Bad Boys

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Bad Boys Movie Poster Image
Violent cop movie has cursing, drugs, explosions.
  • R
  • 1995
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 22 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The heroes seem fairly disorganized; they're always joking and fighting amongst themselves. Their main motivation is to retrieve the heroin to save their jobs and avenge the death of a friend. They kill almost at random with no consequences. Nothing they do makes the world a better place, and no one seems to learn much of anything. However, themes of idealism, friendship, and love of duty and family come through underneath all the violence, swearing, and surface-level cynicism. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters are definitely good people, loyal to one another and to their loved ones. But they are also needlessly violent and vulgar, and not particularly the kind of police one would want to hold up as an example. While there are scenes in which women are gratuitously sexualized and objectified, the leading female characters are assertive and pull no punches in their dealings with the leading male characters. Julie refuses to remain trapped in Lawrey's apartment while the killer of her best friend remains on the loose. Theresa refuses to sit idly by while her husband is constantly putting his career in front of his family, and seems to be engaged in an affair. Lawrey -- who is independently wealthy because of a trust fund and therefore doesn't need to be a detective -- is motivated by ideals of truth and justice, and Burnett is continually trying his best to put his wife and family ahead of the demands of his job. Also, their friendship for each other is often a motivating factor for their actions. 


Lots of big, violent action sequences with car chases, explosions, guns, and fist-fights. There are plenty of guns, including some very big, very loud ones. Several minor characters are killed without consequences. Other characters are threatened with guns to their heads. There's some blood and gore, including a scene with a rotting corpse, covered in maggots. 


The movie has no nudity or sex, but it contains plenty of sexual innuendo and sexy situations. Married Marcus and single Mike joke and brag about their sex lives (or lack thereof), and later are forced to trade places for reasons too complicated to explain. As this part of the storyline develops, there are lots of jokes about the married man and his wife being tempted by others. A half-naked girl shows up at Mike's apartment, and there are half-naked girls dancing in a club, and a shot of Mike with his face pressed up within inches of a stripper's high-heeled foot. There are also references to "working girls" and one minor character is a prostitute. 


We get nonstop, all-out language of all stripes, including "f--k" and all its permutations, "s--t" and all its permutations, and "d--k," "balls," "God damn," "bitch," "ass," "screw," "God," "Jesus Christ," "whore," "t-ts," "a--hole," and "hump." The term "Negroes" is used.


Characters mention name brands several times out loud, but are never seen using or consuming said brands. They include "Coke," "Budweiser," "Bubblicious" gum, and "Skittles." "Arm & Hammer" baking soda is shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The heroes are narcotics cops. The bad guys steal an enormous amount of heroin from the police. This heroin is shown and mentioned many times (in "brick" form as well as powder), but only one minor character uses it, and is shown to be under its influence. Otherwise, there is some minor drinking during a club scene, and another scene inside a liquor store (but no drinking).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bad Boys is the 1995 violent debut feature of Michael Bay. Like most Bay productions, it's slick, exploitative, and has little in the way of redeeming value. The heroes are foul-mouthed, violent Miami narcotics cops who are charged with recovering a huge pile of heroin. Some minor characters are junkies and prostitutes. There is no nudity or onscreen sex, but plenty of sexual innuendo. The profanity is nonstop (including "f--k" and variations), and the nonstop violence includes fist-fighting, guns, blood, and explosions (and one gory, maggot-covered corpse). While most representations of women in this movie are sexualized and objectified, the lead female characters don't tolerate being patronized; nor do they sit back quietly while the men get all the glory and steal all the scenes. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMovieMan26 October 9, 2010

Fun, violent action flick is awesome for older teens

With plenty of firepower and wit, this movie keeps the audience's attention. It's no Oscar-winner, but it's certainly great for what it is: an ex... Continue reading
Adult Written byAyy521 January 27, 2021
Kid, 7 years old April 7, 2020

What's the story?

In Miami, a gang of criminals successfully steals a huge supply of heroin from the police. It's up to narcotics cops Mike Lowery (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) to find the drugs to save their jobs. A prostitute friend of Mike's responds to a call from one of the careless criminals, and brings her friend Julie (Tea Leoni). The bad guys murder the prostitute, but Julie witnesses it and gets away. Due to a mix-up, Marcus must pretend to be Mike to keep Julie happy, and so Mike and Marcus must pretend to be each other, protect Julie, find the bad guys and the drugs, and avenge their friend, all the while trying not to blow up half of Miami.

Is it any good?

Making his directorial debut after a career in music videos, Michael Bay knows how to deliver a slick, good-looking film, colorful and filled with action. The film is also notable for its unique pairing of two African-American cops. But it also appeals to the lowest common denominator, and wallows in excessive violence and language, female stereotypes, drugs, product placement, and brain-dead sitcom humor. Bay's motto seems to be "bigger and louder."

Lawrence plays to his usual audience, but Smith hadn't yet found his sparkling star persona and comes across as a little arrogant here. Worse is the script concept that requires the two characters to pretend to "be" each other for the benefit of their murder witness. This leads to an excruciating series of fumbling, embarrassing jokes. Overall, the characters are not strong enough to provide any real emotional impact, and the violence and thrills are subsequently numbing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's violence. Was it thrilling, or disturbing? How did it make you feel in the end?

  • What is the appeal of this type of movie? Are there any lessons to be learned from watching it, or is it just entertainment?

  • What are some other examples of "cop movies" in which two partners are "opposite characters" that work together in the interest of stopping the bad guys? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

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