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January 22, 2020

Bad Boys For Life (2020) --- “One Last Ride?"


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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     When Isabel Aretas (Kate del Castillo), the wife of a deceased drug lord, escapes from prison in Mexico, she sets out to avenge the death of her husband by ordering the assassination of everyone involved with his capture and incarceration. She sends her son Armando (Jacob Scipio) to Miami to put her plan into action and insists that Mike is saved for last. Now old-school detectives Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) must team up with the newly created elite team AMMO led by Rita (Paola Nunez), in order to take down Isabel Aretas before it’s too late. Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, also known as Abdil & Bilall (Gangsta), and written Chris Bremner (National Treasure 3, Bad Boys 4), Peter Craig (Top Gun: Maverick), and Joe Carnahan (Death Wish), and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (Bad  Boys franchise), Bad Boys For Life (2020) is the third installment in the Bad Boys action-comedy franchise.
     Bad For Life is the long-awaited sequel to the Bad Boys series and while it’s been 17 years since Bad Boys II (2003), this has to be one of the franchise’s best films. This is the first installment in the franchise that has not been directed by Michael Bay and for that, it does all the better. Not to say that Bay is a bad director but his directing style is very obvious and in some cases can be a bit much for some films. The main characters have great chemistry together but the way that Bay directs them makes you forget about that because their too loud and over the top. This film tries to emulate Bay’s style of action but with a bit more finesse that makes the film more coherent. The screenwriters found ways to explore Mike and Marcus both in their personalities and relationships, which is something that was not present or severely lacking in the last two films. We get better backstories of their characters and this allows them to have more depth and thus allowing the audience to connect with them better. Mike’s backstory is more central to the storyline because it’s someone from his past that is leaving a trail of bodies in their wake, and we can see how that affects him the most. Not to mention he is having a full-blown mid-life crisis and having to deal with Marcus potentially retiring after 25 years on the force. All in all, this was a fun action-packed comedy that provided more character depth and less mindless action to produce a well-rounded story that was well worth the wait.
     The cast performances were great all around. Will Smith (Gemini Man) and Martin Lawrence (Martin, Big Momma’s House) are great in delivering their characters and since the story offers more character depth, they are given the chance to explore their character’s more. Joe Pantoliano (Memento, The Matrix) returns as the overreacting Captain Howard that provides his fair share of comic relief. Paola Nunez (The Son TV series, The Purge TV series) as Rita is stunning and she manages to play this type of role without being corny. She adds her own mix of humor throughout and her action sequences prove that she is more than capable to protect herself. Alexander Ludwig (Vikings, Midway) as Dorn, Vanessa Hudgens (Drunken History, The Knight Before Christmas) as Kelly and Charles Melton (Riverdale) as Rafe were all good in their respective roles. However, Ludwig proves to be a scene-stealer as the big man-mountain who is against violence and prefers to stay in the safety of the truck. Hudgens does accomplish what she needs to but she isn’t given much room to expand, and Melton tries but ultimately remains in the background as a forgettable character. The villains are very much secondary supporting characters but the writers do some interesting things with their character arcs. Kate del Catillo (The 33, The Book of Life) brings the seductive figure, while Jacob Scipio (We Die Young) brings the cold-eyed assassin. On a side note, while this film was not helmed by Michael Bay the directors did provide an easter egg by having Bay play the Wedding MC at Marcus’ daughter’s wedding.

     Overall, Bad Boys For Life (2020) is a good action-comedy that has a lot of fun humor and a surprising amount of character depth, and it is all thanks to the new directors who have given this film a fresh new look Not even the 17 years hiatus can stop this film from being the best in the franchise and I could easily see this film topping Dolittle at the box office. I highly recommend this film, especially if you are a fan of the series or the main actors Smith and Lawrence.

Final Vote --- 7.5 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar
Bad Boys (1995)
Bad Boys II (2003)
Bad Boys for Life (2020)
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