Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Michael Bay released his first feature-length film, Bad Boys, in 1994, bringing Martin Lawrence and Will Smith together for buddy-cop comedic gold. The trio returned again in 2003 for the unfavorable but hilarious Bad Boys II. Twenty-five years later, we find the pair back together again for the third installment… and it feels like they never left.
Bad Boys For Life follows detectives Mike Lowery (Smith) and Marcus Burnett reuniting once again when someone starts murdering people connected to an old case, ultimately targeting Lowery.
This installment into the Bad Boys franchise finds Lowery and Burnett facing down middle age, with different degrees of grace, as criminals and law enforcement have become more high-tech. While Burnett is looking forward to lounging in his bathrobe after he retires, Lowery is still holding onto his flashy image of fast cars and stylish suits.
As the story opens, Marcus wants to retire, seeing the big picture and enjoy a life of leisure, family, and grandbabies. Meanwhile, Mike doesn’t want to let his old partner go, despite constant denial of dying his goatee. Marcus continued to be the voice of reason in contrast to his hot-blooded, trigger-happy partner and trying to lead him to greener pastures… to no avail, of course. Will Smith carries the film on the action side while Martin, slimmer but rocking the full-on dad bod, keeps the running and action to a minimum.
Per usual, this film knows what works as a good amount of the plot involves blowing things up: buildings, helicopters, humans. The young Belgian directing duo of Adil el Arbi and Bilall Fallah have obviously been taking notes and love explosions just as much as previous franchise director Michael Bay (who makes a small cameo appearance). Despite the explosions and bullets, this movie had a different energy to it. Perhaps it was the long lay off between movies, new directors, writers, or the fact there is an actual story to tell; this movie felt refreshing rather than the retread of the previous two. Of course this movie is at its best when it lets the chemistry between the two co-stars breathe.
It’s still very silly in that very Michael Bay way with the action, but still an enjoyable and thrilling experience. Banter, bullets and that familiar song make this movie the best entry into the franchise.
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