The first Bad Boys movie came out in 1995, with the second arriving in 2003. So, 17 years on and these Miami bad boys are sure to be showing signs of age, following a career of fast cars and extreme action. Thankfully, Bad Boys for Life acknowledges that fact, even if we do get to hear the phrase “we’re getting too old for this shit”, or variations of, on many occasions throughout. Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) is becoming a grandfather, keen to move on from being a bad boy in order to try and become a “good man” instead. Meanwhile, Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) isn’t quite there just yet, continuing to try and live his shallow bad boy life at full throttle, dying his greying goatee beard in denial. When Mike becomes the target for a badass Mexican drug-lord (Kate del Castillo) and her ruthless son, his past comes back to haunt him and both boys have no choice but to get back together in order to take down the bad guys one last time.
OK, full disclaimer – I haven’t seen Bad Boys and I haven’t seen Bad Boys II. I probably wouldn’t have been concerned about seeing this third installment either if I’m honest, but I found myself with a couple of hours to kill in London over the weekend, with Bad Boys for Life being literally the only movie that I hadn’t seen which was showing at a convenient time. General opinion online so far seems to be that this is a fairly decent entry into the franchise though, and not necessarily something where you needed to have seen the previous movies in order to enjoy, so I decided to give it a shot. Consequently, there may be things about this movie that fans of the series will be happy to see or that they will be disappointed to see, but which I can’t really comment on. I was heading into this like it was a standalone movie.
So, with Burnett trying to adjust to a life of relaxation at home, getting under his wife’s feet in the process, it’s up to Lowrey to tackle the assassin threat. However, due to him being one of their targets, he’s forced to join the AMMO squad as a consultant. AMMO are Miami PD’s elite team, utilising technology to track and monitor high-profile criminals, and the majority of the team are all considerably younger than Lowrey too. To them, Lowrey is just the old man that would rather shoot first and ask questions later, and it’s not long before a frustrated Lowrey is disobeying orders, taking charge and introducing the team to some of his Bad Boy ways.
As far as buddy cop action movies go, Bad Boys for Life was an absolute blast. I’ve seen reviewers negatively describe the impact that Michael Bay had on the last Bad Boys movie with his over the top action mayhem style of film making. However, this time around, new co-directors Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi are in charge (although Bay does have a small cameo in the movie!) and while the action is still frenetic at times, it’s also a lot more coherent too. The pacing in Bad Boys for Life felt spot on and with a good mix of humour, some decent villains and some fast paced inventive action that you can actually follow, it all makes for an enjoyable ride.