By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Well, some things really are worth the wait. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence
are back together in “Bad Boys For Life,”
the highly anticipated sequel that seemed to take a lifetime to reach the big screen due to a host of production issues.
But, this action-packed follow up to “Bad Boys” (1995) and “Bad Boys II” (2003) from Sacramento, California screenwriter Joe Carnahan (“El Chicano”)
and crew, is everything you’d hoped it would be.
Michael Bay who helmed the first two “Bad Boy” movies, this time has a brief cameo in the film as a wedding host. And while Smith and Jerry Bruckheimer co-produced this installment, it’s upstart Moroccan directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (“Gangster”) who take control here and show they know how to stylishly blow things up too.
Much to its credit, “Bad Boys for Life” doesn’t just bank on nostalgia to carry it through, although there’s lots of that for fans.
This buddy-cop actioner has plenty of heart too thanks largely to Smith and Lawrence’s undeniable chemistry. Yeah, they’re still a dynamic duo hurling hilarious and rapid-fire insults at each other.
A lot has changed since we last saw Miami detectives Mike Lowrey (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence). They’re older—Mike even dyes his goatee now-- and slightly wiser.
Marcus has enjoyed his career on the police force and is set to retire soon. He’s looking forward to spending time with his wife Theresa (Theresa Randle, “Bad Boys II”), his new grandchild and getting to know his son-in-law.
Mike, however, just can’t let this go. He still loves his old “bad boy” ways. Things heat up fast and they get roped back in the fold when a Mexican cartel leader named Isabel Aretas (Kate del Castillo, “El Chicano”) breaks out of jail and hooks up with her “muy loco” son Armando Armas (Jacob Scipio, TV’s “Bob The Builder”).
They plan to kill everyone who put her in jail as well as the killer of Armando’s drug lord father. Armando may be a hot head, but he’s also a sharp-shooter and guns down a judge and several cops. He even takes a couple of shots at Mike.
That leaves Mike and Marcus’s boss, Capt. Howard (a funny Joe Pantoliano, “The Brawler”) little choice but to bring in his A-team to haul in this guy and his mama.
The young guns are led by Mike’s former love interest, Rita (Paola Nunez, TV’s “The Purge”) and includes the wise-cracking Rafe (Charles Melton, “The Sun is Also A Star” and TV’s “Riverdale”), Kelly (Vanessa Hudgens, TV’s “Drunk History” and tech master, Dorn (Alexander Ludwig, TV’s “Vikings”).
Of course, for Mike this is very personal, and he wants to handle business like back in the day.
Marcus doesn’t want any part of those old-school ways and prefers going through the proper channels this time.
Mike reminds Marcus that they’re bad boys for life and it’s ride or die. Naturally Marcus caves and soon these two are breaking all the rules and everything else standing in their way as run and gun their way through Miami and Mexico City.
While “Bad Boys for Life” is supposed to be the final run in the series, I’m not convinced it will be based on the film’s ending. That’s OK by me since these "Bad Boys" show they have more “Big Willie Style” humor and swagger left in the tank for at least one or two more rides.
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Check Out This Trailer For "BAD BOYS FOR LIFE"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.