'Bad Boys For Life' (2020) A New Year, New Movie Review

Updated on January 27, 2020

Bad Boys Fan For Life

I will probably garner a lot of flack for saying this, but I don’t care. I am unapologetically in love with R-rated Michael Bay movies, that includes both Bad Boys one and two. No, I will not take that back. My father and I would watch the first two films on practically an endless loop for years because we enjoyed the living hell out of them. The Bad Boys movies are fun, gloriously hard R, darkly hilarious slaughterhouse action pictures with awesome chemistry between Martin Lawrence and Will Smith. Are they masterpieces? F*ck yes they are, masterpieces at being Bad Boys and that’s all I care about. There is no need for them to be the Serpico of the 1990s or 2000s, they need to be sheer entertainment with fantastic banter between their leads amidst all the beautiful carnage in the Miami magic hour streets. That is Bad Boys and that is exactly why I love the 2020 continuation as well.

The Plot

Bad Boys, Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), are at it again with another set of baddies trying to ruin their day. This time around however, it seems that the duo are at completely different junctures in their lives as Marcus is determined to settle down while Mike is more hell bent than ever to live the action hero life no matter the cost. When a hitman is sent to kill Mike for mysterious reasons, it’s up to the Bad Boys to solve the case and put an end to this personal war brought to their doorstep.

Mike & Marcus

For me, when it comes to the true enjoyment of a Bad Boys movie, it comes down to the chemistry between Marcus and Mike played respectively by Lawrence and Smith. They squabble and bicker time and time again, but there always needs to be a sign of heart between them. A semblance of showing that they genuinely care for one another as metaphorical brothers, that is the heart and soul of any Bad Boys flick. Bad Boys For Life carries that tradition effortlessly. Yes, they are getting into hilarious arguments throughout the movie and mainly about Marcus trying to retire or depart in some way from Mike yet again. Instead of feeling old or redundant at this point, it makes sense why the subject rears its angry little Martin Lawrence head again. Marcus has recently become a grandfather, he feels as though that he has served his purpose in bettering the streets of Miami, plus when we get to a more emotional moment within their story it all adds up further.

Acting wise, the duo doesn’t miss a beat. These feel completely authentic to the characters that they had built upon in the previous two movies with everything we love about them. Hell, there are times where Will and Martin are acting their whole hearts out so much that I’m positive if this were a drama then it would last minute have been included in this year’s Oscar nominations for Best Actors. They are that good and they inject a massive amount of love in their performances for their characters. Not to mention, they are so God damn funny. They really are. I don’t think there was a single moment when these two were sharing the screen that I wasn’t laughing and having a great time. To see Lawrence and Smith back together again makes me smile from ear to ear and I truly hope that we have more to come very soon… Not another ten to fifteen years “soon” though because that’ll just piss me off.

Action & Aesthetic

Maybe it’s not the first thing that some fans would pick up on, but the first two Bad Boys flicks had an extremely distinct cinematography that can only be described as “very Michael Bay.” Bay’s style is somewhat of a 1990s evolution of a Tony Scott aesthetic, only with slightly more exaggerated camera angles, yet plenty of magic hour shots and bloody chaos. If Bad Boys For Life would have lost that specific quality in its visuals, to me, that would have been a major disappointment. Frankly, I was afraid that could have been the situation as it was no longer being directed by Michael Bay himself, but rather two co-directors that had no affiliation with the previous two installments at all. Thankfully these directors seemingly understood what comprises the identity of Bad Boys not only in dialog, but also in visuals and tone. This film is a love letter of early to mid-1990s styled, Jerry Bruckheimer/Don Simpson era action flicks like Bad Boys, The Rock, and Con Air; slick, cool, fun as hell, full of charm and style, also perfectly bloody. The excessively vogue camera work, as well as the R-rating, are major components to the Bad Boys personality. Without that, I don’t believe I would have felt the same experience in this third entry. Especially when it comes to the R-rating that fuels the really bad ass action set pieces and the dark humor scattered throughout.

The Young Squad

A special team in the Miami Police force called "AMMO" helps our heroes out.
A special team in the Miami Police force called "AMMO" helps our heroes out.

If there was any personal gripes I had with the picture, it would be the inclusion of an action movie trope that I’m not exactly the biggest fan of; which is bringing in a young team of whipper snappers who mostly are there only to ignorantly talk back to our leads as though they are the next generation that’ll take things over and retire them for good. Luckily it’s really only one character with that type of obnoxious personality, performed by Charles Melton, and truthfully he wasn’t given all that much screen time. Regardless of his limited presence, when he showed up after a few times I was kind of rolling my eyes in anticipation for his earliest departure. This aspect wasn’t “movie breaking” by any means, however it created enough irritation to make me wish Will Smith would shoot him in the face… at least once. I’ve seen Melton in other projects where I’ve liked his acting fine, but in this his characters was too stereotypically lame to get behind. Other than that, I’m good.

Overall

I’m legitimately happy after seeing Bad Boys For Life in the theater as my smile remained ingrained in my face for the entire two hour runtime. The movie has heart, it has pitch perfect comedy, it has stylish action, and it has some of the most likable police partners to ever hit the big screen. From start to finish, I simply knew that if my dad was around to see this movie he would have loved it just as much as the other two. We would have had an epic blast together enjoying Will Smith and Martin Lawrence doing what they do best, together again, entertaining and busting our guts with laughter. Anyone who considers themselves fond of the first two movies, I don’t see any particular reason as to why the third wouldn’t satisfy. When it’s most convenient, I one hundred percent recommend Bad Boys For Life to anyone who’s already a fan of Bad Boys. See it as soon as you can and I hope that you have as grand of a time as I did.

They're back and badder than ever!
They're back and badder than ever!

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That’s All Folks!

Bad Boys For Life… What did you think of the movie? Like or dislike? Agree or disagree? Wondering why it takes so freaking long to get a Bad Boys sequel?! Me too. Comment down below and let me know. Also, if you so happened to have enjoyed my review then please do me a favor and share this article around the social media world. Thank you all so much for reading and have yourselves a BAD day! Wait… No. Scratch that. That’s bad. I’m sorry. First review back in weeks and I tell everyone to have a bad day… Good job, John!

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    © 2020 John Plocar

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