Lots of gun fights. Lots of explosions. Lots of snark. All things you’d expect from the Bad Boys franchise. But Bad Boys For Life has all those plus lots of heart. And that’s what elevates it to the best installment of the franchise.
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have always had chemistry, which is why the original hit home way back in 1995. And it’s been 17 years since the second movie came out. Usually when that much time elapses I’ll roll my eyes and assume it’s a sequel no one asked for and no one needs. I’m usually right. But not this time. I care more about these characters than ever, even if Will’s character dies in the first 20 minutes (should I have said “Spoiler Alert”?)
Life Goes On
Detectives Mike Lowry (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) are back treating Miami like their own personal playground (much like Will in real life). But BB4L doesn’t try to act like it’s just a few days after the last one. Mike’s speeding through the streets not in pursuit of some punk, but to get Marcus to the birth of his grandchild. The new addition to the family inspires some reflection and more than a little hit-you-over-the-head foreshadowing.
But it’s these moments of personal growth that sets this movie apart. When they aren’t chasing baddies and dodging bullets (and sometimes even when they are), their bond is evident and endearing. I liked these characters back in the day. I love them now.
The movie also introduces a new squad of tech-savvy police. They inject youth and create a tension-filled dynamic between their smart investigative skills versus the old-skool in-your-face tactics of Mike and Marcus.
When I watched the trailers, I thought they were gratuitous additions to grab audience members who weren’t even born when the last one came out. But I like them. They are smart and smarmy but not off putting. They enhance the value of the franchise, and I look forward to seeing more of them in the inevitable Bad Boys 4, and with a record setting opening weekend, I guarantee it will come out in less than 17 years.
You Have The Right To Be Entertained
Most January releases are bad movies, but not Bad Boys. This movie certainly benefits from a lack of quality competition, it is good in its own right. Honestly, it could have opened in late April to kick off summer movie season.
This movie has a ton of action and lots of adrenaline pumping scenes. It’s just fun. And fun movies are at a premium, especially this time of year. I loved seeing it on the big screen, but will enjoy it just as much once it streams.
The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation
Bad Boys have several celebrations in this film, and they prominently flash their Heinekin bottles. Product placement? Possibly. Still a solid drink? Definitely.