Let's talk about Bad Boys for Life. Such a big fan of Martin Lawrence and Will Smith. And seeing them together in the Bad Boys movies was amazing. But I'll try to do my best to stay objective.
Going back to the back Bad Boys movies, there was nothing special about them in terms of story. It was your traditional action movie, with explosions, gunfights, and car chases. What made it special was Martin Lawrence and Will Smith's chemistry on screen. And of course, Michale Bay's unique action sequences gave it that edge.
We have new directors in this movie Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. I have to give them credit, they did a fantastic job! All the action sequences were pretty cool and entertaining. Martin Lawrence and Will Smith brought their chemistry on screen. All of that was great. What I did have a problem with is the story. It was way too complicated, had too many twists and turns, it felt messy.
It felt like the studios wanted a Bad Boys spin-off, so they tried extremely hard to make the story work. I get it, that's where studios are heading, that's where the money is. But it took away from what the movie was, Martin Lawrence and Will Smith getting back together and giving us one last Bad Boys movie.
Here's a brief overview of the story;
The movie opens in Miami, Mike drives Marcus to the hospital to witness the birth of his first grandson. Yup, Marcus becomes a pop pop. Mike and Marcus are having similar conversations they had in the previous movie. Marcus wants to retire but Mike wants him to stay on the force.
Meanwhile, in Mexico Isabel Aretas escapes from prison with the aid of her son Armando. The prison break sequence is pretty entertaining. We are introduced to the Aretas family, drug kingpins that were taken down with the help of Mike early in his career.
We don't get much information about the Aretas family, just a bunch of laptop screen-shots that give you pieces of information. Not the best way to get the story across but it works. Shortly after Isabel escapes, her son now in Miami shoots Mike. Mike is hospitalized and in the meantime, Marcus has retired and pledged never to be violent again. This sets up for an extremely funny interaction between Marcus and Mike towards the end.
Now the rest of the movie is about how Mike gets back and convinces Marcus to ride with him one last time. It seems straightforward but things get complicated when Mike's involvement with the Aretas family is revealed in detail. As a fan of the original movies, it was difficult to accept the complicated story. It would have been cleaner to wrap up the movie without revealing too much detail about Mike and Isabel's past. But, it is what it is.
The movie was funny and entertaining but it did lack a certain quality. It wasn't as fulfilling as I hoped it would be. The complicated story plot wasn't helpful. There were also some intensely emotional scenes between Mike and Marcus at the beginning which seemed off. Mike wants to go after the guy who shot him and Marcus wants to enjoy his retirement. So, there's a big chunk of the movie where Mike and Marcus are not together. Which was unfortunate. Having them together on-screen for a longer time, having them work through their issues together would have been much more satisfying.
The time apart does open up the opportunity to reveal and introduce new characters. We are introduced to the Advanced Miami Metro Operations (AMMO), led by Mike's ex-girlfriend Rita. The movie pulls it together towards the middle, all the characters and choices seem to be working fine. But towards the end, they throw this bombshell twist that throws a wrench into the whole operation. More than anything, it was difficult to accept Mike and Isabel's past. In retrospect, if that relationship was revealed towards the beginning of the movie, it might have been easier to accept.
Ultimately I'm a little disappointed that the movie didn't focus enough on Mike and Marcus. Their on-screen dynamic is what made the franchise. We had to sit through all these new characters and how they are potentially going to take over the franchise. I'm still torn about the move, I liked a lot of it but I didn't like certain aspects. So overall it was good. It certainly feels like there are more Bad Boys movies to come. It's going to be interesting to see how the filmmakers are going to take it from here.