Bad Boys For Life
review by Bobby Blakey
Back in 1995 Will Smith and Martin Lawrence teamed up for the action flick Bad Boys and was a smash hit. I loved the film and was hoping it wasn’t the last time we see them team up. Thankfully in 2003 they reteamed for the aptly titled follow-up Bad Boys II that stepped its game up for more action. After years of talk of a sequel most assumed it was a dead franchise, but thankfully they are back once again for Bad Boys For Life. Now the gang is back together with Joe Pantoliano returning as their captain as well as new faces including Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Paola Nunez, Kate Del Castillo and Nicky Jam. Could this bring more of the fun action of the previous films or will it fail to make the bust?
Bad Boys For Life follows Marcus and Mike who have to confront new issues (career changes and midlife crises), as they join the newly created elite team AMMO of the Miami police department to take down the ruthless Armando Armas, the vicious leader of a Miami drug cartel. With my already loving the previous two films it comes as no surprise that I was excited to see this latest entry. Like Lethal Weapon 4, they dived right in bringing the time since the previous films to the forefront to push the characters forward. They smartly took their varying personalities and age and used it for laughs and the emotional journey of both Smith and Lawrence.
Despite it being 20 plus years since the first entry I have to admit neither Smith nor Lawrence have lost a step. They dive back into these roles like they never left with just the aging life issues being the difference. Their chemistry and dysfunctional relationship have fueled this franchise from day one and it is still the cornerstone to make it work. This time around they spend a decent amount of time apart initially due to their different life paths, but they make sure to keep us on both of their journey. Have no fear though they get into plenty of antics and bring the action fans want throughout. Their captain once again played by Pantoliano gets a bit more to do as well this time around and still brings his usual frustration and shouting keeping the familiar vibe of the trio we have loved since day one.
The new additions to the team did a decent enough job, but did feel out of place for a lot of the movie. I think that was kind of the point so it works and thankfully they come into their own as the film progresses. There is a big twist to the story that isn’t overly complicated to figure out and one that I thought kind of messes up the bigger emotional punch to it all, but others might like this direction. It definitely sets up interesting potential, but hope they don’t gloss over everything that happened in this film should the story continue.
Like all these films there is a ton of great action that keeps your adrenaline pumping throughout and keeps taking it to the next level with each sequence. I love how they perfectly blend the comedy with the intense action and make it work without feeling forced. This entry also boasts some pretty heavy moments that help to evolve everyone involved and keeping it grounded between the laughs and flying bullets.
I am still sitting trying to decide which of the three films I think is the best and this entry makes that decision all the more complicated. Stay through the credits for a mid-credit scene that looks to give us hope for more fun with the Bad Boys but let’s hope we don’t have to wait near as long.