BAD BOYS FOR LIFE – Film Review

Old-school cops Mike Lowery (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) team up to take down the vicious leader of a Miami drug cartel. Newly created elite team AMMO of the Miami police department along with Mike and Marcus go up against the ruthless Armando Armas (Jacob Scipio).

The Bad Boys franchise is one that I have never really been the biggest fan of. Sure, they are fun serviceable movies, but that’s about it in my opinion. I have never watched these films hoping for anything more than an entertaining popcorn movie, because that’s what they are. If you go into any Bad Boys movie expecting it to be a possible contender for any awards, then I think you are going into it with the wrong expectations.

Even though I found the previous entries to be mildly entertaining, I don’t really like them all that much. They, unfortunately, suffer from what I like to call “Michael Bay-isms”. Since he directed those two films, it contains every Bay-ism there is really. Explosions, fast cars, lens flares, you name it.

But this new 2020 sequel to its 2003 predecessor, Bad Boys for Life, brings on new a pair of new directors to (hopefully) inject some brand new life and a fresh vision for this franchise. Something that I was genuinely concerned about before going in to the movie was the fact that it was a sequel that was releasing long after its previous installment. I find that sequels that happen several years after the initial film’s release tend to be not all that great. Nonetheless, I was curious to see what Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah would do with this movie.

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Martin Lawrence (left) as Detective Lieutenant Marcus Burnett and Will Smith (right) as Detective Lieutenant Michael “Mike” Lowrey in Bad Boys for Life (2020).

This is also a January release, and as most of you probably know, it seems like studios usually dump out the worst possible films in January in hopes that you will forget about them come the end of the year. After seeing Bad Boys for Life, I have to say that I am kind of surprised that it is one of the first releases of the new year, because it is actually a decent film. It is absolutely not perfect, but in the long run, I did end up enjoying myself.

The chemistry between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence here is some of the best I have seen in some time. They truly do feel like two best friends reuniting after all these years and seeing them on the big screen together one more time was exciting. They work amazingly off one another. They will often playfully insult each other and it feels authentic.

For the most part, the humor worked really well for me. Granted, not every joke in the movie made me laugh. In fact, there were some moments where something was said that was supposed to be funny, but it just didn’t make me laugh. But I would say that a good 75-80% of the jokes landed, with two in particular actually making me laugh quite hard.

It also has some incredibly fun and fast-paced action sequences that were helmed impressively. I thought that a lot of the film would have shaky cam and would be hard to see what was going on, but that was never the case thankfully. Everything is in camera and looks great.

Something that I really liked here was the main villain, Armando Armas, portrayed by Jacob Scipio. At first, he may seem like a cliché villain which was a bit disappointing, but as the film progressed, the more interesting he became. There are some really strong choices they make with his character that took me off guard.

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Jacob Scipio as Armando Armas in Bad Boys for Life (2020).

That being said, his character, and a lot of the characters really, do feel like superheroes. They get shot quite a bit and there is a ton of things in the film that happen to our characters that should seriously injure or possibly kill them, but they manage to be completely okay.

Plus, like I said in the opening, this movie was really just a fun, fast-paced time. Those going into Bad Boys for Life expecting an immensely gripping story with a dramatic story are going to be greatly disappointed because this movie never wants to go for that, which was wise. It wants to be a funny, stylish comedy with tons of fun and exciting action, and it succeeds at exactly that.

Bad Boys for Life may not contain a gripping or dramatic story, but it does contain exactly what it should; exciting action sequences, great humor, and fun performances.

Overall Grade: B

MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, language throughout, sexual references and brief drug use

Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Paola Núñez, Kate del Castillo, Nicky Jam, Joe Pantoliano

Directed by: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Releasing

Release Date: January 17, 2020 (United States)

Running Time: 124 minutes

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