Staring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Joe Pantoliano
Written by Chris Bremner, Peter Craig, Joe Carnhan, Directred by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah
Michael Bay didn’t invent the buddy cop movie, but he sure made it look a lot cooler. Where most cop films take place in dark alleys and the shadows, Bay set the world of Bad Boys in the sun and under the bright lights of Miami. The light though didn’t just come from the location, but also from the leads Martin Lawrence and Will Smith who just shined together. They helped give it that special something that made watching car chases and stuff getting blown up a whole lot more fun. Now twenty five years after the first one and seventeen years after Bad Boys II we are getting the team back together and make you wonder what they’re gonna do this time.
Detective Lowrey (Will Smith) and Detective Burnett (Martin Lawrence) start off in a high speed chase, but this is not a chase to stop a criminal. No it’s to get to the hospitial where Burnett’s daughter is having a baby, yes one bad boy is about to be a granddad. Mike Lowrey is not having any of that and while he is past the fifty mark age-wise, he still thinks he is the same Mike Lowrey from twenty five years ago. Things get real, quickly and after a life changing experience Burnett and Lowrey ‘s path takes them in different directions and leads Mike on a discovery path he might not be ready for. Soon they team up with an elite unit in the Miami P.D. as they search for a killer who seems to be cleaning up a past that Mike was part of.
It doesn’t take long to realize you are no longer in a Michael Bay world as he decided to sit this one out. While the film starts in a familiar tone, it switches to a place that feels more like your everyday disposable buddy cop movie. Even though it might have lost most of its shine, it still has Smith and Lawrence leading the way and it’s like no time as passed, as the chemistry is still there. Sure they look a little older and the stunts that Smith might have done when he is younger is replaced with some not so well done CGI, but the laughs keep coming. While Bay’s fingerprints are noticeably missing, you see co-writer Joe Carnahan’s all over this much bleaker world. Sure there are the stock shots on Miami that is in every movie filmed there and we even get pretty close to that famous Bay shot that circles its stars, that at times makes you feel like there isn’t something missing when there is. These films are what they are because of the combination of Bay, Smith and Lawrence and without one of those three it feels less magical. Sure things still blow up and it has the feeling of a nineties action movie, just not the one I was hoping for. Nonetheless, Bad Boys for Life is an acceptable chapter in a series that has spanned a quarter of a century and by the end of it you will be glad they came for you.