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"Bad Boys II"

A SLICKLY produced film — no question about that! But long winded car chases, slow motion bullets that go through objects, bad guys' heads and excruciatingly loud conversation peppered with foul language, doesn't exactly make a good film.

That too when a pathetically weak story line is the only excuse for all that action. What is worse is that the entire exercise makes cops, black ones at that, look a bit kooky. Even if they do manage to trap the horrible, whacko, unkempt looking drug lord in the end.

But one does not even want to start picking apart the plot — or this film would fall into pieces in seconds. Lots of things don't make sense here, but then, that is the way the cookie crumbles. Car chases that last almost 10 minutes, that too with about 22 of them, and there is a boat as well thrown in for good effect; a sexy undercover agent with long lashes and a different bikini for every assignment; a bad guy who lives in Florida and Cuba all at the same time— inconsistencies abound. And into this mindless scheme of things there is humour - of the worst kind! And then there is gore that is rather revolting. One unfortunate Russian drug dealer Alexei (Peter Stormare), who refuses to toe the line, finds one of his men cut and stuffed into a leaky tortilla box. Later, the two protagonists (the cops) of the film are shown waving the lone cut finger around! And when they are pulled up by the chief for strewing bodies all over the roads they say, "Hey, but they were dead before we ran over them!''

There is this Cuban fellow Johnny Tapias (Jordi Molla) who hides shipments of ecstasy in cadavers and fills caskets with drug money. He finds it tough to get all this out of the U.S. to Cuba where he has bought the military to guard his palatial house and gardens. And then, there is Syd (Gabrielle Union), an under cover agent posing as a money launderer trying to get close to Tapias with the promise of more things if he obliges to share secrets with her. And a hardened criminal like Tapias of course, won't know about her identity till the end! Assigned on this drug case are two cops — Mike Lowery (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) — they are part of a high tech task force to stem the flood of ecstasy into Miami. And they uncover a conspiracy with Tapias heading the nefarious activities. Obviously he will kill anyone who stands in his way. Making matters worse is Syd, Marcus's sister who is caught between finishing her assignment and her brother and her boyfriend, Mike. And when Syd's cover is jeopardised, it is up to the duo to rescue her.

While Will Smith and Martin are supposed to bring in the humour element with their constant bickering and squabbling — it does not turn out that way. In fact, they are downright irritating - and one supposes that when they get out of hand, explosions drown their dialogue. With the camera jiggling, zooming swinging and spinning and with some slow motion shots— director Michael Bay keeps the pace up so that audiences can't really figure out who is shooting whom and which building is being destroyed with the most noise.

Back to the story! Once Tapias figures out that Syd is an agent, he whisks her away to Cuba and threatens brother Marcus and boyfriend Mike to let go of him or else... . Well then half the department is taken on a secret mission to Cuba to rescue Syd and to completely destroy Tapias and his stronghold — all told very graphically and with several more of chases, shootouts, fire and crashing buildings.

CHITRA MAHESH

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