Film Review © 2003 by Trip Reynolds
Action/Nigger Buddy Film
Directed by Michael Bay; Screenplay by Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Cormac Wibberley, and Marianne Wibberley. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.
Starring Will Smith (as the tall nigger cop, Mike Lowrey), Martin Lawrence (as the short nigger cop, Marcus Burnett), Gabrielle Union (as Black female DEA Agent, Sydney Burnett, and younger sister to Marcus), Joe Pantoliano (as the overtly clichéd, generic, stressed-out White man, Captain Howard, who shouts, raves, and whines about his, of course, hard to control nigger cops), John Salley (as a Black male computer nerd, Hacker Fletcher).
Film begins with our two coon cops masquerading "under cover" (no pun intended) as hooded members at a KKK rally? Are you laughing yet? Then, as the coon cops remove their hoods, they begin referring to themselves as "niggers" which, if you've forgotten, was used - and is still used - by racists in the enslavement, degradation and discrimination of Black people, and the rape of Black women, men and children, and the indiscriminate murder of Black men, women and children. Are you laughing yet? Maybe, just maybe, the screenwriters (and their are four) were so limited in their creative juices that they were incapable of imagining a non-racial introduction for the two lead niggers? If you believe this, I've got an alien spaceship to show you.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that the word "nigger" should be banned from films. That's ridiculous. On the contrary, as with all words and images, hopefully, the intended use has some purpose, some value which supports the creative process in a positive way. For example, Eddie Griffin's "Undercover Brother," a comedy from 2002, successfully poked fun at blaxploitation films of the 1970s through parodies of Black, White and other cultures; and even though the film included a limited (non-gratuitous) use of the word "nigger" the overall tone and intent of its use was not to degrade any ethnic group! In contrast, the lead niggers (have you caught on yet?) in Bad Boys II use "nigger" gratuitously, and in no way to support or advance the story with its use. Even worse, the greatly anticipated on-screen entry of the lead characters is abruptly transitioned from a crime bust to one of race as the two nigger cops hurl their niggerisms.
Question: Okay, since this is a film review, shouldn't this writer's focus be on the film, the story and not race? Answer: If people REALLY wanted to eliminate race as an issue, then why continue to present race as an issue - particularly when race shouldn't be an issue? Once a nigger, always a nigger? I'm a Black man and it's rare for anyone in my family - my father, mother, brothers, uncles, etc. - to use the word "nigger," and my experience is not unique among proud Black people. Over the past 50 years, perhaps, I've heard my parents use the word half a dozen times in my life but only when referring to written accounts in the media or if commenting on statements made by others, but NEVER as a term of endearment to anyone. NOTE TO HOLLYWOOD: My last name is Reynolds, and barely 138 years ago my ancestors were slaves on the R.J. Reynolds tobacco plantation. We're NOT your niggers anymore, and I don't need your White owned and White controlled films (even those made by or starring your brainwashed niggers) to continually remind me of your oppression of Black people! Ironically, although the majority of people I've worked with are White, it's typical for me to never hear the word "nigger" until I go to the movies or turn on the radio where nigger rappers continue to be in vogue.
Perhaps, you think I'm too "sensitive" to any use of the word nigger? On the contrary, I'm very egalitarian in my disgust for what ultimately is just bad (and racist) filmmaking. For example, instead of Bad Boys II's two nigger cops gratuitously spewing use of the word "nigger," the screenwriters could have included a couple of graphically intense scenes with women being violently raped, and at least one rape scene involving a child with a disgustingly vile pedophile (oh, yeah!) who, of course, is a Catholic Priest! Boy, now, wouldn't that be fun! Oh, and also throw in a couple of broom-handle plungings into the asses of a couple of gay men? Yeah, now that's a lot more screen "action" than watching a couple of niggers play cops and, so what if it's gratuitous. Get my point?
And let's not leave the MPAA out of this. A non-pronographic, sexually explicit rape and anal broom-handle plunging scene would easily get the MPAA's taboo rating of NC-17. However, the MPAA glosses over use of the word "nigger" (afterall, why give a shit about a bunch of niggers) and just slaps a "R" rating on Bad Boys II. In the wake of the 1960s civil rights movement, did the MPAA overlook the ("politically correct") positive impact of our nation's cultural evolution, including the on-going miscegenation of U.S. citizens? White owned and controlled Hollywood keep churning out "segregated films" to a population that continues to be more and more racially and culturally diverse! Did the MPAA miss-out on the controversy, chaos, and damage to U.S. Senator (Mississippi) Trent Lott - and he didn't even use the word "nigger" - when he championed the racist 1948 presidential candidacy of Strom Thurmond? Truly, the MPAA would benefit by reading Harvard Law School professor Randall Kennedy's book, "Nigger: the Strange Career of a Troublesome Word." In the scene where a young Black man came to Burnett's (Martin Lawrence) home to take his daughter out on a date, was it necessary for the nigger father (who could have easily intimidated the young man by the fact of being a police officer) and his nigger police officer partner (Smith) to assail an innocent nigger teenager with their niggerisms? Frankly, it would have given the film more "depth" if a White, Hispanic, Asian or middle Eastern teenager had been cast as the young suitor. Sadly, here again is another example of the MPAA's failure to effectively rate films. Maybe, there's a bunch of niggers on the MPAA board?
As you should know, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Gloria Foster, Sidney Poitier, Nichelle Nichols, Bill Cosby, Lena Horne, Ivan Dixon, Gordon Parks, Rosalind Cash, Thomas Carter, and many other capable Black actors, directors, producers, and writers have made positive contributions in presenting the diverse scope of the Black experience. Generally, "nigger" is not used gratuitously by responsible Black and White filmmakers. Naysayers will mention Richard Pryor's use of the word "nigger" as a glaring exception to the aforementioned statement. However, unlike performers before and after him, Pryor exercised a captivating deft in using "nigger" to positively support his creative process with great drama, humor, and as his consummate verbal weapon. Plus, Pryor's major studio releases, like Superman IV or the films with Gene Wilder, were either completely devoid of the word "nigger" or exercised judicious use of the word. Neither Will Smith or Martin Lawrence rise to Pryor's creative genius.
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence bamboozled audiences into believing two nigger cops (remember, that's what they called themselves in the film - niggers!) in Bad Boys II would provide an exciting film. It never happened. After the ever-typical shoot-ups, car chases, car crashes, and nigger bashing of the first two hours (yawn), the film transitions to Cuba for an anticlimactic ending of more shooting, followed by a final embrace of (Smith) Lowrey and (Union) Burnett. Keep in mind, actions films don't come with a lot of dialogue, so after all the noise and guns and fights, when you get back to the script, the only thing left in Bad Boys II is a couple of nigger cops who shot people and blew-up things. And this is presented as entertainment? Notably, as frequently mentioned by two-time Academy Award ® winner Denzel Washington, as far as Hollywood is concerned, Black men are NOT allowed to do intimate (naked and intense) love scenes in major motion pictures. The penis has been removed from the Black man and instead, as clearly represented by Bad Boys II, the word "nigger" has evolved to a standard of accepted congeniality for mass consumption; and to further entrench this fact, the world-wide distribution of this film for perpetuity validates the old axiom - once a nigger, always a nigger!
Based on his track record in blockbuster films, as an "A" list actor, "clean boy" Will Smith (who appropriately should be held to a "higher standard" in the selection of his films) did not have to give the greenlight to his participation in Bad Boys II. Before approving the final script to Bad Boys II, perhaps Mr. Smith should have looked back at his wife's (Jada Pinkett Smith) role in Spike Lee's 2000 film, "Bamboozled," which keenly satirized both the media and how America's racist past still impacts the present. If provided an opportunity to interview Will Smith, the burning question I'd ask, "So, tell me Will, was it a stretch for you to play a nigger in Bad Boys II?" Nobody really takes Martin Lawrence seriously, and with Bad Boys II, it's unlikely anyone ever will. Bad Boys II is a lousy, vulgar, poorly written, and much too long piece of crap that hits my list as the worst film of 2003. Don't make the mistake of seeing this film in theatres, or on video or DVD. Instead, purchase it and send it to your local chapter of the KKK. Afterall, they'll probably thank you for it!
And Black people wonder why people still call them "niggers!" Please.
As with other Jerry Bruckheimer Pictures such as "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" this piece of crap is directed laboriously by Michael Bay, overproduced by Jerry Bruckheimer and, in a true indication of chaos (with too many hands in the stew) - film is overwritten by Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Cormac Wibberley, and Marianne Wibberley.
Film has a uneven running length of 146 minutes.
Recommendation: Again, avoid this movie, but purchase it for the KKK.