To prepare to see this movie, I watched Bad Boys and Bad Boys II on Netflix this past week and I hated both of them. I mean really hated them. It did anything but get me ready to watch this franchise expand once again.
However, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Bad Boys for Life, the third film starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.
Seemingly unrelated law enforcement officials begin to be killed by an assassin which brings the Bad Boys, Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) back to the front of the action.
Sure, the plot is thin, but this movie is a fun watch. The best part of the first two films in this franchise was the relationship between Mike and Marcus and the chemistry between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. They have not lost that spark despite not filming a Bad Boys movie since 2003. These two fall right back into these characters. Yet there is one difference. This time they felt more in tune. Both characters had some things happen to them that brought more of a depth to the character than they ever had in the previous films and it was very welcome. There was a feeling of maturity to the characters that was more than just them growing older.
I think a key issue is that we no longer have Michael Bay directing. He directed the first two films whereas this one was helmed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah and the difference is significant. There are scenes that were added to give the film a Michael Bay feel, but they are not over used and help make this a Bad Boys movie.
The action was fun and cleaner. There was less use of shaky camera and I could see the action happening. Are there still too many silly explosions? Of course. It is a Bad Boys movie. But they all feel more like a homage than the basis for the scene and it helped me suspend the disbelief than I could in the previous movies.
There were some actual stakes involved here too, including a couple of scenes that I was shocked by. I liked how the story developed and, while I may not have loved the ending reveal, it did not take me out of the movie.
Of course, the story was, at best, okay and there are plenty of plot holes around. It is far from a perfect movie, but it certainly is a good time at the theater.
This is easily my favorite film of the Bad Boys franchise and, if there is another in the offing, I would welcome it which is more than I thought after watching the first two.