Bad Boys For Life is an intense and thrilling 90’s style action film that, at times, doesn’t make a ton of sense but is so entertaining. There’s nothing groundbreaking the story-line, Bad Boys For Life sticks to what works in the original film and adapts slightly for this new audience. It’s been 17 years since we last visited Detective Mike Lowery (Will Smith) and Detective Marcus Burnett, and it’s as if they’ve never left. Many of these sequels or reboots that Hollywood is churning out could learn a thing or two from the team that brought us this project.
The film picks up with Marcus (Martin Lawrence) and Mike (Will Smith) racing to the hospital so they can witness the birth of Burnett’s first grandchild. Lowrey wants little to do with this moment, but Marcus has a moment in the hospital, leading him to realize he wants to slow down. We cut to a few months later, and during Marcus’s retirement party, it begins to dawn on Mike that he’s going to be alone now. This news doesn’t sit well with him, so Mike tries to get Marcus to reconsider by challenging him to race outside the party. If he wins, Marcus stays, and if he loses, then his partner is off into the sunset. Amid this wager, Mike is gunned down outside the night club by an assailant on a motorcycle. This moment, of course, leads Detective Lowrey down a part of revenge, and loyalties are certainly tested.
In regards to its storyline, Bad Boys For Life stuck to what made this franchise click with fans so many years ago. There’s plenty of moments where Smith and Lawrence have a chance to show off their comedic talents. Writers Chris Bremmer, Peter Craig, and Joe Carnahan did an excellent job weaving in these moments with the newer cast members and some of the returning ones. Joe Pantoliano, at times, stole the show as Lowrey’s Captain, and his freak-outs never get old. My only criticism about the narrative was how those moments where Lawrence was retired seemed to lag slightly. “Retirement” was a huge part of the film, but it just seemed those sequences at home didn’t pop like those when he was out attempting to lead the “simple” life around town.
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are simply stellar in Bad Boys For Life. The chemistry these two exude on-screen was, at times, infectious and impacted the supporting cast as well. 1/3 of the punch lines in the film wouldn’t have got nearly the laugh it did without Lawrence or Smith providing one their signature quips. The action sequences were crisp, explosive, and just a ton of fun. The highlight of the film had to be a sequence that included the use of motorcycles and detective Burnett evoking the lord.
Overall, Bad Boys For Life is far from perfect, but if entertainment is what you are seeking this weekend, then look no further.