Two bad boys and a good girl are hoping to give pirates a run for their treasure this weekend at the box office.
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, reprising their roles as detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Bennett, and Mandy Moore, in yet another teen romance drama, will compete for moviegoers with "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," last weekend's top flick.
In "Bad Boys II," the experts in action and comedy investigate a Miami kingpin whose ecstasy drug ring has caused an underground war in the city. And to make matters worse, Smith's Lowery is having a hard time concentrating, as he's fallen for his partner's sister Syd, played by Gabrielle Union (see "Bad Boys 2' Co-Star Gabrielle Union Says Flick Will Be 'Crazy Action' ").
If the buddy movie, directed again by Michael Bay (see "Bad Boys II' Director Already Thinking About 'III' "), is anything like the first, it's a surefire hit. The question is: Why has it taken so long for a sequel?
"I think the first movie is really the film that launched Michael's, Martin's, and my careers," Smith said recently. "So we didn't want to mess it up. It holds kind of a sentimental value for us, so we needed the script to be right. And there were a couple of other attempts within that eight years, but it just was never right."
It may have taken almost a decade for the script to fall into place, but it only took Smith and Lawrence a few seconds to get back in their famous characters.
"All I had to do was watch 'Bad Boys' and it all comes back to you," Lawrence said. "I know how hard it was to make it and then I see the results of what we got from it, and so it was kind of fun to come back and try to play this character again and to hook up with my 'Bad Boys' partner, Will, who has grown and gone on to do so many big things."
"Mike Lowrey is my alter-ego," Smith added. "It's like, if I could be that dude on that poster, walking with the sunglasses and my T-shirt on ... and my glock around the house with my kids, I would."
Moore's movie, "How to Deal," couldn't be more different from "Bad Boys II," but looks to be a serious contender, judging by the success of her last film, "A Walk to Remember."
In this love story, the singer plays a teenager down on her luck in relationships that meets the man of her dreams, played by newcomer Trent Ford.
"I basically play a character who is very cynical and jaded about love because her parents are going through a divorce — her best friend has kind of abandoned her and fallen in love and her sister is getting married to this goofy guy that I am not really too fond of," Moore explained. "I just feel like I am a loner and no one is listening to me and paying attention to me, as most teenagers kind of feel in this day in age. It's the trials and tribulations that teenagers go through."
Elsewhere in theaters, British comedian Rowan Atkinson plays a diplomat mistaken for a legendary spy in "Johnny English." Pop singer Natalie Imbruglia and acting guru John Malkovich co-star.
And in select cities, director Alex Proyas, best known for "The Crow" and "Dark City,” debuts his latest, "Garage Days," a comedy of sorts about a band in Sydney, Australia, struggling to make it big.
For more on "Bad Boys II" check out "Will Smith: Bad Boy For Life".