On April 7, 1995, Columbia launched what would become a new franchise with the release of the R-rated cop actioner Bad Boys. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below.
The Beverly Hills Cop juggernaut may have run its course, but Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer look to have a worthy successor with Bad Boys.
Billed as “an action comedy with attitude,” it isn’t exactly the freshest thing on the block — with some minor changes it could have been a Lethal Weapon installment — but the pairing of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith generates a winning comic chemistry.
Playing longtime pals who also happen to be Miami cops, the instant comedy team of Lawrence and Smith is guaranteed future screen assignments. In the meantime, Bad Boys is sure to be very good to Columbia’s coffers.
Taking a break from their popular TV shows, Lawrence (Martin) and Smith (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), respectively play the neurotic Marcus Burnett and the smooth Mike Lowrey, both members of the Miami police force special narcotics unit.
When $100 million worth of heroin is stolen from the station’s lock-up, Burnett and Lowrey are pressed into action by their high-strung captain (Joe Pantoliano) to track down the criminal responsible (La Femme Nikita‘s Tcheky Karyo). Along the way, they take an alluring witness into protective custody (Tea Leoni).
Taking his feature bow after making his mark in music videos and commercials, 30-year-old Michael Bay lends the picture a jittery kinetic energy. It still could have benefited from some tighter editing.
There’s some top-notch work from cinematographer Howard Atherton (Fatal Attraction) and production designer John Vallone (Die Hard 2), who convey a neon-injected Miami that is both seductive and dangerous.
The soundtrack, meanwhile, throbs with selections from 2PAC, Ini Kamoze, Warren G, XSCAPE and, of course, Inner Circle, whose popular Cops theme inspires the picture’s title. — Michael Rechtshaffen, originally published on April 3, 1995