Bad Boys Steelbook Blu-ray Review
"You know, you drive almost slow enough to drive Miss Daisy."
Back when Smith, Lawrence and Bay were all happy to embrace unabashed, unrestrained fun without pretentious aspirations clouding the vision, we got Bad Boys.At the time of its making, the Bad Boys formula had already been done a number of times before, and better. Its clichéd dialogue, stereotyped characters and over-the-top action sequences were all marks of a classic buddy-buddy action-thriller. Really the definitive entry in the genre has to be Lethal Weapon. Bad Boys, however, had two great assets, who both proved the most successful aspect of the film (and its sequel) - Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. The camaraderie, the banter, the improvised lines and the confrontations, it is all pitch-perfect. You feel like these two actors were made to work together.The film was actually surprisingly well directed too, long before he disappeared into a 'Bayformer' abyss, Michael Bay was still perfecting his style, and managed to work wonders on the minimal $18 Million budget. He made his debut movie look much more glossy and flashy than the price tag would otherwise dictate, and delivered some thrilling chases and action set-pieces. Sure, the whole thing is still style-over-substance, but it's far from the excess of its (admittedly also fun) sequel, and remains engaging due to Smith and Lawrence, back when they were still fresh and unpretentious, and a whole lot of fun.
Picture QualityBad Boys was privy to a 4K remaster last year, and was already released both sides of the pond in a double-pack with Bad Boys II, although this release ended up being somewhat controversial, with the first pressings going out with the old non-remastered disc for the first movie instead of the new remaster. Although Sony offered a replacement scheme, it makes sense to release the first movie in its own standalone package (particularly given the fact that Bad Boys II had its own standalone - albeit steelbook, like this - release), giving fans peace of mind that they're picking up the new version.
In visual terms there's a night and day upgrade between the two versions, with the 2010 release leagues behind this new 4K remaster (which should look impressive once they use it for a UHD title, but don't hold out, it took decades for Bad Boys II to even get a Blu-ray release). Presented in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the 1080p/AVC-encoded presentation makes the most of its new remaster, cleaned up but also boasting some great grain-based texture.
This great remaster job results in a night and day upgrade
Whilst the 2010 release was marred by noticeable instances of haloing, blocking, crush, and even print defects, none are apparent here. The more stable grain structure gives the image some depth; detail remaining strong beneath the surface. It's a sharper image, but still one which remains faithful to the source material and style. The colour scheme also benefits from the upgraded remaster, afforded a wide range through that same style, with blue-hued night sequences, or gold-orange glazed daytime scenes, lending the Miami locales a cool look and, again, making the most of the minimalist budget. It's a great remaster job.
Sound QualityOn the aural front we get a bombastic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that mirrors the director's style-over-substance approach in audio terms. In other words it packs a hell of a punch, but isn't particularly nuanced when it comes down to attention to detail, and lacks any significant depth. The snappy dialogue is accurately rendered throughout, clear and coherent and dominating the centre channel whenever it is appropriate (and benefiting no end from the fact that much of it is shouted), and the action sequences allow for plenty of boom; the shootouts sending shots ricocheting around your living room.
The soundtrack packs a punch but isn't particularly nuanced
The score is also perfectly suited to the material, Mark Mancina's Bad Boys theme riffing right from the opening credits, and pervasive throughout, getting keen use from the surrounds and making for another positive aspect of the soundtrack. But, despite this not being a particularly subtle movie, there is still a lack of depth and atmosphere to the track, few ambient elements coming to the forefront and the film really only existing on its high octane moments to provide you with aural sustenance, and even those lack the kind of LFE depth you would expect as commonplace these days. In that respect, it makes for a boisterous, in-your-face workout for your home cinema equipment but subtle, it is not, and it won't have your sofa rumbling either, as perhaps you'd hope.
Steelbook ExtrasDropping a couple of trailers, this new re-release at least keeps the meat of the extras from the previous release (and preceding DVD), with a strong Director's Commentary headlining the piece, as well as a solid accompanying Making-Of Featurette and a couple of Music Videos. Unfortunately there's been nothing new added to this package, which is a bit of a missed opportunity.
The steelbook design is uninspired and not as good as the original steelbook release
Not only has Bad Boys had a standalone Blu-ray release, and a remastered release in a package with Bad Boys II, but it's actually already had a steelbook release, with far better artwork. This new steelbook, although it boasts the remastered version, is a little uninspired, and doesn't even match up all that nicely with the recent Zavvi Bad Boys II steelbook release. In terms of specs, there's some nice spot gloss on the characters, the badges and the title, debossing on the bullet-hole on the front and on the badge on the rear, but all of that doesn't really make up for the almost monochromatic look which is a far cry from the more vibrant original steelbook release which matched the style and artwork of the film's original theatrical poster.
Steelbook Blu-ray VerdictBad Boys is a whole lot of unpretentious fun
Bad Boys gets its fourth Blu-ray release and second Blu-ray steelbook release, with an impressive 4K remaster for the video, solid audio and all of the important original extras in a steelbook design arguably not as good as the original steelbook. Still, if you didn't pick up the two-pack release with Bad Boys II, and instead bought Zavvi's recent Bad Boys II steelbook then it would make sense to pick this up to go alongside it.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £15.99
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