It’s been 17 years since the Bad Boys rolled back into town with all guns blazing and wisecracks aplenty. Now older, greyer but still irresponsible, is this a case of diminishing returns or a much welcome blast from the past?
Hot Fuzz more or less summed up what Bad Boys 2 was all about! A macho male dominated, overblown action caper which made men weep with joy. It was a noughties film which belonged in the excess madness of 90’s action and while it has a strong base of fans, the truth is, the film was inferior to it’s original and a tired old creaky addition to the action genre that had already been done to death by the likes of Lethal Weapon or even the Beverly Hills Cop franchise, which this series owes a lot too.
No one really asked for a third film and after many false starts over the years with plenty of script rewrites and the director’s chair becoming nothing more than a pass the baton too, we are finally here and thankfully, it’s an unexpected treat!
Once we had got to the fourth entry of the Riggs and Murtagh saga, the Lethal Weapon franchise sort of knew that it’s cast were beginning to get “too old for this shit!” and embraced it by putting the notion into its very plot!
Kicking the excess action blast of Michael Bay to one side and replacing him with Belgian newbies Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, the third entry does the right thing and follows the same blue-print! Despite the fact that Will Smith looks like he hasn’t aged since the original release way back in 1995 (I feel old!), the world around them has. There are more confident and cocky officers on the force, high technology is used now instead of brute force and the two Bad Boys actually seem out of place in 2020.
Its a plot vice that actually gives the film its unexpected heart!
Martin Lawrence, wisely takes a back seat in this caper, a comic foil to the much more prominent Will Smith who after seeing his career stall somewhat over the years, seems to be relishing his return to a role that set him off to box-office stardom.
Plot-wise, its quite simple! A ruthless criminal family from Mexico led by Isabel (Kate Del Castillo) and her trigger happy son Armando (Jacob Scipio) have an axe to grind with Mike (Smith) who is still leading a carefree life. Marcus (Lawrence) on the other hand as just become a Grandfather for the first time and now realises how precious life is and wants out of the Police force.
Even a shocking shooting does not change his mind despite Mike’s plea for “One last time” and the duo’s relationship is at crossroads, leaving Mike to team up with a new team of young officers. Feeling out of place and with his life still in danger, a major death and a shocking reveal which sends the plot into a whole different direction, will soon re-unite the Bad Boys as the climax soars into a heavy mix of shoot-outs and a blaze of fire!
With Michael Bay no longer in the directing chair, there is a different kind of feel to this third film, despite it not entirely moving away from the world he created. The gags which fly the same amount of time as the bullets, are hit and miss, but the chemistry between both Smith and Lawrence is so electrifying that you find yourself amused, even if the joke falls flat!
In an age where Marvel rule the box-office and John Wick stands tall over the action genre, there is something old fashioned but refreshing about this third film. It harks back to an age where action films were the rage and you didn’t need a super power to bring down an unstoppable force.
Bad Boys For Life doesn’t reinvent the genre or most importantly doesn’t try to, all it wants is for the viewer to have a great time and with a final shot leaving it open for a potential fourth film, you’ll be left surprised at how much you fancy that tantalising prospect!