“Bad Boys For Life” was directed by newcomers Adil El Arbi & Bilal Fallah and is the 3rd installment in the “Bad Boys” franchise. Will Smith & Martin Lawrence return as the buddy cop duo. The film also stars Paola Nunez, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Nicky Jam, Kate De Castillo & Jacob Scipio. Joe Pantoliano & Theresa Randle reprise their roles from the previous 2 films. The first “Bad Boys” film was released in 1995 while the sequel was came in 2003. Michael Bay directed the previous 2 films and was slated to direct this film but due to budget issues and spending over a decade in development hell, Bay was out. It wasn’t until 2018 that the film was green lit and announce with new directors, writers and cast while still keeping Smith & Lawrence as the main characters.
After 25 years of working together as partners for the Miami police department, Detectives Mike Lowrey (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) are coming to end of their historic run. Marcus & his wife Theresa (Randle) are newly grandparents while Mike has become a famed detective in Florida. After a party, Mike and Marcus are outside settling one many hilarious disputes when a man on motorcycle (Scipio) guns down Mike. He barley survives & 6 months later, he’s on a dangerous campaign to bring this mysterious gunman down. Despite having retired while Mike was recovering, Marcus reluctantly joins him for one last ride. However, after being teamed with a new police task force full of young “bucks” (Hudgens, Ludwig & Melton) and their new Lieutenant (Nunez), the investigation leads to the dark past that Mike had hiding from everyone for more than 20 years, even from Marcus.
The “Bad Boys” franchise has major time gaps between each installment. 1995 to 2003 and now 2020 but the one constant has been the great chemistry between Will Smith & Martin Lawrence. While the first 2 films are cliché and fit in to the 90s & 2000s era of action films, this film has major change up in storyline & directing. With Michael Bay as director, the films fall under his type films, cheesy action with no attempt at story telling. The first 2 films work as buddy cop action movies cause Smith’s & Lawrence’s chemistry alone. In this film, the action & story telling got a pretty decent upgrade. The chemistry is still strong but we also get some more subtle and dramatic performances from the 2 leads. Even though the storytelling did get an upgrade, it still has a few flaws, particularly the final act. This has all the making of an action fueled revenge film but it does have the same clichés. When you can predict the outcome of the movie while actually watching it, 2 things happen. One, the ending is ending goes beat for beat and ends up exactly like your prediction then movie falls apart. Examples include “Hereditary”, “Max Payne”, “Taken 3” & “Angel Has Fallen” all have the same set up but fail once the ending is predicted. The other is when the same set up but the movie will through a curve ball or see it through in a much better way. Example for the curve ball are “The Dark Knight Rises”, “Men in Black 3” & “Thor: Ragnarok”. See it through examples include, “Logan”, “The Revenant” & “The Prestige”. “Bad Boys For Life” has the same set up and ends up being the clichéd 3rd act of any revenge action movie, the final showdown. It doesn’t take anything away from the movie, still very entertaining. The main villain of the movie is without a doubt the best one in the trilogy. He is flushed out more and has a great deal of development and Scipio does give a very performance.
Overall, this movie has been upgraded from a cheesy action movie to a much more darker action movie with a completely different storyline. Smith & Lawrence are great as individuals & even better together. The new directing definitely shows coming out of this new wave action movies behind the “John Wick” trilogy, “Mission Impossible: Fallout” & “Mad Max: Fury Road”. Bad Boys For Life wasn’t THAT good but should they keep on with this franchise, they are definitely going in the right direction.