Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens
Director: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah
Running Time: 124 mins
Bad Boys For Life is an American film and the third in the Bad Boys series. Now getting on in age, Mike and Marcus find themselves falling out of favour with Miami’s law enforcement, but are called back into action when a vicious killer returns from their past.
Much like its two predecessors, it’s impossible to deny how fun Bad Boys For Life is. It’s simple, fairly predictable, and definitely doesn’t live up to the legacy of the first film in the series. However, it provides solid, enjoyable blockbuster fun right the way through, as well as a few moments of impressive and mature emotion.
Now, given that it’s 25 years after the original, Bad Boys For Life was never going to be exactly the same as 1995’s Bad Boys. And for the most part, this film recognises that, and doesn’t just try to recapture the youthful thrills and spills of the original movie.
Bad Boys For Life may not have the same zip and energy as the first film, also lacking the same charismatic dynamic between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, but it at least does try to forge a different path, often taking an interesting approach as it looks at its two beloved characters reaching their golden years.
It’s a trope we’ve seen before, as the golden oldies are pitted against the new, up-and-coming generation, but Bad Boys For Life balances its tongue-in-cheek pokes at the younger characters well with an impressively tender and often very reflective dramatic streak, as we see Smith and Lawrence’s eternal bond begin to break down.
At times forging a Fast And Furious-esque mantra about family and brotherhood, there are moments when Bad Boys For Life really does hit the mark with its emotional depth, even proving surprisingly touching in its middle portion as it takes a step back from its big-budget thrills and spills.
For a film that, 25 years after the original, could have so easily just tried to grab you with nostalgia and cheesy callbacks, I was really impressed by Bad Boys For Life’s maturity, at least for a brief while.
Because, while the film really hits the mark with those themes in its middle portion, it doesn’t do much with them afterwards. Instead, it retreats into a rather predictable, generic and frustratingly far-fetched action plot that almost entirely undoes the emotional depth developed earlier on.
As I said earlier, there’s no denying how much fun the movie is, and although like Bad Boys II it lacks the charisma of the series original, the action is thoroughly entertaining throughout, even if does drag at points.
But it’s the fact that the movie goes way beyond the bounds of reality with its action in the latter stages that it falls apart. It’s not the gritty and slick crime thriller that the original was, but rather just another blockbuster that lacks the charisma to stand out from the crowd.
And as much as Will Smith and Martin Lawrence put their all into the film, it never really lives up to the legacy of the best the series has had to offer.
Make no mistake, Bad Boys For Life is a fun film, and if you’re a fan of the series or are just looking for some throwaway blockbuster fun, then it’ll be more than satisfying for you. However, it’s a little disappointing given how close it comes to really engrossing you with tender and mature emotional depth, briefly delivering riveting drama, but doing little else from then on. So, that’s why I’m giving Bad Boys For Life a 7.2 overall.