Blazing filters, lunatic circular camera movements, promiscuous cathedral lighting, a greasy bad guy at one point made to look like Jesus: “some sort of visual code-breaking,” as someone says, or just a pop pulverizer scrambling to find ways to penetrate the eye? Whatever it thinks it’s doing, Bad Boys II... emerges as a devastating compendium of the vilest impulses of the early Bush aughts.
Vividly exaggerating the color schemes, whiplash camera swivels, and juxtapositions of vehicular Grand Guignol and domestic dramedy endemic to a particular strain of American blockbuster-dom (think of this as Lethal Weapon 2 post mild hallucinogen ingestion), the movie seems to grow sick of its own hyper-ethos swiftly—yet it can’t stop upping this ante, either.
If Tony Scott painted in primary-color blotches and smears, Michael Bay instead opts to detonate the bucket, his brand of ludicrous maximalism less a distinct visual style than simply the shortest route from containment to paint on the wall. In Bad Boys II, what passes as the vulgar auteur’s pop-cinematic opus, reds erupt across a cobalt-tinted Miami sky like million-dollar Pollockian splatters, every formal gesture a cinematic champagne toast to the profane and obscene.