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Bad Boys For Life - Movie Review

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Bad Boys For Life (2020)

What does a filmmaker do when attempting to revive a franchise that has lain dormant for more than a decade since the last entry? In the case of Bad Boys For Life, directors Adil and Bilall do what most other filmmakers have done: they adapt the story to fit a new cultural landscape, they riff on the advanced age of the main characters, and they otherwise play into evolved audience expectations. However, unlike most who try and fail, Adil and Bilall hit in a very big way with Bad Boys For Life as they inject a newfound excitement and exuberance into a series that had long since been left for dead.

"reminds us of what we loved so much about the original. It is just a whole lot of fun to watch!"


If it sounds like I enjoyed this one more than the original, it’s because I did. And a large part of that comes from the joy of watching a pair of seasoned actors having fun in a type of film that Hollywood rarely ever gets right anymore.

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return as Detectives Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett respectively, roles they originated in Bad Boys back in 1995 as new-on-the-scene movie stars. Though that film – as well as 2003’s awful followup Bad Boys II – featured newcomer Michael Bay and all the explosiveness that comes with a Bay film, this revisit gets its excitement from a totally different place. Gone are Bay and the slo-mo shots of an open-shirted Smith chasing bad guys, replaced by Mike and Marcus contemplating their own legacy and mortality while heatedly discussing what happens when Bad Boys become old men.

This self-awareness is never illustrated more vividly than in the opening scene which features Mike and Marcus zooming through the streets of Miami in a sexy new 992-Generation Porsche. With police hot on their tails, it is clear they are in pursuit of something. But as they finally reach their destination, there is no shootout to be had. They have arrived at the hospital just in time to see the birth of Marcus’ granddaughter.

The razor-sharp script, from writers Chris Bremner, Peter Craig, and Joe Carnahan perfectly blends humor, action, and loads of heart while never forgetting that Mike and Marcus’ story has lived inside our imaginations for over twenty years. Yes, it is dumb, and please don’t think too much about the preposterousness of it all. This odd-couple pairing reminds us of what we loved so much about the original. It is just a whole lot of fun to watch!

The plot initially feels like a throwaway piece through which to weave an onslaught of funny bits and outlandish action sequences as Mike and Marcus set out on one last mission. But it is actually a quite intricate and well thought out revenge conspiracy story which sees the two aging police hot shots teaming up with a younger and much more technologically savvy police outfit that calls itself AMMO or Advanced Miami Metro Operations. Together the new and old will combine their unique talents to bring down the head of a criminal ring whose motives may involve a personal vendetta.Bad Boys For Life (2020)

At the core of what makes Bad Boys for Life (as well as the original) work is the bond shared by Marcus and Mike, two tough old guys who’ve quite literally been to war together. But what makes their bond so special and believable for the audience are Smith and Lawrence whose brilliant on-screen chemistry is a tough thing to find, and an even tougher one for a director to nurture. Fortunately, Adil and Bilall not only find a way to stay out of the way, but also skillfully show how friendships can pull people apart if they aren’t willing to grow.

Don’t be fooled by the notion that films released in the January dumping ground are almost always downright stinkers. And don’t let the rancid memories of Bad Boys II spoil your anticipation of a return to form for everybody’s favorite crime-fighting duo. The Bad Boys are back on their beat, and they are as big a blast as you remember. Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

4/5 stars

Bad Boys For Life (2020)


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor:
Available on Blu-ray

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Bad Boys For Life (2020)

MPAA Rating: For Strong Bloody Violence, Language Throughout, Sexual References, and Brief Drug Use.
123 mins
: Adil El Arbi (as Adil), Bilall Fallah (as Bilall)
Chris Bremner, Peter Craig
Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens
: Comedy | Action | Crime
Ride Together. Die Together.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'mma penetrate this man's soul wit my heart."
Theatrical Distributor:
Sony Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
January 17, 2020
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: IMarcus and Mike have to confront new issues (career changes and midlife crises), as they join the newly created elite team AMMO of the Miami police department to take down the ruthless Armando Armas, the vicious leader of a Miami drug cartel.

Bad Boys For Life (2020)

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