Bad Boys for Life Feels like Nothing has Changed

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The Bad Boys movies by Michael Bay were always underrated I found. Sure neither of them were his best work (The Rock by far is his best), but they were always solid buddy cop films. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence (oh man he really isn’t as big as he was in the 90s or 2000s was he?) were a great duo as they did what the Miami Vice movie never could. Be outlandish, silly, and have some genuine heart to them.

Well they are back in a third film, yet has the word “for” in it making it break my brain (I mean it could only work if it was called Bad Boys 4 Life, that would be so good). Anyway we pick up with Marcus and Mike as Marcus has a grandchild and is thinking of retiring while the son of an old drug kingpin Mike took down is coming after him. They must work together one last time and the killer.

The film really does feel like nothing has changed in the years since the last one. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence still have amazing chemistry. The action still holds up, and the drama is still kind of underdeveloped.

The biggest addition to the series is the AMMO department, a special investigation team of tech guys and tough girls to round out the cast with younger action stars. They don’t get a lot to do, but work well to give Mike and Marcus a team to work with, and Mike a love interest.

Michael Bay didn’t direct this outing, but it’s not any worse for it. The film still has that slick movement, stylish color pallet, and big action without the constant cuts, edits, and questionable choices that often come from his films.

The action scenes themselves all have a good sense of energy and pacing. The Miami street chases, gunfights, and few fist fights are all great and worth the time to see. The final shootout in an abandoned building at the end is great. It gives everyone something to do, delivers memorable lines, and has some fun with a helicopter.

It is a shame all those great action beats stop the story from being great. The plot jumps around a lot. It goes from child birth, to murder spree, to a wedding, Martin Lawrence’s stay at home antics, funerals, the division getting shut down, and a final showdown in Mexico with a big reveal. It packs the movie full and still has time for great exchanges between our buddy cop duo. It has some major tonal whiplash when it just needs one of those plots to work, not all of them.

What also doesn’t help is the old school thinking of the film. Mike and Marcus act like all the police drama in the United States didn’t happen, and make what they do in some scenes questionable. The other cops, and suspects even bring it up as a joke. That is not funny, and a review of this film isn’t the place for this discussion. It is just problematic in today’s climate even as they joke that it’s okay for them to break the and be black cause their cops.

Even with the story, tone changes, and problematic content the duo of Mike and Marcus save the movie. Their chemistry can not be understated. It feels like they wanted to make this movie, and really enjoyed being together again. That heart and soul they bring to the movie makes the experience really enjoyable, and makes me kind of excited for an actual forth film (man, almost like they should have saved the title with the word for in it).

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