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Bad Boys: Ride or Die
                   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. In 2003 they reteamed for the aptly titled follow-up Bad Boys II that stepped its game up for more action and Bad Boys For Life in 2020 doing the same. Now the next chapter, Bad Boys: Ride or Die, is finally here co-starring Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Paola Núñez, and Joe Pantoliano with new additions Eric Dane, Ioan Gruffudd, Rhea Seehorn and Tasha Smith replacing Theresa Randle from the first three films. Could this film continue the high-octane action and laughs, or will it crash and burn?

 

No official synopsis just yet, but it looks to put Mike and Marcus framed and on the run. The trailer looks like it might be toning down some of the heft of the previous entry and pushing some of the comedy a bit more. I prefer the gritty tone of this franchise with the injected humor of their banter, so hope it doesn’t get lost in too much comedy.

 

I love this franchise and the perfect blend of action, humor and heart. The evolution of the characters throughout the franchise has made each entry stand out on its own even if not every element always worked. Much like the Lethal Weapon franchise the aging of the characters and their necessity of dealing with this and their family lives keeps fans interested. I was worried that this new chapter might be going too far out of the box from the trailers but can say that while some of the jokes fall flat the film is a great ride.

 

The film delves directly into the events of the precious entry with it being the first to fully connect in that way. All the previous films have carried over in the characters and some of their choices, but this one keeps the same story alive. I found it clever in how they worked Captain Howard back into the story despite his death in the last film without diminishing the impact it had on Mike and Marcus. All the crap they have gone through during the previous

films has affected them with Mike dealing with most of the emotional trauma and Marcus dealing with his own mortality.

 

Some of the direction and jokes are a bit forced at times, but only due to some of the ridiculous situations they are put in. Whereas the first one brought the laughs within the serious aspects, they have been more and more silly at times and this one is no different. Have no fear though, they don’t that this is an action film and bring the same bad ass action fans have grown to love throughout the series. There are so many great moments here, but some of the bests aren’t even from Smith or Lawrence. My personal favorite is Reggie’s played by Dennis Greene who went from a throwaway character for a great joke in the second film to full on character this time around who gets his own redemption arc by the time the film ends.

 

Everyone gets to get in on the action and it kicks all kinds of ass. It is another great entry into the franchise that might not be perfect, but still goes all in. I would love to see the boys get back together for more, but think this film does a great job bringing it all together for a great send-off to the entire cast of characters and the bad boys themselves. If anything, I could see them doing some sort of spin-off with the AMMO team of Hudgens, Ludwig and Paola Nunez that also offers up a chance for cameos for Mike and Marcus without them needing to headline another film. I am fine with either direction and no matter your feelings on Smith, he and Lawrence still have great chemistry and this is a worthy entry into the action packed fun franchise.

Decide for yourself and join Mike and Marcus for another case when Bad Boys: Ride of Die hits theaters on June 7th from Sony.

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