It’s been 25 years since Bad Boys came out in theaters. It was a buddy cop film that was the feature directorial debut of Michael Bay (yes, THAT Michael Bay) and starred Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as two Miami police officers. The movie was successful enough to give Michael Bay a career in filmmaking and spawned a sequel eight years later in Bad Boys II. These movies weren’t exactly great as they feature a lot of Michael Bay-isms that would be commonplace in a lot of his movies, but they were entertaining as dumb popcorn flicks and they were blessed by the comedic chemistry between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. When I heard that they were doing a third Bad Boys movie, I was skeptical. A sequel this many years after the last one? It didn’t sound good. But then the reviews came out and they were much more positive than I thought, hell, even more so than the first two movies, so I was curious to see what the buzz was about. What did I get out of it? Well, let’s find out. This is Bad Boys For Life.
A series of murders ravage Miami, linked to the prosecution of a Mexican drug kingpin. Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett must team up once again to put an end to the carnage while teaming up with a unit of younger cops. Before watching it, I wasn’t really excited for this movie. The gap between it and Bad Boys II was 17 years, which is a long time to make a sequel, plus, it got a January release, which is usually not a good sign. But I wound up liking this movie way more than I thought. This time around, Michael Bay isn’t at the director’s helm, but Adil El Arbi and Bilal Fallah, who are both Belgian. While there is some of that Michael Bay style sprinkled in, the directors do a better job than he did, especially in the action beats where they hold back where Bay would go in excess. There is a sense of cohesion in the story and direction that’s missing in the first two where it was just unbridled chaos. It’s not as energetic as the first two movies, but it makes sense considering that the main leads are older and you’re not gonna be able to pull off everything you used to do when you were younger.
The best part of the movie is easy: Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. These two are hilarious and they still got it in their 50s. Their banter and jokes had me cracking up. In this movie, Marcus is now a grandfather and he wants to retire to be with his family more. Mike, on the other hand, wants to keep going and after getting shot, is driven to find the man responsible and stop further bloodshed. The police captain from the previous films return and he was entertaining. I was kinda saddened when he was killed. The other characters are pretty good as well. They introduce a new group of younger police officers, played by Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, and Charles Melton. Reggaeton artist Nicky Jam is in this movie as a drug dealer who works with the movie’s antagonist. DJ Khaled is also here and we get a cameo from Michael Bay himself. Seriously. I like how the film expanded more on these characters, especially Mike, who has a connection to the main villain. While we’re on that subject, the villain of this movie is much more memorable than the ones from the last two movies, who were just cardboard cutout bad guys. Here, we have Armando Aretas getting back at everyone who was involved with the prosecution of his father with assistance from his mother. But there’s a twist. It turns out that this guy was Mike Lowrey’s son from when was undercover and had an affair with Armando’s mother. So when it came to the final confrontation, I was reminded a bit of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In the end, Armando lives and is sent to prison, where in the end, he’s offered a chance at redemption. If that’s not sequel bait, I don’t know what is.
I give Bad Boys For Life a strong 7/10. Like I said before, this movie is much better than it has any right to be. The performances are great all around, especially Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, the action beats are entertaining, and the jokes are hilarious. It’s not the greatest movie ever made nor is it the most original, but it kept me entertained from start to finish and that’s all I ever really ask for with a movie like this. Since they are doing a fourth movie, I am interested to see where they go with it.