The Bad Boys franchise has lovingly been revived for a new generation and its two leading players, an older Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, team up for one last action ride – the third in the series. Playing Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett respectively, these two Miami detectives waste little time in pressing the action button.
From the opening car-dash sequences to the final explosive conclusion, it never lets up its relentless onslaught on the senses. The dialogue is sharp and often funny as the two protagonists interact with each other as mayhem erupts all around them; buildings are demolished, cars are smashed and people die.
A Bad Boys movie works to a well-tried formula. This is brought into instant play, no matter who directs, engaging die-hard fans at every turn with some improbable scenarios. All logic is jettisoned as the two characters go in search of a killer, Armando Armas (Jacob Scipio), from a Mexican drug cartel whose ambition is to kill Mike and all those around him. The agile black-clad assassin has been dispatched by his malevolent Mexican mother Isabel (Kate del Castello), with whom Mike has had a history, to wreak revenge.
Isabel practises the rites of Santa Muerta, a dark religion, which envelops the world with evil. Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah have studied the franchise and inject their enterprise with the improvisational spirit of its predecessors, eliciting the same buddy-buddy camaraderie between Mike and Marcus that cemented previous productions. The only difference is age; Marcus, with a family, wants to retire and Mike, still a bachelor, wants to keep going.
A new elite tech division called Ammo has been added to the Miami Police department and this lines up well with the amazing advances made in this science in recent years. The technology is used as back-up to the shenanigans of the loose cannons, Mike and Marcus, who manage to survive – despite facing some astonishing odds. Ammo, incidentally, is headed by a female cop, Rita (Paola Núnez), which suggests the right move in the gender equality department.
Overall, the production is overlong and largely overbearing with a far-fetched narrative arc. Wiry Smith is still in shape and the energy levels remain high, while Lawrence has added kilos to his girth since his last screen appearance, but remains the irritating, motor-mouth partner of old. Smith, Jerry Bruckheimer and Doug Belgrad, the “action” names behind the production, give viewers a clue of what to expect and fans will certainly get their monies worth.
Bad Boys for Life
- Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Kate del Castello, Jacob Scipio, Joe Pantoliano, Vanessa Hudgens
- Director: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah
- Classification: 16 LVS