NOTE: So for the last 2 years I’ve been producing reviews for Soda & Telepaths who sadly closed their doors at the end of 2021. Thus, I now have a large amount of assorted reviews from the last 2 years that need somewhere to go and so they will be put here… slowly, on days I don’t have a new review to put up so I won’t flood anyone’s page/emails with a dozen reviews.
These are as close to how they were over on S&T, though that site had a different layout and style I had to work within so it might not be exactly 1 for 1. Also, in some cases, old reviews might have been deleted from the site before I got to them (like this one) and I have to rely on old notes I took.
With all that in mind, here is my first review for S&T that was posted back on January 16th, 2020.
It’s been 17 years since the Bad Boys have been on our screens and let’s be honest and admit that no one really expected to see them come back. The two leads have hit a point where their names no longer guarantee financial success, the original director is a joke and a lot of what made the Bad Boys series popular in the late 90s and early 2000s just wouldn’t fly today… but the last few years have brought on a resurgence of long dead series returning for one more go so why not revive this classic cop couple and see if they can adjust with the times.
Picking up 17 years after Bad Boys 2, Bad Boys for Life sees Marcus (Martin Lawrence) considering retirement after the birth of his grandson. Mike (Will Smith), on the other hand, has other ideas. Namely the desire to remain a cop until he dies. Both their plans are thrown for a loop when someone from Mike’s past come to find him with the intent of killing him. So the Bad Boys have to go in one final mission and actually confront a demon from Mike’s past and try to make it right.
The new directors of this movie have clearly paid attention to the past movies of Micheal Bay and borrowed all the good stuff. From Bays colour palette to his beloved camera tricks, they borrow all the elements that makes a Bay film uniquely a Bay film but they also understand things like short composition, the 180 rule and how to edit a movie. It’s all the creative elements of Bay if an actual filmmaker who knew what they were doing was running everything.
This strong hands on the wheel makes it easier to follow the story. There wasn’t a single bit of excess narrative, no plot cul-de-sacs where they can have random gay panic jokes. Everything was tight and controlled and it lead to a much more enjoyable experience. Without the normal Bayisms distracting the viewer, it becomes easier to focus on the great character work going on.
Will Smith reminds the audience why he was the top box office draw for years. Martin Lawrence brings some great comedy and balances out the hyper energetic performance by Smith. Even the new kids (Riverdale’s Charles Melton, Hunger Games’ Alexander Ludwig and High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens) manage to keep up with the legends and create some fun fully formed characters that fit into this world.
The larger cast also shows the series growth away from problematic edge lord humor, replacing it with good jokes and fun characters that can still be shocking without being cruel. Several moments were funny enough to have the audience doubled over, between the fantastic action setpieces.
Bad Boys For Life is the best of the Bad Boys, proving how much a series can improve with the removal of Michael Bay. It might not be a game changer but it’s a very fun way to spend a few hours with some interesting characters and inventive visuals. Now this series can keep going with it’s great new directors. Not let me read this article about who will direct the fourth Bad Boys movie while I drink this cup of coffee.