Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return for a third go round as those Bad Boys, Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett in Bad Boys For Life. It’s been seventeen years since we last saw these Miami PD cops ride together, they’re older, the world has changed and so have their lives.
Marcus is now a grandfather and on the eve of retirement Mike gets shot in a driveby orchestrated by someone with a connection to Mike’s past. A past that is determined to catch up to him. The pair are thrown into the investigation together as they realise how much the world has changed around them, and that, in the end, the only thing that matters is family.
With returning cast members, continuity tie-ins, and a cameo, everything plays out as you would expect for these two cops; fast-paced action, a body count, lots of laughs and a rather solid emotional through line for the characters.
The best thing, for me, is no matter how much I loved the first two films, Micheal Bay’s signature editing style can be a little frenetic and while the film has the same visual style and look, there’s a more measured feel to this film, perhaps in recognition of the ageing heroes.
But the directors get the sensibilities of the characters, the way everything has to be paced, and how to shoot in what has become the series style. It makes it a worthy addition to the series, and a solid action film in its own right.
Is it perfect? No. The past history that comes back to haunt Mike is a little too on the nose as a dark mirror version of what is going on in Marcus’ life. But it’s still fun to see play out, and the little tag during the credits is interesting, promising a bit of an expansion of the Bad Boys world.
I also like that the characters realise that they can’t do everything themselves, and a new elite unit is brought in to help, all of them looking incredibly young when compared to Mike and Marcus, an intentional move to highlight how behind the times the characters are.
Smith and Lawrence still have that wonderful chemistry that has elevated the series above the generic action films that have come and been forgotten since Bad Boys first hit the screen in 1995.
These guys aren’t super cops, they’re Bad Boys. And I was more than happy to ride with them one last time. And this is a series that I enjoy revisiting… I just kick back and watch the duo of Smith and Lawrence do their thing.