Bad Boys for Life Jan 21, 2020 22:52:43 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jan 21, 2020 22:52:43 GMT -5
Bad Boys for Life (2020)
Directed by: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah
Directed by: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah
Martin Lawrence and Will Smith return in the third Bad Boys movie.
At a crossroads between being an old school throwback to loud, macho action films of the nineties and a retread of convenient themes and platitudes typical of modern genre-fare, Bad Boys for Life is far from a charmless little stroll down memory lane. It proves that Martin Lawrence and Will Smith are still tried and true movie-stars, both packing boundless charisma as frequently as they're seen packing heat in the third installment in the franchise that originally started in 1995. Bad Boys was the ideal debut on which for director Michael Bay to cut his chops as he slithered from the world of music videos to feature-filmmaking, but after lying dormant for 17 years, Bad Boys for Life isn't the great revival, but a dutiful course-correction of its predecessor.
If anything, it's an adequate return-to-form. I emerged from Bad Boys for Life the same way I initially did when I saw the original picture. I was mostly content but not without reservations, and having recently revisited it, my opinion hasn't much changed on Bay's homage to Tony Scott and other action blockbusters of the period. The franchise has never hit soaring heights, and with this long-delayed sequel, it returns to what it once was: a fine diversion with a lot of flab buoyed by two eminently charismatic performers.
This time around, Bay is replaced in the director's chair by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (credited as "Adil & Bilall," who will, too, be at the helm for the upcoming Beverly Hills Cop sequel), which is a logical move given the new direction the third installment chooses to take. Consider the opening scene, which drops us in the middle of a breakneck car chase with lead-footed Mike Lowery (Smith) speeding through the bustling streets of Miami with his anxious partner Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) riding shotgun. The two are not in hot pursuit, however; they pull up to a hospital for the birth of Marcus' first grandkid.
This is a pivotal moment for the two, as it's one of the fundamental reasons why Marcus wants to retire from the force after more than 25 years, most of them alongside Mike. Mike sees no reason to hang it up. "Ride together, die together" is their motto, and moreso, he's hurt by his friend's abrupt decision to call it quits when he feels they still have so many more cases to work. Adding to his frustration is the Captain Howard's (reprised by Joe Pantoliano) decision to move towards a more calculated and less anarchic approach to solving cases. Rather, one that involves Advanced Miami Metro Operations (AMMO), a new unit run by Rita (Paola Nuñez), Mike's ex. All bets are off, however, when Mike is shot and nearly killed in the middle of an innocuous foot-race between him and Marcus. Marcus then comes out of retirement in order to track down a dead cartel boss' vindictive wife (Kate del Castillo) and her assassin offspring Armando (Jacob Scipio).
At one point, Marcus — in perhaps the franchise's most self-aware moment — describes the duo's circumstances as that of a telenovela, and given the ludicrous twist the film tries to pass off as legitimate late in the film, he's not off-base. But Bad Boys for Life, if nothing else, remains true to the asinine nature of its predecessors. It's a shoot-first actioneer with a lot of pent up masculinity and gloss accentuated by a pulsating soundtrack (curated by executive producer and co-star DJ Khaled). The first Bad Boys was a modestly enjoyable dose of escapism that was aided greatly by Lawrence and Smith's propensity to play off one another in both hectic and more relaxed settings. Bad Boys for Life goes for the Fast Five-style reboot, doubling down on the insanity and incessantly using "family" as a core principle. This makes it slightly more purposeful in a sense, but after watching all of the Fast & Furious films, hearing that buzzword brought up as a blanket justification for characters' every waking movement proves tiresome and lazy. Between this and the abundance of noisy setpieces, the trio of writers sideline much of the inherent chemistry between Smith and Lawrence. With ho-hum style that doesn't accentuate Miami in a stylistically potent way plus mostly lame humor padding out the runtime in conjunction with the carnage, it's just another generic, modern day action film: easily digestible, largely forgettable.
NOTE: I've started "Stove's Movie Minute" for WALLS 102, the radio station at which I'm currently employed. It'll be a pithy, weekly podcast reviewing the latest movie in theaters. Check out my review of Bad Boys for Life here: www.walls102.com/stoves-movie-minute-bad-boys-for-life-2020/
My review of Bad Boys: stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/3089/bad-boys-1995
My review of Bad Boys II: stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/3093/bad-boys-ii
Starring: Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Joe Pantoliano, Paola Nuñez, Vanessa Hudgens, Kate del Castillo, Jacob Scipio, and DJ Khaled. Directed by: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.