'Bad boys for Life' worth the wait

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, January 29th, 2020 at 11:15 PM

Nearly 20 years after the original film, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reprise their roles as Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett in “Bad Boys for Life.” Similar to the previous film, this new sequel takes place in present day, allowing for interesting dynamic changes in the environment and characters during their years off screen.

Having been on the force for most of their lives, Mike (Smith) and Marcus (Lawrence) are dealing with their ever-increasing age and changing values. Mike is still living the bachelor life with fast cars, fancy suits and high-end apartments. Marcus is enjoying raising his family and watching them grow into their own as he contemplates his career. What starts off as catchup with our main characters quickly explodes in dramatic fashion, leading into arguably the best film of the series.

Marcus and Mike continue doing what they do best — catching criminals and leaving millions of dollars in collateral damage as they go. It’s taken a while, but karma finally catches up with the two as Armando (Jacob Scipio) begins terrorizing Miami, the police and Mike personally. The two team up with AMMO, a subdivision of Miami police, to catch Armando before he can finish his plans.

“Bad Boys for Life” is a true character- driven story through and through. The previous two films seemed to hit fast and hard with the action and stunts, as most buddy cop movies do, in an unfortunately forgettable manner. The plots failed to be unique, while the characters’ comedic value was limited to certain scenes. However, this newest installment has the perfect blend of comedy, action and heart. It’s a great improvement.

As Marcus looks to the future, Mike is haunted by his secretive past and a quest for revenge. Not only do we see how these characters have grown, we get to see them at their most vulnerable; it’s a view not many action films give their audience. It ups the stakes and the audience’s satisfaction, as they see everything slowly unfold. The placement of comedy within the film is much better than the previous entries and doesn’t seem as forced, though at times it can still seem a bit much.

The film retains the core elements of the previous two movies with modern aesthetic updates. Only a few new characters are introduced (and with minimal back stories). The new additions seem almost disposable, yet at the same time never seem to be in any mortal danger. Plus, various characters perish while sustaining less severe injuries than one of the main characters sustains near the beginning, which can be irritating. Like any action movie, there is a lot of suspension of belief.

The biggest negative of the film is that while Armando’s goal is to cause Mike personal suffering, he only succeeds on two occasions. There is a significant amount of exposition dedicated to the villain’s plan, and it has absolutely no effect on the main characters. It’s a wasted montage that seems to do nothing but display Armando’s skills before throwing them out the window.

Overall, “Bad Boys for Life” is an entertaining film and an amazing continuation of the franchise. Slow, fulfilling reveals, exciting stunts and excellently placed drama and humor make this film a great choice to see in theaters.

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