(Photo by Columbia Pictures courtesy Everett Collection)
Say what you will about Michael Bay, but his movies make money and, for a specific segment of the population, scratch a certain king-sized, action-hungry itch. After honing his skills on dozens of music videos, he made an explosive feature debut with 1995’s Bad Boys, a buddy-cop comedy full of biting quips and near fetishistic action sequences that didn’t score high on the Tomatometer but earned a legion of fans. That film set the tone for the rest of Bay’s big-screen career, so it feels perfectly appropriate that the movie on his résumé that marks the highest divide between critics and audiences is its sequel, 2003’s Bad Boys II.
Look, if you went to see Bad Boys II in the theater, you certainly knew what you were getting into. Not only is it likely you were a fan of the first film, but by the time II came out, Bay had also already churned out The Rock, Armageddon, and Pearl Harbor. The man had certainly established an M.O.
Pair that with the fact that the sequel secured a budget reportedly 10 times higher than the original and reunited two of the wisecrackingest smart-asses around – namely Will Smith and Martin Lawrence – as a couple of loose cannons trying to end a drug war, and you would have had to be supremely dense to expect anything other than exactly what Bad Boys II delivered. Of course, whether or not that final product was something you cared to watch at all was another story, and that’s why the film sports a dismal 24% on the Tomatometer alongside an enthusiastic 78% Audience Score.
While there’s no shortage of folks who think the film’s witty banter is frankly devoid of wit and no amount of slow motion can make up for all the destructive chaos on screen, there’s also an equally vocal – if not more so – contingent of movie lovers who consider Bad Boys II a wildly entertaining turn-your-brain-off gem of a popcorn flick. One particularly passionate fan is our very special guest this week, Kola Bokinni, who plays AFC Richmond team captain Isaac McAdoo on the Emmy-winning Apple TV+ comedy series Ted Lasso.
Bokinni joins regular hosts Jacqueline Coley and Mark Ellis to explain why he feels “it’s an injustice, a disgrace” that Bad Boys II’s Tomatometer is as low as it is. The three discuss their favorite scenes, the funniest lines, the brilliance of pairing Will Smith and Martin Lawrence at the top of their games, and what it is about Michael Bay’s filmmaking that seems to rub all the critics the wrong way, while some consider this film to be “slow-motion poetry.”
Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”
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Meet the hosts
Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.
Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.