It’s unbelievable to think it’s been 17 years since the last entry in the Bad Boys series and 25 years since the original movie. The appeal of this franchise has stayed alive with repeat viewings and a large fan base who have been crying out for a threequel. Never one to turn down a sequel, in true Hollywood fashion, Bad Boys for Life has finally arrived.
Bad Boys for Life kicks off with a brilliantly filmed high-speed car race against the clock, not to catch bad guys but to attend the birth of Marcus Burnett’s (Martin Lawrence) first Grandchild. This leaves Marcus questioning his continued role as a cop whilst threatening retirement. Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) on the other hand is still driving cool cars, wearing expensive suits and has no plans to settle down, despite Marcus’ accusations of his empty life.
When a mysterious and seemingly unstoppable villain, Armando (Jacob Scipio), appears with a kill list of high-ranking officials and cops, Mike gets caught in the cross hairs leaving him fighting for his life. Unhinged and angry, Mike vows revenge but can he convince Marcus to join him “one last time”?
Replacing the indulgence and excess of previous director, Michael Bay, hot-shot Belgian directing duo Adil & Billal have taken the reigns of Bad Boys for Life and grounded the action to a more realistic level whilst still winking at the “slo-mo” from the previous films. There are a number of spectacular set pieces on offer including a motorbike with side-car chase that needs to be seen to be believed.
But of course, no buddy-buddy cop film would work without a believable and likeable duo and the chemistry between the two leads is almost unmatched in modern action cinema. Armed with a razor sharp and often hilarious script, Smith and Lawrence quip back and forth about getting older, dying goatees and wearing glasses in-between the action. It also has a number of surprises that you won’t see coming. The backing cast including a couple of younger tech-savvy cops give good support and Captain Howard (Joe Pantaliano) also returns to make his mark on the movie.
Whilst Bad Boys for Life doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it’s far from a cash grab of a familiar and long absent series and feels like a franchise reinvigorated. With one eye on the future, it’s been worth the wait…and that isn’t bad at all!