If there’s any part of you that’s curious about Bad Boys for Life, take my advice and go see it.
I say this as a huge fan of both Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, but not necessarily a fan of the Bad Boys franchise. Thankfully, this latest installment is the best of the three movies to date, and that’s probably because it was shot by longtime friends and directing partners Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah instead of Michael Bay (who did return for a funny cameo, though).
The story takes place in the present day, which is 17 years after the events of Bad Boys II. Despite his age, Detective Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) is still living his work hard play hard lifestyle, while his partner Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) just became a grandpa and is preparing to retire — much to Mike’s disbelief and dismay. After Mike is gravely injured, he’s even more upset that Marcus won’t return to help him catch his would-be assassin, unaware that his partner made a deal with God that he would no longer inflict violence upon anyone if Mike survived.
So Marcus bows out, which makes Mike more determined than ever to stay in the game. There is an absolutely hilarious sequence that volleys between Mike on a chase while Marcus is puttering around at home in his robe.
But OF COURSE the pair will eventually be reunited, because this movie IS called Bad Boys for Life. After Mike figures out the connection in a recent slew of homicides, Marcus is convinced that he needs to help his friend end the carnage. To Marcus’s relief and Mike’s chagrin, they get assistance from a new high-tech group, AMMO, led by Mike’s ex Rita (Paola Núñez, who is awesome).
I loved the addition of the AMMO crew, which also featured Vanessa Hudgens, Charles Melton and Alexander Ludwig — Ludwig being the standout as a huge, beefy … nonviolent geek.
If I were to criticize anything, it’s the gaping plot holes that seem to be par for the course with this type of action-focused film. But I was just hoping for a few good laughs and for the movie to not be horrible (because let’s face it, odds were high it was going to be horrible), and I left the theater kind of shocked by how much I loved it. There were so many hilarious moments — and not all of them are spoiled in the trailers. There were great action scenes that didn’t feel like the same old, same old. Mike and Marcus are more fleshed out and come off like real people versus caricatures. The supporting cast is excellent. But the biggest thing Bad Boys for Life has going for it is the chemistry between Smith and Lawrence. I felt like they were both back doing what they love and what audiences love them for.
I was left wanting a fourth film. And the closing credits scene indicates there very well might be one. Whatcha gonna do? Go see it!