Man, this takes me back. Although the Bad Boys franchise isn’t exactly great cinema, I grew up on these films. I’ve probably seen Bad Boys 2 at least 50 times. If not more, honestly. The original is a much better film in every facet. However, the sequel followed up with more action-movie fun and hilarity. When I heard a third film was in the making, I cringed. This is yet another unnecessary Hollywood reboot. But at least Michael Bay isn’t directing it this time. Thank the Lord. Somebody should seriously revoke his filmmaking license. Oddly enough, he makes a cameo in the wedding scene here, though. I’ll give them credit for adding in a nice little nod. From the opening credits of Bad Boys for Life one thing is clear. Martin Lawrence never wanted to be part of this. His performance here saddened me. Will Smith did him dirty.
Perhaps there were groups of Twitter users yearning for a second sequel. Maybe there was a strong push in Hollywood as well. All I know for sure is that this movie, despite its plethora of terrible moments, could have been a lot worse. The first act truly surprised me. They almost had me thinking this movie would replenish my nostalgia meter. Lawrence’s character, Marcus Burnett, continues his “I don’t wanna be a cop anymore” storyline. Additionally, it felt like he was near vomiting for at least 35% of the film. I couldn’t count how many times the screenwriters reduced Martin’s dialogue to “Shiiiiit.” Ironically, that sums up the film in one word. Will Smith’s character, the legendary Mike Lowery, also keeps up his tough-guy persona trope. But I must say his contributions were much better on screen than they appeared in this trailer.
I almost didn’t see this movie due to how atrocious the trailer was. If you’re planning to see this one, go ahead and exit this review now. Unless you don’t mind spoilers. Because I have to talk about some of this film’s horrendous “movie magic” happenings. So, the story is fairly cut-and-paste. Marcus still wants to retire from the police force. Mike still wants to be a cop until he dies. The partners, after 25 years together, sense their bond coming to a close. Marcus becomes a grandpa, expanding his desire to retire, while Mike wants to keep flexing on these Miami hoes. Can’t say I blame the guy. If I looked like Will Smith and was the most notorious officer on the force I probably wouldn’t want to give that up either. The plot thickens when an old flame comes back to bite Mike in the butt.
Surprise, surprise. Conversely, I never expected them to write in a Mike near-death sequence. The son of a drug-dealing queenpin caps him with a P90 out in public following a celebration for Marcus becoming a grandpa. Now I know why Bad Boys for Life received the green light. The first act is tight and concise. It reintroduces the characters well and sets up forthcoming tension in a believable fashion. Nevertheless, once Mike’s hospital sequence ends, everything comes crashing down. Marcus’ daughter marries lanky and awkward boyfriend Reggie. Mike is in a wheelchair during the ceremony. When he gives his toast, however, he magically stands up as if nothing ever happened to him. Six months later, my ass! Ain’t no way someone would be just fine after getting popped like that. I can’t let that one slide. Sorry, Willy.
Furthermore, the ghost of Michael Bay haunts these action scenes as ridiculous explosions defy the laws of physics on multiple occasions. The fighting choreography wasn’t horrible by any means. Yet it stuck out to me as rather average. Except for when the son ninja-whooped those gangsters in the warehouse takeover sequence. That actually looked pretty sick. Jacob Scipio played his role quite well despite his character’s limited scope. There are too many tropes to cover here: contradictory backstory; redundant dialogue; hyper-unrealistic logic. This is a movie for people who appreciate production value more than astute storytelling. It’s a box-office type of film. I know it. You know it. We all know it. But the fact remains that Bad Boys for Life has no real purpose. It is simply another rung upon the ladder of mediocrity that is modern Hollywood.