know why they react the way they do, but it's an illusion," he says. " What makes kids see a movie and drive fast? What makes kids do this? We don't have those answers, but as time goes along the only thing we can do is try to help that and I think it starts with the parenting. If you know your child is going to see a movie and it may have those things, maybe you need to go with them and see how they're reacting. Then you can address it with them: why are you laughing? why did you think that was funny? If you ask those questions maybe you'll get those answers; but maybe they're just laughing because they understand it's an illusion. It's just a movie."
However, Smith believes Bad Boys II is too much for kids under 17 and he would have problems with his own son, who is 11-years-old, seeing it. "Oh no, Trey and I already have had that discussion. I told him he is going to have to wait on this one," he says.
Co-star Union also admits she is uncomfortable with the prospect of young audiences cheering the mayhem.
"Would I allow my niece to see it? No, I'm n-o-t going to spend $8.50 for her to have nightmares because we don't allow the young kids in our family to be exposed to that," she says. " I'm n-o-t going to regulate morality in somebody else's home. I enjoy the work that I did and the scenes that I did. Of course, the script that I read was a lot different than what I saw and I realized after watching the screening that this isn't appropriate for the kids in my family; but I'm n-o-t going to say what's right or wrong for anybody else."
Bad Boys II also features Joe Pantoliano as the perpetually angry police captain and Spanish screen star Jordi Molla plays the druglord bad gu