(This is an old post, and a goodie.)
Armageddon. Pearl Harbor. Bad Boys. These movies have six things in common: bombastic action, ham-fisted acting, dumb explosions, ADD-like editing, unnecessary romance and Michael Bay. The cinematic auteur/Helen Keller of the movie industry, Michael Bay has managed to make a career out of catering to the lowest of the lowest common denominator–making popcorn flicks that are jam-packed with empty calories and brain cancer. (He centered Pearl Harbor, a movie about the BOMBING of Pearl Harbor, around a love triangle!) If any director is proof of making a deal with the Devil, it’s this dude.
So it was no surprise that his work needed to be celebrated–any be celebrate, I mean mock openly and cruelly. Picking two bad Michael Bay movies was like picking which Wayans Bros. movie was not an NAACP violation. We ended up settling on The Island, a futuristic, high-concept/low-executed action flick, and Bad Boys II, a present-based, low-concept/lower-executed exercise in self-hatred. We didn’t even make it an hour into Bad Boys II, which says a lot about the quality and time length of this shit. (2+ hours for each movie? 2.5 hours for Bad Boys II?!?!?)
We started with The Island, which for most directors would be the black mark on their resume; for Michael Bay, it will be his magnum opus. The setting is a futuristic world where rich humans clone themselves for spare organs and parts. (If I spolied it for you, be thankful that you don’t have to see it.) The “insurance policy” clones live in an underground Arizona facility (yay?), cut off from the human world. The “Island” appears to be the nirvana the innocent, simple-minded clones are waiting for, with one person “picked” to leave the facility for an exotic giveaway; in actuality, it was their call-up to serve their function as organ/baby/limb generators. Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) learns the secret of The Island and the trappings of the underground area, freeing Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson) and discovering the truth–complete with dumb explosions. ham-fisted acting and bombastic action sequences in the process.
So what is bad about this, you ask? Good question, as it sounds pretty interesting. In reality, it’s far from it. While the movie sounds like the Blade Runner/Logan’s Run action-thriller that would have been nice, it was just another dumb Michael Bay movie. Bombastic action: check; That ham-fisted acting: check (particularly the overacting of Michael Clarke Duncan and the blank-slate blahness of Johansson); Dumb explosions: brain-rotting check; ADD-like editing: check (following this movie was like playing Pong on crack); Unnecessary romance: check (formulating a romance in a futuristic action-thriller is like the chocolate chips in a pancake-coated sausage-on-a-stick: superfluous, silly and stupid).
And the two biggest crimes were that this shit went on for more than 2 hours, and that Johansson was refused the opportunity to do a nude scene. (In an industry like Hollywood that expects actresses to go in the buff to either lend a movie artistic credibility or save a B/C-grade pile of dreck, Michael Bay insisted Scarlett not take the naked walk–once again showing he has no idea what to do with a movie.) By the time the credits rolled, I felt robbed of a lot of things, and while it sounds like I’m being pervy by going on about Scarlett’s lack of skin, it would have made a horrible movie merely mediocre.
Speaking of horrible, we then watched Bad Boys II.
Oh lord, this movie was bad. Because the world banged down Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer’s door for a sequel to the Shakespearean drama known as Bad Boys, we were shoveled this crap followup. Set several years after the first action-comedy buddy romp, we are thrust into a Miami ecstasy drug ring, and only our two joke-cracking wiseguy cop heroes (Will Smith as Mike Lowrey, Martin Lawrence as Marcus Burnett) can save the day!
Because we only made it through one hour of the 147-minute runtime (that’s 2.5 hours for you math-challenged folks), there’s not much to comment on. However, there was more than enough to hate. (And we missed the destructive car chase in Cuba, plowing through poor shanty-like homes like playing cards, as well as numerous N-word bombs.) Bombastic action: check (over-the-top violence and destruction); That hamfisted acting: CHECK (lots of yelling and mugging by both Lawrence and Smith; histronic cookie-cutter police chief Joe Pantoliano); Dumb explosions: check and check; ADD-like editing: check (I swear that I went cross-eyed at one point); Unnecessary romance: check. (Lowrey carries on a secret romance with Syd, played by Gabrielle Union, who is the sister of Burnett and is also an undercover cop. WHAT?!?)
Had we finished this epic crassness of a movie, there would be more to complain about. Perhaps that was for the best. Since we didn’t, here’s another AWESOME poster:
This was the first time we were not able to fully complete a Bad Movie Night. I think that warrants a future Michael Bay Bad Movie Night to polish off the dirty deeds of the first. It should be fun… and awful.