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Bad Boys II's Ending Finally Explained

Released in 2003 — eight years after the original "Bad Boys" — "Bad Boys II" is a fitting continuation of the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence buddy cop franchise. In "Bad Boys II," they return as Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett — a pair of detectives working for the Miami Police Department. They are joined by Gabrielle Union as Sydney "Syd" Burnett — a DEA agent and Marcus' younger sister — along with Jordi Mollà as Cuban drug kingpin Hector Juan Carlos "Johnny" Tapia, and Joe Pantoliano as Captain Conrad Howard.

In the sequel, Marcus and Mike are investigating the flow of illegal drugs into Miami. The drugs are being smuggled and distributed by Tapia, who soon pushes out his Russian competition and becomes the sole kingpin of Miami. However, the investigation goes off the rails, eventually leading to Tapia kidnapping Syd and taking her to Cuba. This prompts Marcus and Mike to devise a team of commandos to travel to Cuba off the books and rescue Syd from the clutches of Tapia. It's certainly a wild ride and one where the details of the plot can get a bit lost among the explosions and car chases. We're here to help, however, so here's the ending of "Bad Boys II" finally explained.

Why Mike and Syd are so awkward

One of the big issues to affect the relationship between Marcus and Mike in "Bad Boys II" is the courtship between Mike and Marcus' sister, Sydney Burnett. Syd's character does not appear in the first "Bad Boys" movie, but after those events, she and Mike begin dating after running into each other while in New York City. Mike is deathly afraid of telling his friend and partner about their relationship because Marcus is extremely overprotective of his family — and most of all his younger sister. 

This plays out in hilarious ways throughout the film, because Syd wants to let Marcus know and Mike keeps trying to stop it from happening. This is why Syd keeps bringing up her and Mike being in New York at the same time, while Mike awkwardly tries to change the subject to pivot to anything but talking about Syd and himself. Eventually, Syd forces Mike to tell Marcus, which immediately furthers the rift in their already deteriorating relationship. Later, Mike and Syd are able to smooth things over with him, but it's no wonder that Mike was reluctant to tell his partner in crime-fighting at first.

The KKK and Johnny Tapia connection

The opening sequence of "Bad Boys II" sees Mike and Marcus spearhead a raid against a local Ku Klux Klan organization. Mike and Marcus are working undercover with the Klan, but when they reveal themselves and try to call in their backup there is a problem with their radios, delaying any help. This results in a massive shootout between Mike, Marcus, and the KKK, with the Miami Police Department eventually getting involved.

However, following the raid the investigation then switches from the KKK towards drug dealer Hector Juan Carlos "Johnny" Tapia. It can be a bit confusing to piece together how the KKK and Tapia are connected, so you have to pay close attention. Essentially, Mike and Marcus organized the raid on the KKK thinking they were the drug kingpins in Miami and responsible for the massive influx of ecstasy. Unfortunately, when the raid went down they only found a few bags of drugs instead of the motherload they were expecting.

This leads Mike and Marcus to a gun battle with the Haitian gang, which leads them to Tapia. As it turns out, the KKK were just small-time distributors who got the ecstasy from Tapia, the larger supplier. After Mike and Marcus realize this, they abandon the KKK as targets and move toward Tapia and his associates in the Russian mob. It was never about the KKK, it was always about Tapia, even if Mike and Marcus didn't realize it at first.

Why the cops are initially reluctant to pursue Tapia

The reason that Mike and Marcus start their initial investigation into the Ku Klux Klan drug dealers is due to the inundation of ecstasy flooding into Miami. The streets are being supplied by an unknown source, prompting Mike and Marcus to begin investigating. After the raid with the KKK fails, they then use their confidential informant to track down the Haitian gang responsible for trying to rob Marcus' sister Syd of Tapia's money.

This leads Mike and Marcus to the Palm Mortuary, which they discover is indirectly owned by Tapia's family. Later, when Mike and Marcus discover cadavers during another chase, they are able to connect Tapia's ownership of the mortuary with the ecstasy smuggling. Immediately, Mike wants to start getting warrants drawn up to raid Tapia and bring him to justice, but Captain Howard won't hear of it.

It might seem curious as to why they did not want to pursue the investigation, but it actually makes more sense than you would think. Previously, it was revealed that the police had tried to investigate Tapia before, but every time they end up failing and he sues the department for millions. This explains why Captain Howard was so reluctant at first — he was worried about getting sued again. Considering the massive collateral damage that the officers had previously caused, his caution was likely well-founded.

What happens to Mike's Ferrari?

One of the most iconic scenes in "Bad Boys II" is the highway chase that pits Mike and Marcus against the Haitian gangsters trying to capture Marcus' sister Syd. The cops are in Mike's gorgeous silver Ferrari 550 Maranello, while the Haitians are driving various classic muscle cars — including a Chevrolet Chevelle SS, Nova SS, and various Pontiac Firebirds. Together, they all combine to create one of the most memorable and gratuitous chase scenes in the "Bad Boys" franchise.

Yet, after that first scene, we don't see Mike's Ferrari for the rest of the film. In the next chase scene, he is driving a Cadillac CTS that he commandeers from a car salesman out on a test drive. Later, when Mike and Marcus show up at Captain Howard's house, Mike's car appears to be a Buick Blackhawk – which was actually a concept car created by General Motors in the early 2000s.

While it might appear confusing at first, Mike actually reveals the answer in a roundabout way just after the initial car chase scene. When the captain is lecturing the pair about the massive collateral damage from the car chase, Mike is on the phone with his insurance company and finds out the Ferrari sustained $20,000 in damage from Marcus shooting the dashboard. This explains why Mike's car is replaced by the Buick, though hopefully, he got the Ferrari fixed at some point.

Mike and Marcus were working a different investigation than Syd

The main villain and target of the various police organizations in "Bad Boys II" is Tapia, a Cuban drug smuggler, and distributor. However, while the police are all investigating Tapia simultaneously, they are not doing so together. Mike and Marcus are part of the Miami Police Department, and their investigation is separate from Syd's probe with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Mike and Marcus first get on Tapia's trail after their botched raid against the KKK, which only results in a small amount of seized ecstasy instead of a massive bust. Later, once they realize that Tapia is the owner of a local mortuary and is hollowing out the bodies there, they conclude that he is smuggling the ecstasy and start focusing on him.

Meanwhile, Syd and the DEA are first going after the Russian mob in Miami led by Alexei (Peter Stormare). However, once Tapia forces out Alexei and his partner Josef Kuninskavich (Oleg Taktarov), Syd and the DEA switch their investigation onto him. Still, the DEA and Miami Police Department do not merge investigations — even when they are both going after Tapia and are aware of each other.

Alexei's death helps the police in the end

Probably the most chaotic part of "Bad Boys II" is when Marcus and Mike lead the Miami Police Department on their raid of Tapia's drug mansion in Miami. At the same time, the DEA is conducting its own investigation at Tapia's residence with Syd undercover.

If that wasn't enough, just as the Miami PD is about to kick off the raid at Tapia's, his old business associate with the Russian mob, Alexei, shows up. Alexei had previously been forced out of the ecstasy distribution game after Tapia had his partner Josef Kuninskavich murdered. He was forced to sign over his nightclubs to Tapia, leaving him with nothing, and he shows up at Tapia's mansion seeking revenge for himself and Josef.

However, almost immediately he is shot to death by the police. At first, this seems pretty meaningless, but if you think about it, it actually helps the Miami Police Department in the long run. Alexei was responsible for supplying massive amounts of drugs to the city of Miami before he was forced out, but with Tapia gone after the movie ends, he would have been free to rebuild his drug empire. Instead, he drunkenly sacrifices himself, which frees the police from having to spend time and money bringing him down in the future.

Mike and Marcus almost got Syd killed

When Mike and Marcus search the Palm Mortuary after hours, they are able to know with certainty that Tapia is the one responsible for distributing massive quantities of ecstasy to the city. As a result, Mike, Marcus, and their superior Captain Howard, all devise a raid on Tapia's drug mansion to bring him to justice.

However, as the Miami PD is carrying out the raid, unbeknownst to them the DEA is simultaneously involved in another investigation at the Tapia mansion. The DEA has Syd undercover with Tapia, and she is wearing a wire to capture him saying incriminating things. Though Tapia doesn't discover the wire, he works out Syd is an informant, and the reason why is related to her brother Marcus and his partner Mike.

Two things tip off Tapia and his men to Syd's undercover identity, and both of them are due to Marcus and Mike. First, Tapia's men recognize Marcus and Mike as the fake pest exterminators and realize they are cops. Second, the Miami PD raid occurs while Syd is inside, and it also ends up tipping off his men that something has gone awry. Without trying, Marcus and Mike completely blow Syd's investigation by being too overprotective. It winds up getting Syd kidnapped, where she almost is murdered.

Hector did not pick Cuba by accident

Following the raid on Tapia's drug mansion in Miami, he kidnaps undercover DEA agent Syd Burnett and flees across the border to the island of Cuba. There, he is safe from the jurisdiction of the Miami Police Department. While Cuba is just miles from the coast of the United States and thus would allow Tapia to still be close to his drug smuggling operations, that's probably not the main reason that he chose to head there.

In addition to its location, Cuba is also notorious for having poor diplomatic relations with the United States. The problem stems back to the '50s and '60s — specifically the Bay of Pigs disaster – and relations were still strained at the time of "Bad Boys II" in 2003. That could be the real reason that Tapia chose Cuba: He knew he would not be extradited by the government.

Indeed, when Marcus and Mike are talking with Captain Howard about potentially rescuing Syd, the government immediately shuts it down by saying they don't negotiate with hostage takers, "especially Cuban hostage takers" and they acknowledge the situation there is delicate. Obviously, international borders weren't going to stop Marcus and Mike from rescuing Syd, but Tapia did not know that, and he was at least protected from legal extraction in Cuba. 

Fidel Castro plays a role

As crazy as it might sound from the surface — and even though his likeness is never seen on screen in "Bad Boys II" — former Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro plays a role in drug lord Tapia's plans. When Tapia flees to Cuba following the raid on his Miami drug mansion, he does so because he knows that legal extradition will be tough, but also because he knows that he enjoys the protection of Castro.

According to Detective Mateo Reyes (Yul Vazquez), Tapia is protected by Castro because Tapia pays him off with his enormous drug profits. In return, not only will Castro refuse to negotiate with the United States about any extradition, but he also allows the Cuban army to help protect Tapia from Mike and Marcus when they come to rescue Syd from Tapia's compound.

It's because of this that Mike and Marcus have to rely on Detective Marcos Vargas' (Jason Manuel Olazabal) connections with the real-life anti-Castro group, the Alpha 66s, to get any support for attacking Tapia. The portrayal of Fidel Castro, however, is completely unrealistic because there has never been anything linking him to any kind of illegal drug smuggling.

Detective Vargas was crucial

Throughout "Bad Boys II," Mike and Marcus have a friendly rivalry with fellow Miami Police Department Detectives Marcos Vargas and Mateo Reyes. Vargas and Reyes constantly rib Mike and Marcus whenever their investigations go haywire and end up causing massive amounts of damage. They are all friends and co-workers, but you can still tell they are trying to one-up each other and come out on top. Still, for the most part, Reyes and Vargas seem like very minor players in the movie.

However, in the end, it turns out that Vargas is actually one of the most important people in the entire movie. When the Miami Police Department and the U.S. government basically tell Mike and Marcus that they will not do anything to rescue Syd, Mike and Marcus decide they will need to take matters into their own hands. Immediately, Vargas and Reyes spearhead a group of law enforcement agents willing to help them go to Cuba.

Helping to organize a task force would be substantial enough, but Vargas does much more than that — he hooks up the unofficial task force with his connections in Cuba. They provide pretty much everything for the Cuban raid, including weapons, vehicles, and the safe house. Vargas might seem minor at first, but without him, Mike and Marcus probably wouldn't be able to rescue Syd. 

Cats and iguanas were the key

When Mike and Marcus go to raid Tapia's compound in Cuba, they rely on, of all things, cats and iguanas. It sounds crazy at first, but without them, the raid probably couldn't even begin. It all traces back to the security system that Tapia has installed at his compound which relies heavily on motion sensors. Unfortunately for Tapia, they quickly discover a flaw in the system that they move to exploit.

In order to get Tapia and his crew to shut off the motion sensors, the guys devise a plan where they will repeatedly trip them over and over. This gets Tapia to think that the sensors are broken, causing him to ask for them to be turned off. Once the unofficial task force led by Mike and Marcus knows the sensors are down, they are able to move into positions underground to stage the raid.

To trip the motion sensors, Mike and Marcus have the ingenious plan of using cats and iguanas. They drop several of them over the compound walls, leading them to scurry all over the ground, inadvertently setting off the motion sensors located on the grass. Two cats even make their way inside, where Tapia's daughter finds them. So, it turns out that Syd really has cats and iguanas to thank for her freedom — and Marcus and Mike too, though really it was all the cats.

There was no Plan B

Undoubtedly, one of the funniest parts of "Bad Boys II" is when Mike tells Marcus they are going to "Plan B," after the raid on drug dealer Tapia's Cuban compound goes sideways. Marcus immediately asks what Plan B is, prompting Mike to scold him for not listening. However, Mateo Reyes and Marcos Vargas are in the underground tunnel when they hear Mike tell them to go to Plan B, and their reaction is basically the same as Marcus'.

Though it's not obvious at the time, eventually it becomes clear: There was no Plan B. After the initial plan fell through due to extremely heavy resistance from Tapia's gunmen and later the Cuban army, Mike was essentially saying do whatever we can to make it out of here alive with everyone. For Mike and Marcus, that means commandeering a bright yellow Hummer H2, crashing through countless people's homes and stores, and driving right up to the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay with their guns blazing.

In the end, everything works out for the best and they successfully rescue Marcus' sister and escape, but it definitely wasn't due to the foresight of having a Plan B. If anything, Mike and Marcus made it out in spite of having a backup plan, and they were extremely lucky not to be killed or injured during their outrageously dangerous escapades.