By Samantha Ofole-Prince
25 years after “Bad Boys,” 17 years after “Bad Boys II,” Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are back for one last ride in “Bad Boys for Life,” a movie which doesn’t disappoint. Though so many years have passed, Smith and Lawrence, who play polar opposite police detectives, have picked up right where they left off furnishing the same fun and brilliant banter as they did years ago. Mike (Smith) is the same guy he’s always been, brash and cocky with a penchant for catching the bad guys while Marcus (Lawrence), the down-to-earth family man, is starting to think it’s time to retire.
As the film opens, a Porsche screeches through the streets of Miami with Mike and Marcus seemingly in hot pursuit of something, but when they make it to their destination, there is no shootout to be had or bad guys to handcuff for the two have arrived at a hospital in time to see the birth of Marcus’ grandson, Marcus junior, who Mike jokes, has his grandfather’s protruding ears.
There is humor and plenty of riffs initially, but the film really gets moving when it’s discovered a vengeful head of a drug cartel, Isabel (Kate Del Castillo), has escaped a maximum-security cell in Mexico City and is on a mission to take out those responsible for putting her behind bars. This criminal overlord from Mike’s past, along with her lethal son, Armando (Jacob Scipio) has a list of folks including the forensics scientist, judge and several others responsible for her demise and when it’s discovered Mike’s on her list Marcus is forced to abandon retirement to help protect his friend.
Will’s high energy and intensity and Martin’s laidback humor bring out the best in one another and both are rejoined by familiar faces from the first two films, including Theresa Randle, reprising her role as Marcus’ wife, Theresa, Bianca Bethune as Marcus’ daughter Megan and Captain Howard, played by character actor Joe Pantoliano. New faces joining the team include Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig and Charles Melton who are part of the Advanced Miami Metro Operations (AMMO) tasked with helping Mike and Marcus. There’s a lot of fun with that old school versus new school theme as AMMO has introduced high-tech investigative tactics to the Miami P.D. that Mike and Marcus are not familiar with and the film also amplifies the comical differences between Mike and Marcus by exploring how each one deals with getting older. The key to the Bad Boys saga is the energy and chemistry between its stars for the pairing of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith simply generates a winning comic chemistry.
The soundtrack throbs with selections from Black Eyed Peas, J Balvin, Meek Mill, City Girls, Jaden Smith, and, of course, Inner Circle, whose popular cops theme inspires the picture's title.
Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah,“Bad Boys for Life” is rated R by the MPAA for strong bloody violence, language, sexual references and brief drug use and hits theaters January 17.
Samantha Ofole-Prince is a journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news that includes television and film. She serves as the Entertainment Editor for Gbam TV.
Humor and action brilliantly collide in ‘Bad Boys for Life’
By Samantha Ofole-Prince