No one ever expected Bad Boys to become a trilogy, especially after nearly two decades have passed since the sequel Bad Boys II. But with Bad Boys For Life, the film series has indeed become a trilogy, bringing back stars Martin Lawrence as Miami police inspector Marcus Burnett and Will Smith as his partner detective Mike Lowry. This time around however Smith and Lawrence do not have Michael Bay at the helm in the director’s chair letting Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah take over directing duties.
From the opening one thing is clear, Smith and Lawrence have not lost their on-screen chemistry after all these years continuing to bring a ying and yang dynamic to the duo’s working and professional relationship. The film delves into what it is like physically and emotionally for Mike Lowry and Marcus Burnett to be men in their fifties in their profession, grappling with when is it the time to finally throw in the towel (Lawrence’s Marcus Burnett more so than Smith’s Mike Lowry). Like in the previous two film’s Burnett desires to dedicate more time to his family, especially now becoming a grandfather which gives his life new meaning. However Mike Lowry only finds meaning in his life through work, in which it becomes apparent that Lowry won’t stop until he’s six feet under.
After a high speed opening as the duo race through the streets of Miami in order to experience a milestone in Burnett’s life, and after a few celebratory moments, the film begins to take a dark turn as a tragedy strikes the duo, one orchestrated by the film’s female antagonist Isabel (played by Kate del Castillo) with assistance from her son Armando (played by Jason Scipio). Isabel is a dangerous matriarchal crime boss out for one thing and one thing only-revenge, her main target being Mike Lowry.
While the previous two films dealt heavily with a story line about Miami drug trade, this third film strays from that focus, instead going with the angle of delivering a revenge plot, as bodies drop as the victim’s past catches up to them. Bad Boys and Bad Boys II were more action than story, pyrotechnics and explosions and elaborate car chases sometimes without real meaning. Bad Boys For Life is more about emotion than action, where the action scenes are placed exactly when necessary and aren’t overdone like the previous film.
Also brought in this time around is a younger squad called AMMO, a group of technically advanced officers which employ the use of technologies that millennials are familiar with but older generation may have trouble understanding. The film explores Lowry and Burnett having to work with the younger squad and understanding their new way of doing things when stuck in their old ways especially Lowry. It becomes interesting when we see Lowry’s reactions to having to take orders from a woman Rita, giving how he feels about what it means to be a man and in charge. Also Smith’s Lowery forms a kind of mentor of sorts bond with Vanessa Hudgens’ Kelly who is a member of the AMMO squad.
Most of the hard physical action is done by Smith,Scipio and the actors who make up the AMMO squad while Lawrence for the most part provides the comedic lines and puns. This time around most of Lawrence’s lines are age awareness infused drawing constant reference that he and Smith are men advancing in age. Although needed at times the age awareness brought about regarding the protagonist duo came across at times as a bit extra. Not only is Smith’s character given more physical action to do, but also more character arc, story line and development than the other previous films until the end.
While one might think a trilogy serves to bring a story full circle and serve as a conclusion, while Bad Boys For Life brings things full circle it doesn’t bring a conclusion. Characters are brought back from the previous two films and their stories and arcs get a conclusion in Bad Boys For Life, but we’re left feeling there is definitely more of Lowry and Burnett’s story to be told.
Bad Boys for Life releases in movie theaters nationwide on January 17th.
To get the #BadBoysForLife experience, The Knockturnal was on the scene at the #PorscheExperienceCenter in Los Angeles as we got to test drive 'The Hero' Porsche featured in #BadBoysForLife! Check it out! pic.twitter.com/1no6agHTQ1
— The Knockturnal (@_TheKnockturnal) January 15, 2020