To discuss Michael Bay and the talent he has in realising the action Hollywood blockbuster is a fine line between joining those who praise the ground he walks and annoying saner individuals who are still upset with Transformers. The joke is on both parties though, because if anything, Ambulance certainly proves Bay has perfected his own formula. His work has always fit the bill for those looking for popcorn explosions but also those looking for deeper, gratifying sensibilities. Pain & Gain was not that long ago, and it provides a perfect example of how Bay has perfected the budget to meaning ratio. Enough for all audiences. Ambulance is another bold participation in that balance but stretches itself thin in places.
Big burly action is what Pain & Gain offers with its successful call-backs to the glory days of big-budget action entertainment. A dying breed this sort of film may be, it does not stop Michael Bay from turning in another expectedly explosive bit of work. The American Dream, in one way or another, will chew up and spit out whoever it can. Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) was one such man. His belief in fitness as the future of the country and as part of his own personal American Dream is a fascinating self-made rise and fall. Daniel Lugo is of the Jordan Belfort category in the sense that he is a self-made man that will stop at nothing to fulfil his goal as a freewheeling, charismatic businessman.
Asteroids are always threatening Earth. Just today, there were two that skittered on by like bowling balls rolling along the gutter. There’ll be five more in just as many days over the first week of May. We have nothing to worry about. Armageddon thinks not. Instilling within its audience is a fear founded by the dinosaurs. It happened to them; it will happen to us. Michael Bay tends not to disappoint when blockbuster blowouts are concerned. As he opens with the immediate destruction of Earth, narration rolling on saying “…it will happen again, it’s just a question of when,” you get the feeling this is not just a threat from the sentient powers beyond the stars, but from Bay too.
Whilst the pairing of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence has worked wonders for many audiences around the world, I can’t help but ponder the appeal of it all. Answering the question of what I would do if indeed the bad boys did come for me, this Michael Bay action classic didn’t do much for me at all. I had expected a good bit of action, some clean fun that would play on the buddy cop charms it was so clearly made in mockery of, but Bad Boys, if anything, leaves a sour taste on the mouth and an expressionless, bland palette for the eyes to ogle at throughout its predictable, bland story.