Action Bad Boys for Life

Review: ‘Bad Boys for Life’ Remixes an Action Classic

January 17, 2020Ferdosa Abdi

Old fans and newcomers to the Bad Boys series have cause to rejoice, for Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) are back in Bad Boys for Life. Finding both their ages and their pasts catching up with them, the detective duo work to solve a case that is not only surprisingly personal, but it's one that will also put their longtime friendship to the test.

A new "pop-pop" to a bouncing baby boy, Marcus is at the point in his life where he is ready to acknowledge that putting away the badge and settling down with his family is the most important thing. His partner Mike, on the other hand, has the polar opposite outlook on the future and is ready to go out in a blaze of fiery glory. That is, until a case of bitter revenge has bodies dropping around them, rocking the tight-knit pair to the core.

What follows is everything a Michael Bay movie would be if there was cohesive directing, a coherent story and purpose. Every frame of this film is beautifully shot, with action sequences that don't disorient; the humor is neither cruel or overly offensive; and the color palette doesn't make you feel like you are tripping on the most insane LSD of your life. But the most important thing that makes Bad Boys for Life work is the directing and story.

Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah are not only competent behind the camera, but they are also confident too. Every choice feels deliberate and in service to the story at hand, while cinematographer Robrecht Heyvaert nails the neo-noir aesthetic that is perfect for the heat-stricken and neon-drenched Miami setting. As for the script, screenwriters Chris Bremner, Peter Craig and Joe Carnahan combine what we love from the previous movies while melding it with a mature and sophisticated story about ageing and consequences.

All of these elements combine beautifully with Smith and Lawrence's nuanced and hilarious performances, resulting in a lively and exciting journey for everyone's favorite Miami cops. Perhaps Bad Boys for Life really is the end of the line for Mike and Marcus — and if so, then it is perfect in every regard — but if Sony wishes to take this franchise for another ride, it will be more than welcome.

Bad Boys for Life releases January 17th, 2020 from 20th Sony Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of R for strong bloody violence, language throughout, sexual references, and brief drug use. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 3 min.

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