HOLLYWOOD─It is hard to fathom that it has been nearly 17 years since viewer’s last saw Martin Lawrence and Will Smith together as the comedic-action duo of Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) and Michael Lowery (Lawrence) in the franchise “Bad Boys.” Both are back for the third installment in the franchise, “Bad Boys For Life” which sees are aging heroes reunite to take down a threat from the past. Yes, I would be lying if I did not admit I felt echoes of “Lethal Weapon 4” watching this movie.
For starters, Marcus is now a grandpa and is ready to hang up his badge, while Mike wants to chase down bad criminals until the day he dies. There is friction between the partners, especially after Mike is shot and near death. It forces both characters to reevaluate their careers and personal lives moving forward.
There is no hiding the fantastic chemistry between Lawrence and Smith, who haven’t co-starred in a movie together since 2003, and it just reminds the audience why these two clicked in the first place. The dialogue between the two is expletive ladled, but it’s fun to watch. We see some familiar faces from the past, including Joe Pantoliano as Captain Howard. There is also the addition of new faces in Vanessa Hudgens and Alexander Ludwig, as members of AMMO (Advanced Miami Metro Operations), led by Mike’s former flame Rita (Paola Nunez). There is some great comic banter between Hudgens’ character, Kim and Ludwig’s character Dom, who I consider nerds with guns.
The narrative follows a face from the past returning to settle a score with Mike and a host of others responsible for the takedown of the Aretas cartel. Does it suck when you have a past story that doesn’t have any elements from previous entries coming into the forefront? Yes, but the script works. As a spectator you don’t feel as if you’re missing anything of massive substance. The film’s villain, Armando (Jacob Scipo), is one of the best I can think of in the franchise. The character is dangerous and resonate a level of villainy where the audience’s fears for our protagonists and those they cherish the most.
“Bad Boys For Life” does not skimp on the gunfire, the bullets, the explosions, the chase scenes and fight sequences that one come to expect when watching a true action-flick. This movie is just that; fun, frenetic, exciting, full of laughs, heart and memorable characters. My mind is already churning with the thoughts of what the writers will craft next as a fourth chapter in the franchise has already been given a greenlight.
Yes, Martin Lawrence and Will Smith are aging actors, but look at Bruce Willis and the “Die Hard” franchise; Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the “Lethal Weapon” franchise. Until these characters are so old that they can’t do the stunts and moves that they are currently doing, we should expect at least several more in the franchise.
I use to be a big proponent that waiting an extensive amount of time to shell a sequel was never a good idea because the audience loses interest. I’ve learned lately that the longer filmmakers wait, the better. Why it’s like losing a love that you adored, it makes the heart grow fonder, and “Bad Boys For Life” is a perfect testament of that.