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It’s fun to see Smith and Lawrence back again! | BAD BOYS FOR LIFE: Review

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith star in BAD BOYS FOR LIFE | © SONY Pictures 2020

25 years after BAD BOYS, 17 years after Bad BOYS 2, Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) reignite their crime fighting swag in BAD BOYS FOR LIFE.

All you need to do is say the title, and the chorus takes over your brain. You know, from the hit song “Bad Boys,” by Inner Circle? It became the anthem for two cop-pop culture phenomenons, one being the blockbuster BAD BOYS movie franchise. It speaks to the films’ style, setting, vibe, attitude, and most of all… to two superstars who serve as faces of the franchise. Under the direction of action maestro Michael Bay, the unique, buddy cop display electrified audiences around the world with edgy and entertaining performances as Miami narc detectives. BAD BOYS’ success led to an even more successful sequel, and now Mike and Marcus decided to go on one last ride. Only, this time, without Michael Bay.

Upping the ante, third time may be a charm as this one triples down on all sorts of tough guy jargon, techies, mind-blowing action sequences, chaotic cat-n-mouse chases, gun-play, crime, drama, comedy, and even a little brujeria, as Mike and Marcus ride parallel waves: current state of life decisions and an unforeseen mess leading to them reluctantly joining forces with an updated elite Miami PD team to take down a vengeful drug lord with ties closer than they would ever imagine. 

For starters, this franchise knows its role and zone. The off-the-wall, buddy cop slick flick we got back in ’95 is the same today! Updated, of course, but good nonetheless — and that’s a good thing! Why? Well, because it works. (At least the crowd I saw with and I think so.) Surprisingly, this now Bayless franchise holds up. It still has that fierce edge, diverse texture, and adventurous appeal we fell in love with over wtenty years ago. 

FOR LIFE is a much appreciated piece, especially during a month when studios normally dump films to die and float away, never to be seen and/or heard of again. The best thing about this one is watching Smith and Lawrence spar up again. Quite frankly, that’s what mostly everyone will come back for. Charismatic, charming, and funny… Their presence and chemistry is so powerful and so enjoyable, today it seems obvious BAD BOYS may not have worked with anyone else. I may be wrong, but that’s another topic. Proof of it is how the narrative keeps emphasizing time’s gone by, yet they seem to go full steam. Opposing mindsets considering their chapters in life, but their personalities keep them tied to their core of partnership, loyalties to the force and personal friendship. When it comes to timing, it’s also part of the fun as it rides high on watching them give in to a new generation of law enforcement, embodied by the elite AMMO (Advanced Miami Metro Operations) squad. As a whole, it’s a seesaw between the old and new, giving this entry a lot of leverage for badassery and thrills. 

While I’m not a fan of the story’s twist, on the flipside, I understand the approach. I guess it was done for emphasis and purpose of leading its fan-base to know and feell this isn’t a “last ride.” New characters and backstories open up a window of possibilities where this franchise can go, granted it does well at the box office. (And it will!) There’s a strong following, and much like the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise, there are similarities in terms of its scope, style, and overall appeal towards a modern day touch of diversity and urban flavor. Its musical touch and guest cameos, as well as its international cast solidifies its base, which I’m sure is no different than the base following the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise. 

At a run a bit over 2 hours, BAD BOYS FOR LIFE revs up its engine and races through a gauntlet of wild scenarios while having you ride shotgun. It’s quick, hip, fun, loud, engaging, nostalgic, harsh, and insanely entertaining. It felt great touching base with our crazy duo. Even its soundtrack is fun to take in while the flick runs. I can’t say I disliked it. It isn’t the greatest in the series, but not the worst. It’s its own monster. Others will bitch and moan about it, but who cares? This isn’t made with them in mind. This entry among the series gives you exactly what you see and expect. It’s a thrill ride from start to finish that demands your attention. And if not for the plot, than at the very least to watch Smith and Lawrence banter back-n-forth. The magic between these two has been dormant for quite some time. 

Genre: Comedy, Action

Rated: R

Run Time: 2:04

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Paola Nunez, Kate del Castillo, Nicky Jame, and Joe Pantoliano

Directed by: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

Official Movie Website:

© SONY Pictures 2020