Bad Boys for Life Review

The Bad Boys are back and directors, Adil and Bilall, waste no time capturing the exhilaration of squealing tires on concrete, shoot-outs and all the things expected when Will Smith and Martin Lawrence come together. They find their esoteric rhythm and chemistry with ease, cracking jokes at the expense of one another and letting their egos run wild. They’re back after 16 years and diving into the world of Detectives Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett once more.

After the curse (or blessing) of grandchildren and a bullet to the chest of Mike, Marcus gets goaded into hanging up his Bad Boy badge for life, despite Mike’s insistence on pursuing a revenge mission. To no avail, and much to his dismay, Mike has to go it alone with new “High School Musical” recruits, a joke at the expense of Vanessa Hudgens.

Adil and Bilall have fun playing with parallels of Marcus’ retirement and the thrill that comes with being in the thick of it with Mike. Cooking breakfast can be just as compelling as getting suited up to hunt bad guys and dropping a baby at the spa is as dangerous a mission as any. Eventually, Marcus has to give in after watching his partner struggle without him, but this time he wants to do it as “Good Men”, a song that doesn’t quite have the same ring as “Bad Boys”.

Director of Photography, Robrecht Heyvaert and Production Designer, Jon Billington, built a dazzling backdrop for their shenanigans using the plush, expensive Miami, shot gorgeously within an inch of its life. Editors Dan Lebental and Peter McNulty wrestle with difficult material but piece together, for the most part, a comprehensive narrative. For the majority of the film, we were able to keep up with the action which can often become chaotic in similar narratives. Some impressive compilations honoured the continuity, allowing for the audience to keep up with the momentum. It did occasionally suffer at the hands of over-extended sequences, that sometimes became exhausting to follow.

It’s stylish, it’s funny, and it’s a kick of a film. There’s no faulting the efforts of everyone involved, and even though it may wear thin at times, the conviction is admirable. Its script eventually slows down with recycled gags that far surpass the “three-time” rule, but Smith and Lawrence keep the fire alive. The entire ensemble is a joy to watch, and although a nonsensical twist spoils the fun, it never takes itself too seriously, allowing for an enjoyable 123 minutes.

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