Bad Boys (1983)Overview -
Sean Penn is Mick O'Brien, a young Chicago street thug torn between a life of petty crime and the love of his girlfriend (Sheedy). But when the heist of a local drug dealer (Esai Morales) goes tragically wrong, Mick is sentenced to a brutal juvenile prison where violence is a rite of passage and respect is measured in vengeance. Can a bad boy on the edge of salvation find the heart to survive a manhood on the verge of murder? Reni Santoni, Clancy Brown and Eric Gurry costar in this gritty drama that sealed Sean Penn's reputation as the greatest young actor of his generation. Bad Boys is now presented complete, uncut and on Blu-ray and includes an audio commentary with the director.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
No, this isn't the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence joint, this is the 'Bad Boys' movie that came way before Michael Bay and his hip cop duo. Frankly, there's no comparing them either. 'Bad Boys' directed by Rick Rosenthal is head and shoulders above the other movie of the same name.
Mick O'Brien (Sean Penn) is a street thug. He lives in a pretty well-to-do household, but he gets his jollies by robbing people and committing violence. He's not the only troublemaker in his neighborhood though. Ramon Herrera (Reni Santoni) hates Mick and wants to get with Mick's girlfriend. The two of them are rivals.
After a drug deal gone bad, Mick ends up running over and killing Ramon's little brother. Mick is sent off to the toughest juvenile facility around. Think 'Shawshank Redemption,' but with minors.
The rehabilitation facility is just as violent as the streets the kids come from. A hierarchy has been constructed. Basically, the person who beats up the most people is in charge. Fear and intimidation are the currency that these young boys deal with.
Mick is a tough-nosed kid, but as he walks into the new facility you can see how scared he is. On the street he was a tough guy, in here he's nothing. He's spit on and threatened by menacing inmates who run the cell block. He's bunking next to murderers and rapists. This isn't a happy place.
All the while Ramon plots his revenge. He must get vengeance for his little brother and he decides the way to do that is through Mick's girlfriend.
Penn's performance here is mesmerizing. It's interesting to go back to movies like this and see exactly how a famous actor started out. Penn had already been in a few things, but 'Bad Boys' put him on the dramatic map. Sure he was in 'Fast Times of Ridgemont High,' but here he was able to showcase exactly what he had in the way of dramatic acting chops.
'Bad Boys' has a very 80s feel to it, which is probably the reason it appealed to me so much. Everything about it screams that decade. It's a lot of fun to revisit these old catalog titles that I largely forgot existed.
While the story is a tad clichéd, as far as the prison genre goes, the movie is carried on the back of a young Sean Penn. It's a different kind of movie experience when you're witnessing a star being born.
If you haven't seen 'Bad Boys' or it's been a long time since your last viewing, you should definitely give this Lionsgate release a try. You won't be disappointed, unless you were expecting lots of explosions and two cops in a Porsche.
I didn't expect much from 'Bad Boys' on Blu-ray. Catalog titles from the early 80s tend to have much softer photography. Just like I expected, the 1080p transfer of 'Bad Boys' was very light on fine detail. The entire movie seems to be covered in a light haze that mutes each and every color on screen. Now, I understand that the movie is cast in stark, unforgiving shadows on purpose, but here the shadows just eat up anyone who walks into them. Delineation doesn't have quite the definition we're used to seeing.
Perhaps the worst thing about this whole transfer is that it's pretty easy to tell copious amounts of DNR were used to clean up the image. Faces have that smooth squeaky clean look to them, wiping away any detail that might have been there. Even with all the DNR that has been used, darker scenes are still rampant with errant noise that creeps and crawls over the screen. Original source noise, in the form of white flecks and hairs pop up occasionally too. Ghosting is also a problem during much of the film. Mouths and eyes move and, for a split second, you can see where they are and where they used to be. It only happens for a brief period of time, but still, when it constantly happens the whole movie begins to look like people are moving in slow motion.
The soft photography, coupled with the at times out-of-control DNR have created a mildly unpleasant experience on Blu-ray for 'Bad Boys.'
'Bad Boys' is also pretty lackluster in the audio department. It comes to Blu-ray sporting a underwhelming 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track. There's no real reason why this shouldn't have been given a nicely mixed 5.1 track. It would have worked well in the crowded prison and busy city streets. A surround sound experience would have done this Blu-ray good.
Instead with the 2.0 presentation everything is front and center. Dialogue sounds a little hollow, but that's to be expected given the time period. Gunshots pop, but there's no underlying low-frequency rumbling to go along with them. In short the 2.0 presentation is rather anemic and doesn't really suck you into the movie like an audio experience should.
- Audio Commentary — Director Rick Rosenthal is the lone commentator on this track. He gives a lot of insight into how the movie was filmed and how the project came about. His most interesting tidbits come in the way of talking about Sean Penn early on in his career and how fun it was to watch him blossom into the actor he is today.
- Trailer — The theatrical trailer is included.
'Bad Boys' is a great addition to the annals of prison dramas. Watching Penn begin his career as a serious dramatic actor is a great experience. It's too bad this Blu-ray features below average audio and video presentations. The special features are barebones too. I'd recommend renting this one just to see the movie.
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