Everyone knows the theme song. As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, I am positive people know the theme song. “Bad boys, bad boys. Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?” These words have been buried deep in my brain since that fateful day when I was 10 years old watching “Bad Boys 2” on my dad’s fat-backed television set. It’s a vivid and clear memory that has always lingered in my thoughts. So when I heard there was a third movie coming to the silver screen, I was a flurry of emotions. Worried, anxious, excited; I was intrigued. Were these 17 years (eight years for me) of waiting really worth it? I am incredibly delighted to say, yes. Yes, they most certainly were.
“Bad Boys For Life” follows famed Miami super detectives Mike Lowry and Marcus Burnett in another ride or die case, attempting to stop an unknown threat from putting Mike six feet under.
It finally happened! One of the most anticipated film installments finally hit theaters! A little under 25 years since these “bad boys” in blue made their mark in cinematic history, the third installment of the series has been released to the masses. Director Michael Bay helmed the first two and subsequently became a household name, known widely for his explosions, action, and testosterone-fueled cinema. Now, I am personally a massive fan of these films and was ecstatic to learn that after 17 years, the world would know what became of Mike and Marcus.
The film seems to pick up off of the momentum of the first two films, immediately kicking off the plot with no time to miss anything. Directors Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi perfectly capture Bay’s style in the first two films, while creating something fresh and different enough to show that this trilogy will not stay rooted in the past. They utilize some of Bay’s iconic shots (and the director himself, who makes a brief cameo) that made the original two as iconic as they were, such as the classic plane flying over the Miami sign shot that has been in each of the films to date. Where this film diverges from the first two is that it is the first of the trilogy to be shot digitally. The difference is very clear during the film. Every single move and action is so fluid, it’s as if the movie is being performed by the actors in the same room. This ultimately makes the action ten times more interesting and eye-catching.
Of course, there can’t be a “Bad Boys” movie without the “boys” themselves, and I have to say their chemistry is just as tight as it was 20 years ago. Will Smith, who reprises his role as Mike Lowry, has been a constant in the public eye since “Fresh Prince,” and it goes without saying that the years have been incredibly kind to him. He looks as if he walked right off of the set of 2 and started filming “For Life” the next day. However, Martin Lawrence, who reprises his role as Marcus Burnett, has not been involved in nearly as many projects as his counterpart, so I was skeptical, to say the least about how this could reflect his performance. I got to say, I was pleasantly surprised. While he doesn’t exactly look like a young buck, he definitely still proved he’s far from retiring. Same goes for Joe Pantoliano, who also was a standout, returning as the Captain to keep his most “explosive” duo in check, even though they were mere inches from giving his character a stroke. Personally, it was great to see the “boys” back on the streets of Miami together.
In a time where the role of the action hero cop in cinema seems like a forgotten relic, and society’s whole outlook on the police has drastically shifted, “Bad Boys For Life” does something different. It gives the audience a flashback to a time in cinema where a truck explosion was as common as stepping on a piece of dried up gum. The police officers, while not perfect, don’t abuse their power, which has become a sad reality in modern-day America. I think they knew this going into this film, which is why they handled it with such care and grace. As much as I’ve talked about the comedy in this film, the drama is just as prevalent. Both Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s characters are so layered and have developed so seamlessly, it’s easy to see them for what they are: people. Beneath the flashy cars and shooting, both of these characters have people they care about and a brotherhood that is unshakable. This trilogy has mastered this balance of drama and comedy.
It’d be easy to dismiss this movie as just another action movie, but this is far from accurate. This film has so many levels and intricacies to it that makes it a great kick-off for cinema this year. There’s already talks about a Bad Boys 4, and based on this installment, I will be eagerly waiting to see it.