It’s been 17 years since the last film, but bad boys Mike Lowry (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) are still ripping the streets of Miami – and now Mexico – to shreds, and showing young upstarts how to make an action movie.
Bad Boys for Life is the third instalment to the Bad Boys franchise, completing a 25-year long trilogy. Many franchises that go through modern upgrades end up flopping for losing its flavour in an attempt to keep up with the times and be current, but thankfully, Bad Boys for Life doesn’t fall into that category.
Sure, youthful internet slang doesn’t roll off Smith’s and Lawrence’s tongues easily but it’s not cringeworthy. It’s more like “aww… these uncles are trying to act cool” and it cracks you up. But don’t get too comfortable with the idea of innocent, almost-retired cops because you’re soon reminded that these uncles are lethal. They’re trigger happy, unapologetic and won’t stop at anything until the bad guys are behind bars. Well at least one of them is. Age changes people, folks – remember that.
For starters, Smith and Lawrence’s chemistry is undeniable. We’ve seen them literally double in age from the start of the franchise to the newest film and the familiarity these two stars have and bring into their characters is very apparent to the viewers. Talks about family and friendship easily warm your heart, and banter and jabs are fun to watch. Of course, the lot of the jokes are centred around Burnett’s masculinity and Lowry’s playboy antics as usual.
This time around, Burnett wanting to retire and trade-in hot wheels for a Nissan rips him of his Bad Boy title, and Lowry’s inability to commit to anything else but his job lands him in hot waters. “Hasta el Fuego,” Lowry will continuously say. Loosely translating to “until we burn”, Lowry will eventually get what he wished for.
That said, the film focuses greatly on Lowry and his past before he became a badass killer cop with a sick sense of style. We learn more about why he refuses to give up his playboy lifestyle, why he’s so hellbent on being a bad boy for life and his family- it’s a journey that takes us deep into the stories of drug lords in Mexico and trust, and the last bit will shock you.
The third instalment sees new faces added to the franchise, including the hip, new AMMO Squad made up of Kelly (Vanessa Hudgens), Dorn (Alexander Ludwig) and Rafe (Charles Melton). The squad and bad boys are families, they stick together no matter what and it gives off a very Fast and Furious vibe. Heck, there’s even a family rooftop gathering scene. So really, the only thing they’re missing is Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto – you know, the bald, fat gu… no, wait.
But no worry – fans of the franchise can watch out for a familiar face – Joe Pantoliano as Captain Conrad Howard, who returns to ground our two favourite comedians with guns. It’s just too bad that his return is cut short somewhat. And if you’re a fan of the boyfriend scene from Bad Boys 2, watch for the boyfriend to make a return in a reference that will either leave you laughing, or wondering if you missed something.
DJ Khaled butches pigs at the back of a vegan place and Jacob Scipio and Kate Del Castillo play evil mother-and-son duo, Armando and Isabel. The cold-blooded momma and her boy is our favourite newest addition but the most we see from this pair is when new bad boy Armando rides a motorbike clad in a black leather jacket and launches grenades from a helicopter. It’s a shame that the duo only comes together and are fully present in the remaining half of the film.
The introduction of the AMMO squad and how involved they are with the bad boys may suggest that the franchise may be brewing more movies in the future and despite an almost two-decade wait, there’s some part that wants more as the end-credits roll.
So here’s to seeing more of Armando because apart from the fact that we’re interested to see how his character develops since the revelations in this film, he’s a bad boy that we definitely know what to do when he comes for us. Queue Inner Circle’s ‘Bad Boys’.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Bad Boys for Life is still the comedy-action cop film that we know and love even after 25 years.
Story - 8/10
Direction - 8/10
Characterisation - 8/10
Geek Satisfaction - 7.5/10