You spin my head right round, right round!” The Bad Boys are back in 2020 with enough sweeping 360° shots to give you vertigo. Twenty five years since the original Bad Boys, Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) return a bit older and maybe a bit wiser.
Having been in the game for so long, Marcus is ready to retire, but Mike still believes he’s a peak crime fighting machine. But of course you know the drill, it’s time for “one last job” when a fierce cartel mob boss, hell bent on revenge, arrives on the scene. Cue the slow motion stepping out of a sports car! We ride together, we die together! BAD BOYS FOR LIFE!
I went in excited to see Will Smith and Martin Lawrence team up again, and I took my Dad along as a big fan of the originals. But unfortunately we both agree that the third in the trilogy, really belongs in third place. That’s not to say that it’s not a great action film, but in our opinion it’s missing some of the original Bad Boys charm.
The first two films in this trilogy were popular because they combined lighthearted humour in the face of immense danger. This time around that seems to have been set aside for a more dramatic approach. That’s not to say that Bad Boys for Life doesn’t have laugh out loud moments. But they seem to be sprinkled in between more intense scenes were the music swelled in an obvious attempt to make you feel. Which, honestly, weren’t unsuccessful, but perhaps were just a bit unexpected.
One thing I did love was the combination of the new and old school. A number of actors reprise their roles for Bad Boys For Life. It was great to see Joe Pantoliano back as Captain Conrad Howard. Vanessa Hudgens was also a standout new arrival as a member of “AMMO”, a tech savvy group of young cops in the new era of the police force. The interactions between the generations lead to some funny “Okay boomer” moments. Although Smith and Lawrence are technically GenX, and they do teach the young guns a thing or two.
So it’s not like Bad Boys For Life doesn’t have a leg to stand on, Lawrence brings the laughs and Smith brings the action. But it seems like a bit of an outlier in terms of the style of the franchise. Without revealing any spoilers the movie revolves more around the dramatic tension than the comedy duo. But hey, you might enjoy that.
We’re all well aware Smith is a great dramatic actor, and he displays it in Bad Boys For Life. But unfortunately that makes it seem like Lawrence is just along for the ride. That’s not the Bad Boys mantra. Ride together, die together. Bad Boys for life.
– Joshua Baty