Picks and Pans Review: Bad Boys II

UPDATED 07/28/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/28/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jordi Mollà, Gabrielle Union

If you've been pining for a movie in which, in between the jokes, you see folks shot through the forehead (with their brains exploding out the backs of their skulls), dripping close-ups of severed limbs, a kidney plucked from a corpse and an already dead guy blown to smithereens when his body falls on a land mine, Bad Boys II is for you. If there were an artistic or thematic point to this excessive mayhem—did I mention the massive shoot-outs and car chases in which more than two dozen vehicles are smashed?—it might be justifiable, but there isn't. It's there purely for entertainment value, the cinematic equivalent of gladitorial gorefests in ancient Rome.

In this sequel to the 1995 action thriller, again bombastically directed by Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor), Smith and Lawrence reprise their roles as, respectively, detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett. Spatting partners on the Miami police department's narcotics squad, they're trying to nail a Cuban drug czar (Spanish heartthrob Mollà, in a droll turn). Also hoping to trap the dealer is an undercover DEA agent (Union), who just happens to be Marcus's sister and Mike's secret crush.

Despite the energetic efforts of Smith and Lawrence, Boys is yet another hyperventilating sequel with an inflated plot and running time (nearly 2½ hours). Which is a shame, because when it pauses between shoot-outs to let its two stars teasingly rag on each other, their potent comic chemistry is a blast to behold. (R)

BOTTOM LINE: Too long, too violent

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