An excessive action epic pulverized by critics gets defended to the hilt by genre junkies
Critics and audiences are very rarely in complete agreement when it comes to action-packed blockbusters, especially those directed by Michael Bay, but that doesn’t mean the ongoing difference of opinion on the merits of Bad Boys II hasn’t gotten any less fascinating now we’ve hit the 20th anniversary of the sequel’s release.
On Rotten Tomatoes, a 23 percent score makes it Bay’s worst-reviewed feature ever that isn’t part of the Transformers franchise, but a 78 percent audience average from upwards of 250,000 underlines the bombastic second chapter’s enduring popularity as a balls-to-the-wall exercise in throwing as many set pieces, shootouts, and explosions as possible into the mix and seeing what happens.
Easily one of the most outrageously over-the-top shoot ’em ups ever made, nothing sums up the best and worst of Bay’s signature aesthetic more than Bad Boys II. It’s way too long, the humor is often crass and unfunny, the “witty” banter is scattershot to put it lightly, but we’ll be damned if the impeccably-staged pyrotechnic mayhem doesn’t deliver in spades.
Some people might call it Bay’s worst film that doesn’t involve alien robots knocking lumps out of each other, but it’s clear from the support being drummed up on Reddit that there’s just as many supporters out there who are happy to unironically label it as one of the greatest action extravaganzas of all-time.
Ultimately, your mileage will depend on your penchant and tolerance for Bay’s signature shtick, but if you’ve got two and a half hours to spare and need your brain switched firmly to the “off” setting, then it can’t be denied that there’s a mountain of fun to be had.