Special Edition and Superbit


Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Tea Leoni, Tcheky Karyo, Joe Pantoliano
Director: Michael Bay
Audio: SE English Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround, SB Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic Transfer
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 119 Minutes
Release Date: SE June 27, 2000, SB May 13, 2003

“Let’s try to do this right. No gun shots, no dead bodies. I’m not trying to lose my job over this.”

“Well, you know, if I recall correctly, the last couple of dead bodies belonged to you.”

Film ***1/2

Very rarely does a film, let alone a buddy cop action comedy, which lacks a somewhat involving plotline, succeeds in nearly achieving near-excellence. That’s the exact kind of quality I found in Bad Boys, which is a buddy cop movie, which we’ve seen thousands of times before, but the two stars of this particular entry, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, ignite the screen with wit, energy and superb comic timing. Before this movie, Lawrence and Smith were both well known TV personalities who also had a few supporting roles under their belt, and Bad Boys gave them a huge opportunity to carry a movie and win an audience over with their undeniable charisma. The movie was also the directorial debut of Michael Bay, who has made three consecutive blockbusters with this movie, along with The Rock in 1996, and Armageddon in 1998. His flashy camera work, and ingenious knack for frenetic pacing also play a big part in the quality of this movie.

The movie’s plot is essentially simple as can be. It opens with a gang of criminals hijacking a hundred million dollars worth of heroin from the evidence room of a Miami police precinct. Detectives Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Smith) are the cops who were responsible for making the heroin bust, and they attempt to recover it once more before a major drug deal goes down. The case also involves a murder connected to the drug dealers, and it also provides a witness named Julie (Tea Leoni). The murder victim was a friend of Lowrey’s, and Julie is only willing to talk to Lowery. When Lowery is suddenly unavailable, the captain (Joe Pantoliano) orders Marcus to retrieve the witness, and to pose as Lowery in the process, which ignites a very funny subplot involving the two cops trading places. While Mike is a polished womanizer, Marcus happens to be a married man and a family man as well, which leads to the two switching lives in order to maintain the trust of their witness. The mistaken identity/trading places formula has been done many times, but the execution of these scenes, such as Julie mistaking Marcus to be a gay man, due to fact that he has countless pictures of Mike in his bedroom are very hysterical.

The film’s action sequences are truly larger than life, and Michael Bay has since been known for bringing a rare frenetic vision to an already pulse pounding action scene. There are numerous shootouts and chases before the movie reaches its climatic sequence in an air hanger, which at the time I noted as one of the best action scenes I had ever seen in a movie, and this was not long after I first saw Speed. The cops bust a drug deal, leading to an exhilarating shootout resulting in exploding planes and endless amounts of burning, flying corpses. Just when we think the action is going to end, Bay adds on a climatic high-speed car chase on a runway, which is likely to have you glued to your chair, gasping your breath, and waiting for more. A truly mind-blowing moment.

So even though the story has a been-there, done-that kind of feel to it, the high energy pace of the movie, along with the astoundingly extravagant action sequences make Bad Boys a fast paced, hilarious, gasping-for-your-breath joyride that is necessary for entertainment. This is also a production from the action producing team of Jerry Bruckheimer and the late Don Simpson, who specialized in making thrilling, fast paced entertainment. They are also credited with such movies as The Rock, Crimson Tide, Top Gun, and Beverly Hills Cop. After Simpson’s death, Bruckheimer continued to produce, resulting in more outrageous entertainments like Con Air, Armageddon and Gone in 60 Seconds.

Bad Boys is a standout in the genre it finds itself in. Lawrence and Smith are a true action-comedy dream team, filled with comedic energy in nearly every scene. And the movie, for me, was a warm welcome for Michael Bay, whose sense of style is absolutely necessary for a movie like this. So if you can suspend your disbelief and upgrade your desire for superb popcorn entertainment for two hours, Bad Boys is the ultimate ticket!

Video :
Special Edition ****
Superbit ****

Bad Boys was one of the first DVDs to come from Columbia Tri Star, and it didn’t carry one of the most outstanding video jobs I had seen. When it was fortunate enough to be re-released in a Special Edition, the image flaws had indeed been removed, and as a whole, a superb video transfer had been delivered, and at that point, I found it to be one of the best looking discs to come from CTS.

With the new Superbit edition, the video transfer has been elevated to an even bigger level of excellence. The picture quality is jaw-droppingly remarkable, as all previous Superbit releases have been. The eye-popping look of sunny Miami has never looked sharper before. In short, what was already a great looking disc has now become even greater with this new edition.

Special Edition ****
Superbit ****

The case is the same with the audio department. Both discs contained outstanding 5.1 mixes, but the Superbit disc just manages to carry a little extra boom. As in any Michael Bay movie, you will get your share of gun fights, explosions, and just about everything but the kitchen sink, which makes for the perfect Superbit release. Music plays a heavy part in the audacious sound quality, as background music, song or score, is played in nearly every scene. The Superbit edition, by comparison, has a bigger level of dynamic range.  

Special Edition ***1/2
Superbit (Zero Stars)

I’ve always liked the idea of a disc such as the Superbit series, but unfortunately, unless such titles are released in two disc sets, like Hollow Man and the soon to be released Punch-Drunk Love, there’s no room for extras. The reason for this is simply to ensure a state of the art disc.

However, as for the Special Edition, there is a nice bag of extras to give you your bang.  There are two featurettes, “The Boom and Bang of Bad Boys” and “Damage Control”. There is also a commentary track by Michael Bay which, despite some minor gaps, is a nice listen. Rounding out the extras are some deleted scenes, three music videos, and trailers for this, as well as Men in Black and Blue Streak.


Bottom line, if you own the Special Edition, but want to experience Bad Boys in a bigger form, the Superbit disc isn’t much of a waste of money. It’s a viewing that will indeed get you hot wired for the long awaited Bad Boys 2, which hits theaters this July.