'Bad Boys For Life': The boys are back, and they're coming for you

  • Movie Review
  • Wednesday, 22 Jan 2020

"Hey, put that gun down. Maybe I can talk him to death instead."

Bad Boys For Life
Directors: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah
Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Paola Núñez, Kate del Castillo, Nicky Jam, and Joe Pantoliano.

It has been 17 years since Will Smith and Martin Lawrence cussed, shot, and pretty much blew up everything in Bad Boys II. And in those 17 years, a lot has happened, both in and outside the franchise – Smith went on to become one of the planet's most recognisable superstars, while Lawrence... well, he made the Big Momma movies.

The titular 'bad boys' – Mike Lorey (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) – have also aged 17 years in this sequel. They are are still partners in the Miami Police Department, but it is clear that age has caught up with them. Well, it has with Marcus, at least, who has just become a grandfather and is getting ready to retire for good. Mike, on the other hand, is still the all-action hotshot he always was, and won't even consider the idea of committing to a relationship, let alone retiring.

However, Mike's past is about to catch up with him, as a cold-blooded assassin (Jacob Sciplo) is out to get him, having already gunned down several targets related to a case he was once involved in. So, it's up to the dynamic duo to stop him, with the help of a new Miami PD unit called AMMO, led by Mike's ex Rita (Paola Nunez).

All these guns and not a single Little Cricket?All these guns and not a single Little Cricket?

So, 17 years later, the Bad Boys have reunited for "one last ride" (I wouldn't count on it though). Smith and Lawrence have always been a great team, and here, they've still got some great chemistry going, even though Smith pretty much carries most of the big action sequences and also the movie's major storyline while Lawrence mostly just tags along, happy with being the comic relief.

Although Michael Bay is no longer behind the camera (he does pop up in front of it in a cameo though), the action is just as good as the previous instalments, though without the bombastic and over-the-top 'Bayhem' we used to get.

While all the elements for a good Bad Boys movie are there – Smith/Lawrence chemistry, snappy one-liners, great explosive action, outlandish stunts and fight scenes – there was just something a little too forced and too tired about the whole thing.

Maybe it was the fact that having aged 17 years since the last movie, both Smith and Lawrence have somehow mellowed out a little too much to be thoroughly convincing bad 'boys' this time around, to the extent that it gets a little awkward every time they trot out their 'Bad boys for life' mantra or someone sings that classic Inner Circle Bad Boys song.

If this were a Michael Bay movie, that car behind us would be blowing up right now.If this were a Michael Bay movie, that car behind us would be blowing up right now.

Oh, and it also doesn't help that the AMMO team they are working with consists of young, brash hotshots that make the lead duo seem positively geriatric in comparison.

To be honest, I felt there was more of a Lethal Weapon vibe to the movie, with Marcus playing the cranky Murtaugh to Smith's loose cannon Riggs. Heck, I was even expecting Lawrence to quip "I'm too old for this s***" at some point.

And that, for me, is the main thing that holds back Bad Boys For Life from being the best in the franchise (that's still the first one, by the way). They can say their mantra all they want, but the fact remains that these bad boys probably waited too long to make their third movie. Still, it's a great action-packed watch that could yet revive the franchise. And when the inevitable sequel happens, you already know what'cha gonna do when they come for you.

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7 10


Older, wider, but no less entertaining

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