After a 17-year hiatus the third film in the Bad Boys series was far better than it had any right to be.
In a time where actors return for pointless reboots or re-hashes this could have quite literally been a disaster – but with fantastic chemistry between the leads, plenty of humorous interaction and a well-above-average story, this punches well above its weight.
Pound-for-pound it could even be the best ‘Bad Boys’ to some (not personally as the first film has a special place in my heart), and even if it doesn’t quite have the zest of youthful Will Smith and Martin Lawrence cop buddies from the now cult original – it’s still a damn sight better than the hodge-podge hit-and-miss affair that was the second film.
In short, virtually unknown Arabic directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah have done a top-notch job.
Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) is now close to retirement after becoming a police inspector and putting life in the fast lane behind him now he has a grandchild – while his gung-ho detective partner (ish) Mike Lowrey (Smith) continues to see his ‘body count’ rise still believing he’s ‘bullet proof’.
That is until he gets gunned down by a mystery assailant (Jacob Scipio), who proves to be vengeful mercenary Armando Armas – baying for the blood of all the people complicit in the death of his mob boss father, at the behest of his ‘witch doctor’ mother.
So the duo team up for one last time, aided by a new cop team headed by their iconic boss Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano) – and consisting of Vikings’ Alexander Ludwig, Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical), Charles Melton (The Sun is Also a Star) and Lowrey’s potential ‘love interest’ Paola Nunez – to try and take out Armas and his goons.
The problem is there are some nice twists and turns that really complicate issues, and it soon proves that this isn’t going to be your regular mission.
But with the relationship between Smith and Lawrence – and to be honest the entire cast prove to be likeable bringing their own characteristics to proceedings – watching the mission unfold is extremely enjoyable to anyone who’s even half a fan, with plenty of nods to the 1995 film with the familiar Miami backdrop.
It’s a lot closer in style to the first film – and even includes a rift on Mark Mancini’s classic theme tune – with a terrific soundtrack to match.
Bad Boys for Life simply goes back to action/comedy basics – and is a whole lot of fun to boot.
And audiences and critics seem to agree after a cracking opening box-office weekend worldwide – which could lead to this starting a brand new trilogy with already early talks of a fourth film in the offing.
With Smith and Lawrence in this kind of form – whatcha gonna do?
ESP Rating: 4/5
Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Joe Pantoliano, Jacob Scipio, Alexander Ludwig, Vanessa Hudgens, Paola Nunez, Charles Melton, Kate Del Castillo, DJ Khaled & Theresa Randle
Running Time: 2 Hrs 4 Mins
Directors: Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah
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