3 1/2 StarsIn essence the longest episode of ‘Miami Vice’ ever, and an action epic that just won’t quit. Michael Bay tops everything about the first film. The sequel is funnier, better looking, longer at 2 ½ hrs, with possibly the greatest single action sequence of the decade. It begins with a freeway chase / shoot-out, like 100’s of films previously. Then it begins to raise the stakes, the villain starts unleashing cars from a cargo hitch. The cops in pursuit have to dodge traffic and automobiles being launched at them. When one car gets caught on a loose chain, the fleeing villains use the vehicle as a whip to side swipe pursuing police cars. Most films would stop there, but not Bay’s movie. Next the car bursts into flames and becomes a burning mace. Yes it’s ridiculous, but it also has to be seen (top notch CGI effects from Brooks Institute alumni Robert Legato) to be believed.
Amidst all the action and violence Smith and Lawrence maintain a hysterical and rapid fire interplay. They inhabit these characters with swagger and charm, both seeming to be totally at ease, and in return creating great chemistry. Lawrence is allowed an extended comedic sequence in which the character accidentally ingests ecstasy. Those ten minutes are funnier than anything in so called ‘comedies’ of 2003. Audiences eat it up as well with a gross north of $130 million, significantly improving on its predecessor’s $65 million back in 1995. As recently as Nov. 2009 rumors have swirled that Bay, Smith, and Lawrence would return to a 3rd film. As much as I welcome the reunion of the team, it will be a challenge to top this outing for thrills and laughs.
Director: Michael Bay
Stars: Will Smith, Marin Lawrence, Gabrielle Union