bad boys for life
DIRECTORs: Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi
starring: will smith, martin lawrence, joe pantoliano and vanessa hudgens
REVIEWER: nick tonkin
Marcus Burnett is now a police inspector and Mike Lowery is in a midlife crisis. They unite again when an Albanian mercenary, whose brother they killed, promises them an important bonus.
Bad Boys for Life is the third installment in the Bad Boys franchise, reunites Will Smith and Martin Lawrence once again to fight crime under their bad boys mantra (ie: the title).
However, things aren't as they were when we last saw the boys in 2003. While Smith's Mike Lowery is still the exotic car driving bachelor detective with a penchant for blowing stuff up, Lawrence's Inspector Burnett is eyeing up retirement, comfy chairs and spending time with the family which Lowery patently refuses to consider as a reasonable possibility. After all, they wouldn't be Bad Boys for Life then would they?
While I'm being snarky, this isn't entirely fair as Bad Boys does allow for things other than action and gaudy set pieces (which are rather excellent admittedly - see the chase with the motorcycle side-car chase with passenger Lawrence wielding a mounted gun). The film has time to allow Lowry an element of introspection, for him to start to re-evaluate his life in the face of the resurgence of his long forgotten past. It's not a long time though, but given the series's Michael Bay helmed history, this feels quite different and welcome.
Bad Boys for Life also sports a surprisingly decent supporting cast in Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Paola Núñez and Joe Pantoliano. They provide energy, comedy and the space for that small touch of Lowry introspection mentioned above which the film certainly benefits from and keeps Bad Boys for Life from feeling like Old Guys Blow Stuff Up: The Movie.
Bad Boys for Life is an action filled popcorn romp with a touch of character and the great chemistry between Smith and Lawrence, who still have it after all this time.