Film Review – Bad Boys for Life
Bad Boys for Life
Following a long break from Bad Boys II in 2003, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back as Detective Mike Lowery and Detective Marcus Burnett of the Miami Police Department. Both characters are striving to be Bad Boys for Life. Well, Mike strives more for this moniker than Marcus. Marcus is ready to retire.
Like Bad Boys and Bad Boys II, Bad Boys for Life follows the same storyline structure. We may find the two detectives older, but the story is easily compared to the other two with one exception, it becomes more personal for Mike this time around. The film opens with a car chase and ends with Mike and Marcus at the hospital, just missing the birth of Marcus’ grandson. Celebrations follow at a bar later that night and end with a competitive race between the two that abruptly ends in a crime committed against one of them. The criminals this time around are Isabela Aretas (Kate del Castillo) and her son Armando Armas (Jacob Scipio), enacting a large plot to kill anyone who was involved with jailing Isabela’s husband and his eventual death. Considering they are a part of a Mexican cartel, the film gets bloody and violent fast and that’s why we have an R-rating.
In order to update Bad Boys for younger generations, the film introduces younger characters as part of a new task force called AMMO led by Rita (Paola Nuñez) with three talented twenty-somethings under her, Kelly (Vanessa Hudgens), Dorn (Alexander Ludwig), and Rafe (Charles Melton). With this new task force comes new technology unfamiliar to Marcus and Mike.
The crimes being pursued by Mike and Marcus are a bit ludicrous in all of the films. There is a bit more to Isabela and Armando this time around that becomes personal to one of our favorite detectives. The crimes are all just a way to move the story forward and use our detectives in entertaining ways while also displaying their skill set as detectives.
The consistency of the actors used for these three films is something that is not expected. Bad Boys released 25 years ago, yet we still have Theresa Randle playing Marcus’ wife Theresa along with his daughter from Bad Boys II, Bianca Bethune. If you do a re-watch of Bad Boys II, there will be another actor reprising his role in the third film. While it would have been nice to have Gabrielle Union return for even a small part in this film, it is always appreciated that Joe Pantoliano returns as the exasperated Captain Howard.
The reason that people watch the Bad Boys films is the chemistry and comradery between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. The way they interact with each other and have impeccable comedic timing makes these films. If these two actors didn’t play well against each other, the films wouldn’t have proceeded beyond the first. The action, stunts, and violence are not unique, but these actors and their characters are and that is what people are buying tickets to see. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are on their A-game for this film, no matter how uninteresting the story may become. While the back and forth on promises and life changes become a bit too repetitive, it will never be overshadowed by Mike and Marcus doing what they have always been doing since the first film.
The action sequences, including helicopters and car chases, are here to fulfill those that need some spectacular stunts in their buddy cop films. Everything about the action elements is newer, shinier, and taken to the next level. It is what you would expect from a film that Jerry Bruckheimer produced (and makes a cameo in it). While the violence is a bit over the top for my taste, the injection of comedy bits between Mike and Marcus in just about every action sequence makes it much more enjoyable.
Bad Boys for Life may be the last film for Will Smith and Martin Lawrence together, but the final scene of the film opens up the possibility for a spinoff or another Bad Boys film. The film is quite enjoyable even if the storyline is exasperating at times. If you have seen the previous two films and liked them, you will appreciate this film. The laugh out loud comedic bits are great and are what made the film for me. While this isn’t some award-worthy film, it is precisely what Bad Boys for Life promises it to be, a hell of a good time.