Michael Bay: “Ever since Bad Boys, critics have hated my style”

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Michael Bay: "Ever since Bad Boys, critics have hated my style"
Columbia TriStar Films

The director talks about his undeniable influence on action movies, especially on Edgar Wright, who signed with Hot Fuzz “a love letter to Bad Boys 2”.

M6 will offer a special evening tonight bad boysrebroadcasting the two opuses of Michael Bay released in 1995 and 2003, before programming Sunday, for the first time in light, Bad Boys For Lifeby Adil El Arbi and Billal Fallah, released in cinemas in 2020. Three buddy movie cops worn by Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Last March, First sat down with Michael Bay to talk aboutAmbulancehis new action film worn by Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and the filmmaker had obviously gone back on his bad boys, which marked his career. When asked to quote the pivotal works of his filmography, he replied, tit for tat: “First of all, bad boys, obviously. The first film, the one on which you put everything. Cinema is a ruthless business: if you mess up there, you know you won’t have a career. Everyone assured us that we were going to screw up, because no film with two black people in the lead had ever marketed abroad.

Michael Bay – Ambulance: “The police love my films, I don’t really know why”

During the same interview, we also mentioned the undeniable influence he had on action cinema. A subject that makes him uncomfortable, after years of receiving very violent criticism of his “style” : “It’s complicated, this question of authorism. Already because I don’t like to talk about myself in this way, it’s pretentious…” He admitted all the same to having succeeded in imposing himself in Hollywood, over time thanks to The Rock, Armageddon or of course his transformers : “Yes, I have a characteristic style. Summer blockbuster is a language, which I learned with Star Wars and Jaws. I then tried to make my own contribution to this language. I think that if you look at any of my films, you can see from the first shots that it was me who directed it. There are things that I am the only one to do, in terms of colors, contrasts…” A way of filming the action that does not please everyone, he adds then. “Of the bad boysthey [les critiques] hated my style. The reason the film was put together so quickly was because we had very little money for the art direction. James Cameron had just done True Liesalso filmed in Florida, and I watched his film thinking to myself: ” My God ! Look at all the money he has! » Me, I was a kid and I had what? A fight in a restroom where a guy gets knocked into a urinal. So I said to myself that I had to play the card of intensity, of super-fast editing. And… they hated it! Yet when you look at this style today, you see how much it has been imitated. I spoke to my film teacher, Jeanine Basinger, so that she could explain it to me. She said : “Critics hate change. » Somehow, I can understand that. As a teenager, I worked at Lucasfilm, and I was able to get a seat for one of the very first screenings of blade runner. People were completely confused. It was so new, they didn’t understand what they had just seen. Me, I loved it, because it was a purely visual language. Today, the film is a classic. The only real measure, basically, is perhaps this: time.

Hence our next question: “When did you realize that your style was setting a standard?” “Oh, I’m not going to have fun listing here my influence on one or the other. But hey, you watch action cinema before and after bad boys, I think that’s pretty clear. There’s a film that bears witness to that, it’s the one about the two English cops, there… [Hot Fuzz, 2007] Edgar Wright’s love letter to Bad Boys 2 ! If we have to choose a film as a measure of my influence, go for this one.

Edgar Wright: ‘Hot Fuzz is not a parody of action movies’

The story of bad boys : If Mike Lowrey is an inveterate seducer, heir to a fortune and policeman by passion, his colleague and friend Marcus Burnett is a tidy, married man and father of a family. Their friendship does not prevent them from having completely different methods. But the disappearance of a hundred kilos of heroin, stolen from the very premises of the narcotics brigade, will make them forget their concept of how to exercise their profession, in order to pursue the thieves.

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