Back for one more hilarious and thrilling adventure, veteran actors Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return with a third rendition of the “Bad Boys” franchise, “Bad Boys For Life.” In classic “Bad Boys” fashion, the movie opens with a fast-action car-chase scene to reel viewers in from the beginning. One of my personal favorite aspects of the “Bad Boys” movies is how the producers refuse to waste any time getting right into the action of the film, rather than taking the first half of the movie to build up the plot.
Fans will be thrilled to see the original bad boys again: the smooth and daring Mike Lowrey (Will Smith), and the comedic and loyal Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence). Although it has been 25 years since their debut, Marcus’s and Mike’s bright and loving personalities are still ever-present in this film. While being a celebrated cop is the most important thing to him, Mike is still incredibly materialistic, putting much value into his expensive cars and clothes. He enjoys being single and available. Marcus, on the other hand, loves his wife and remains faithful to his family-first mentality, especially since becoming a grandfather.
“Bad Boys” fans know that a continuous speculation throughout the movies is whether Marcus will follow through with his intentions of quitting the police force. This decision is almost a no-brainer for him when his lifetime friend and work partner Mike gets shot down in the streets of Miami, putting their mortality into a much clearer perspective for Marcus.
This movie plays on every possible heartstring from fear and utter frustration to anticipation and hope, although it did bring a slightly different vibe from the previous installations. The first two movies were more or less centered around two Miami narcotics cops shutting down lethal drug trafficking operations. “Bad Boys For Life,” however, covers issues like rage-driven revenge, dealings with the supernatural and the challenges that come with growing older.
While the bad boys cling to their familiar personalities that fans know and love—Mike with his unpredictable drive and furious determination and Marcus’s typical hesitancy and tendency to play-it-safe—it is fairly evident that they have aged significantly. A new character and love interest for Mike, lieutenant Rita, portrayed by Paola Núñez, playfully takes a jab at Mike and remarks: “Too slow. You’re slipping,” after he is nearly bested in a fight—a rare occurrence for the infamous Mike Lowrey.
Marcus’ senile moments are revealed in a hilarious scene depicting a direct contrast between the two officers where Mike struts around a corner and tosses on a classy sport coat (in a similar fashion to the same move in “Bad Boys II”), while Marcus tosses on a bathrobe and hits some extremely dad-esque dance moves.
This film contains no less suspense and thrill than the first two installations of “Bad Boys.” Martin Lawrence and newcomer Charles Melton (well-known for his roles on “Riverdale” and “The Sun is Also a Star”) kick up the heat with perfectly timed punch lines and humor-filled moments throughout the movie. The humor is not so present, though, that it takes away from the movie plot itself.
The villain this time around is an avid and ruthless killer who takes orders from none other than his mother, who is nicknamed “La Bruja,” or “the witch” in Spanish. The pair seeks vengeance against Mike, Marcus, and several other law enforcement members for the breaking up of their family more than two decades prior to the setting of the movie.
Naturally, a “Bad Boys” film would not feel right without the dynamic Captain Howard there to scream his lungs out while fussing at Mike and Marcus for essentially destroying half the city and driving his blood pressure through the roof. Joe Pantoliano returns to bring life into this nagging but lovable character.
Multiple celebrities star in the film like Nicky Jam, Vanessa Hudgens, and DJ Khaled, who was an unexpectedly convincing actor. The soundtrack features popular artists like City Girls, Meek Mill, Pitbull, the Black Eyed Peas and many more.
The film may have also included a slight head-nod to the classic crime film “Pulp Fiction,” a film heavily praised for the brilliant work done by director Quentin Tarantino and legends Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta. Jackson and Travolta portray hit men Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega. Towards the middle of “Bad Boys For Life,” Mike coaxes Marcus into shooting back at their assailants by telling him the machine gun is “God’s vessel to smite thine enemies.”
This immediately brought me back to Jules’s misquoting of the bible verse Ezekiel 25:17 where he states: “...and I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers...” just before shooting the unsuspecting victim who had an unpaid debt. Just like Jules in “Pulp Fiction,” Mike used biblical allusions to justify their vengeance.
Some of my favorites highlights of the movie were Will Smith showing off his Spanish-speaking skills, the incredibly Lion King-esque ending, and of course, Mike and Marcus’s typical butchering of their “Bad Boys” theme song.
Overall, devoted and dedicated fans of the “Bad Boys” films, may cherish and applaud “Bad Boys For Life.” It is heart-wrenching, thrilling, hysterical, and nostalgic. After watching this movie, fans will never have to wonder if the bad boys are truly in it for life.