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Sunday, March 29, 2020

‘Bad Boys for Life’… Stay Retired

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Ben Nietzel
Ben Nietzel
Ben Nietzel works as the principal of Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic School. He also enjoys coaching Muskie football and reviewing movies.

“Bad Boys for Life” is the third installment of the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence franchise about two buddy Miami cops. 17 years later, the duo teams up for one last ride (or not).

Con – Ridiculous

“Bad Boys for Life” is ridiculous, and not in a fun way. Movies can twist and bend logic as they wish if they are true to the world they create. The problem with this film is that the “Bad Boys” movies exist in something approaching real world Miami. In that context, the action set pieces of this movie are so outrageous, so over-the-top, and so insane they just don’t work. The leap to suspend disbelief is too great. For example, there is no scenario where a police officer, finding a mini gun hidden in a motorcycle sidecar (let that sink in), would shoot said weapon at bad guys through crowded, city streets during a high-speed chase. To go bigger and cooler, and perhaps emulate the “Fast and Furious” franchise, the film simply comes off as silly. “Bad Boys for Life” is a textbook example of more not always being better.

Con – Henpecked or Insufferable

The original hook of the “Bad Boys” movies was the friendship of Mike Lowrey (Will Smith), an athletic, hard charging playboy cop with all the best cars, looks, and clothes in the cool capital of the world, Miami, and his partner Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), a frumpy, decidedly unathletic cop who drove a mini-van instead of a Porsche and was more concerned about catching the ire of his wife than a bullet from a perp. Yet, Burnett has the more rewarding life despite being much less cool. It was a classic odd couple dynamic, and it worked really well.

This film sees Martin Lawrence’s character retired, and so afraid of his wife that it’s literally annoying to have him on screen. It has gone from funny and relatable to completely insufferable. It’s too bad too, because it detracts from more compelling character growth, which is Smith’s Lowrey dealing with still having the looks, vehicles, and clothes, but simply getting too old to be the cool guy he desperately desires.

Pro – Fun

Honestly, “Bad Boys for Life” is fun at times. Some of the action is entertaining, when it’s not so bloodthirsty or implausible. There are legitimately laugh-out-loud parts too. Martin Lawrence’s character is terrible, until they board a plane and then he actually becomes incredibly funny. Of course, this just serves to underscore how bad the first 80% of the film is. Miami is always a great, cool setting and it’s fun to run around in the town. Smith and Lawrence still have great chemistry, and it shines through. The rest of the team is also good, but for most of the film they are little more than window dressing.

“Bad Boys for Life” is not a good movie. For diehard fans of the originals, you might enjoy moments, and you’ll certainly “pop” for the theme song, but overall this movie badly misses the mark. It’s clearly been set-up for a fourth movie but making it out of this looming box office disaster alive seems less believable than some of the films crazy set pieces. There’s a lot of great films at the Fridley Palms Theatre right now, so maybe give this a pass and see something else this weekend!

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