Saturday, 30 July 2011

Review - Bad Boys (1983 - Dir. Rick Rosenthal)

The penultimate instalment in our 80s Prison Season is Bad Boys, not the 1995 Michael Bay one, but the 1983 one starring Sean Penn. I can remember seeing the video case for this when it first came out at Creepy's Video Emporium (a quality video shop from the days when you could rent video nasties). I never actually rented it out because it didn't appeal to me at the time. Let's see what I missed.

Doccortex would probably love this because even though it is a prison film (getting lots of ticks on the Prison Checklist), it is also quite gritty (see the Gritty Checklist). Bad Boys is the American equivalent of Scum. Set in a 'Bad Lads' institution, Mick O'Brien (Sean Penn) is sent down for shooting a gun in public, thieving and killing Paco Moreno's (Esai Morales) younger brother. Paco is also a bad boy, involved in drugs and helmet haircuts.

In a similar fashion to Avatar, you know the whole plot of the film after the first half an hour. At least this is fun though. A lot of  the entertainment comes from Horowitz (Eric Gurry) who befriends O'Brien, shows him the ropes and eventually becomes his Lieutenant. He's likeable and funny in every scene he's in, especially when he kicks another helmet head, Viking Lofgren (Clancy Brown), in the chicken nuggets and does a little victory dance.

The inevitable showdown between O'Brien and Paco is well done. It has the feel of a proper scrap, not a choreographed Hollywood fight. Again, all very predictable, but quite wince inducing when one of our bad boys get stuck by a shiv in his leg. The whole thing is very formulaic, but then, aren't most prison films. It wouldn't really count as a real prison film if the other prisoners welcomed their new inmate chums with apple pie and then took them for a cup of Earl Grey and a chat about  Dostoyevsky. Enjoyable enough, just don't expect too much.

If you like this you could also try:
The Warriors, Scum, Prison, An Innocent Man.

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