Whatcha gonna do? You’re gonna enjoy this movie. Probably. ‘Bad Boys’ is a franchise with many years in between each installment, and is in the genre of over the top action. The first two films, Directed by Michael Bay, were fun movies in their own right, but a staple of their time for sure. These films are about two characters bickering back and forth as explosions surround them and cars are flipping, and firefights all around. Its funny to think this is the third installment as usually the original ‘Bad Boys’ does not get as much love and the second. Regardless, the third installment is now here and as much as I enjoyed the previous films, more specifically, ‘Bad Boys 2’, what did I think of ‘Bad Boys For Life’?
I had a lot of fun with this movie. ‘Bad Boys For Life’ is Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Seventeen years after ‘Bad Boys 2’ This film follows Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) as they come back together one last time. Visually the film tries to mimic the “Michael Bay Style” but the Directors still make it their own film with its own identity. While it’s not as orange as the other films were it looks how a modern film does with some great shots of the Miami vista and some really fun action shots as well. This is the first entry shot on digital where the others were on film. There are a lot of close up shots, and I would have liked a bit more wider shots to show more of the scope, but the movie itself still looks and sounds great.
To get to the main event, seventeen years later, how are Will Smith and Martin Lawrence? Will Smith never skipped a beat, he is Mike Lowery and he returns to the character like no time has passed. These films show a different side of Smith that we don’t see too often. Other times we see him do his ‘Fresh Prince’ persona. When it comes to this franchise however we see a more harder version of that and it plays off well. Of course we have seen Mr Smith in various roles since the previous film, but who I was more excited to see was Martin Lawrence. Whenever I think of Mr Lawrence I think of ‘Bad Boys’ and ‘Blue Streak’ and to me those are pinnacle of his performances. His own show is a part of that of course. It’s been a very long time that I’ve seen a movie with him in it, and I can say he still has it. His comedic timing has not been lost, and pretty much all of his scenes are great. They both return to these characters like no time has passed. The other actors do a good job as well. The Captain played by Joe Pantoliano is another returning character who is always a fun time watching in these films. From the new crew I really enjoyed Paola Núñez’s Rita and Vanessa Hudgen’s Kelly. I actually didn’t think I would like Hudgen’s in this role but I was presently surprised, of the new younger cops I liked her the best. The acting was solid and all performances were enjoyable. Rita’s character is a welcome one and tried to balance out Mike’s overconfidence. The chemistry between all the actors and between the the two leads were all very well done
What do we come to these movies for however? The action. I will say this movie is not ‘Bad Boys 2’ level of action, and that is not a bad thing at all. The film does have a good amount of character moments over action and it works, however the actions scenes that are there are a lot of fun. While there are hit and misses with the CGI in some of the sequences I feel like they were all done very well. The fight choreography between Mike Lowery and Armando Armas (Jacob Scipio) were very well done and the bike sequence as well as the final confrontation were all well done. In the final battle there is a really cool shot that most people have talked about, and it’s a nice camera movement. Action should be fun to watch and it doesn’t disappoint here. The action does take a back seat to more character moments, and these moments elevate the fight sequences. Due to the plot threads this movie introduces (more on that later) for the first time you feel for the characters and don’t believe they are fully invincible as in the previous films.
The last thing to talk about is the plot. And the reason I left it for last instead of doing it at the top of the review is because these films aren’t in it for the plot. These movies are action driven and popcorn driven. However I feel like this film is a transitional one. Much how ‘Fast and Furious 4’ made the transition from a racing movie to a heist movie, this film will be a new beginning. I think that the plot threads started in this film will begin a new plot going forward transcending what the other films were. Whether we see both Lawrence and Smith in the next installments (which the film is doing very well financially currently so we may get more) is yet to be seen, but the way has been paved for the franchise to continue in some capacity. There were some twists and new characters introduced that can carry the franchise forward.
‘Bad Boys For Life’ is a fun ride. These films are not considered masterpieces in any right, nor should they be. They also target a specific audience. They are mindless entertainment, but it has a purpose. It’s purpose is to keep us engaged and on the edge of our seats which it did. The comedy, the action, the fun moments for the fans of the previous films all come together to make this seventeen year wait worth it. I will gladly see another installment should there be one and I hope to see Smith and Lawrence return. Hopefully we don’t need to wait another large amount of time to see Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett again.