12 December 2008 | bkoganbing
Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do
Bad Boys and The Falcon And The Snowman are the first film that Sean Penn was taken seriously as an actor and not just a James Dean wannabe. A lot of people with that rebel persona have come and gone, but Penn's proved to have staying power in his adult roles.
But it was a part like Mick O'Brien, kid from the mean streets of Chicago that first attracted the movie going public to Sean Penn. Bad Boys is not your usual teen dream Brat Pack film. Penn's representative of some of the baddest of the bad from the Eighties.
Penn's a high school kid from Chicago, but the kind who only goes to school on occasion, maybe to get messages from his hoodlum friends. A heist he plans goes horribly wrong and the little brother of another tough kid, Esai Morales, is accidentally killed simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That last crime finally puts him in reform school and of course Morales winds up there as well. That's after raping Ally Sheedy who is Penn's girl friend. That sets up the final confrontation between them.
Bad Boys is one of a long line of films going back to Wild Boys Of The Road dealing with the juvenile delinquent problem and the incarceration thereof. It's interesting how rape is used as a weapon in two instances here and how it's thought of that way. Morales rapes Sheedy as a way of getting back at Penn and in the reformatory the two who run the cell block where Penn and later Morales is put, Robert Lee Rush and Clancy Brown, use it as a way of establishing their authority.
Brown who will tell you this is a method of enforcement belies his own gay nature with those muscle pictures in his cell. And O'Brien's cellmate, Eric Gurry is also a latent case, maybe more. His performance in many ways is the most interesting in the film. He's a nerdy kid who happens to be one unusual inmate for the place. He's been picked on and in retaliation bombed a bowling alley where his tormentors were hanging out. Not too many kids his age have the scientific knowledge to pull off that and what we see him do here.
Still the film builds up to the climax between Penn and Morales and Bad Boys does not disappoint in the end. Bad Boys might have some charter Brat Pack members in the cast, but John Hughes wouldn't be doing a project like this.