"Bad Boys" was Michael Bay’s directorial debut, and as we all know, the director now commands impressive budgets, like his current production "Pearl Harbor" which has a budget of $145 million or "Armageddon" that weighed in at $140 million. "Bad Boys" quickly shows how the young director was able to rise to such stellar success, as the film exhibits all the traits you expect to see from a good and entertaining action film. It features a solid - though admittedly uninventive - story, a lot of humor, great characters and noticeable chemistry between his main performers. Together it’s a deadly mix that makes "Bad Boys" a highly enjoyable thrill-ride for fans of the genre. Columbia TriStar Home Video has now prepared a Special Edition of the movie to replace the bare-bones DVD that was released three years ago.
Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) are two detectives who find that 100 million dollars worth of confiscated heroin has been stolen from the vaults of the police station. Since it was originally their bust to bring in the drugs, it is now made their case to find out who stole it. Assuming an inside job, Mike and Martin set out to find out who could potentially deal such an amount of heroin. There’s not much time, though, as the Internal Affairs division of the Miami Police Department plans to shut them down. With the help of some friends they listen to the word on the street, but soon one of their friends turns up dead. The only witness who can tell them what happened is Julie Mott (Téa Leoni). But she will only talk to Mike Lowrey, who is currently missing, and so Marcus is taking on the identity of Mike, to find the sole witness and bring her into protective custody. But that is not as simple as he thought.
It is hard to categorize "Bad Boys," really, which makes it even more appealing. Is it an action movie? Yes, but it’s incredibly funny. Is it a comedy then? Yes, but it has some furious action too, with really big explosions. "Bad Boys" seems tailor-made for Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Both are nicely settled in their parts, creating believable characters that are fun to watch. Their eternal arguing, due to their class differences and the fact that one is married while the other is happy-go-lucky-single, always gives off the impression of two friends who simply try to accommodate their different views.
This Special Edition DVD of "Bad Bays" that is coming from Columbia TriStar Home Video is an exciting package for this high-octane film. The movie itself is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer that is enhanced for 16x9 TV sets. The transfer is pristine and virtually free of any blemishes, scratches or dust marks, creating a very stable and clean image throughout. The color reproduction is powerful and restores all the subtle hues, as well as the heavy tinges that can be found in the movie. The transfer has a very sharp and well-defined look, but is seems to be the nature of the film, as I have not been able to detect signs of edge-enhancement and the resulting ringing artifacts. The black level on this transfer is dead-on, giving the picture a lot of visual depth. Shadows are well defined and never lose detail, while highlights are strong, without bleeding. Given the fact that the source seems to be of very high quality, it is hardly surprising to see that the compression is equally good. Without any flaws or signs of compression artifacts, the film looks absolutely gorgeous on this DVD.
And it sounds accordingly, too. Coming with a very aggressive 5.1 channel Dolby Digital mix, the film offers plenty of bang. Surrounds are used heavily and aggressively, creating a very active, engulfing surround field. The frequency response of the track is very wide, including some spectacular moments that will put your subwoofer to a good stress test, and always maintains a realistic quality. The track is clear and without distortion with well-integrated dialogues that are always understandable, never drowned out by the music or the sound effects. The Dolby Surround mix on the disc creates a much tighter flair for the audio, although good surround usage still. However in direct comparison, the 5.1 mix is more engaging and expansive, while the Dolby Surround appears better suited for low level listening and still brings out all the intricate details of the mix.
A number of special features can be found on the DVD, most notably a commentary track by director Michael Bay. Bay is noticeably at ease talking about the film, shedding light on many different aspects of the production, also dropping interesting anecdotes here and there. Although the track becomes a bit technical at times, Bay always manages to maintain an informative and interesting level that makes listening to this commentary an enjoyable experience from which people will go away with a much better appreciation for the film itself.
Mark Mancina’s music score for the film has also been made available on the DVD as an isolated score in a beautiful 5.1 mix. This isolated version give you the opportunity to hear elements and intricacies of the score that are usually lost in the overall mix of the movie as they overlap with dialogues or sound effects.
"Damage Control" is an interesting multi-angle supplement on the disc that takes you into the realms of firearms. Most of the shoot-out sequences you get to see in movies are stylized and enhanced versions of the actual effects and damage of firearms. In "Damage Control" you can watch footage of the true effects of a variety of weapons that was filmed at high-speed. You pick the angle from which you want to see the action and roll. That way you get a pretty good idea what the devastating effects of certain weapons are, and how they vary from one firearm to the other. This segment features some absolutely breathtaking footage which becomes even more incredible once you select the Pyrotechnics segment, in which you can watch the explosion of cars, TV sets, computers and suitcases from a variety of angles in ultra-slow-motion.
"The Boom And The Bang Of Bad Boys" is a featurette that goes hand in hand with the above segment, covering the explosions and shoot-outs of the movie in more details, just as the name suggests. With interesting behind-the-scenes footage and dedicated material on weapons and pyrotechnics this featurette is also a sizzling addition to the DVD that is a lot of fun to watch.
"Shy Guy" by Diana King, "So Many Ways" by Warren G. and "Five O, Five O" by 69 Boyz are three music videos that are also featured on this disc, together with Talent files and theatrical trailers for "Bad Boys," "Men In Black," and "Blue Streak." The DVD also contains a production photo gallery with an assortment of interesting and entertaining pictures from the set during the shoot of the film. Interestingly, this DVD does not contain any DVD-ROM content.
One thing I have to admit though, is the fact that I had some issues with the disc’s menu system. A strange icon-based menu system has been set up for "Bad Boys" that is a little tricky to navigate and understand. At one point I ended up in the chapter selections while I actually wanted to select one of the supplements and vice versa. Using icons in interfaces can be a good idea, but only if the icons are "iconographic" - as the name suggests. If you simply use random images as is the case in this menu system, it is hard to make the connection between the image and its function.
This is another cool Special Edition from Columbia TriStar Home Video that offers so much more than just the movie. "Bad Boys" has already been released earlier in a movie-only version and the question whether you want to replace the release with this new Special Edition hinges mostly on the question how much you feel you’d enjoy the supplements. All in all, this is a great DVD release that once again teaches you a lesson, not to play with the Bad Boys.