Bad Boys For Life finally reunited the iconic cop duo of Will Smith’s Mike Lowery and Martin Lawrence’s Marcus Burnett, and it was much better than expected to get many things right in the process. The film proved to be a long time in the building, coming 17 years after Michael Bay’s Bad Boys II. The first two films, though a lot of fun, were not groundbreaking, along with the franchise looked like it had little relevance for any material nearly two years on.
The first Bad Boys was Michael Bay’s feature directorial debut and the movie that introduced Smith and Lawrence’s iconic bromance. It was a fun reinvention of this buddy-cop genre, and Bad Boys 2 was an explosive, testosterone-fuelled sequel eight-years-later. Part of what makes these first two films so appealing though is that they’re very old-school in their nature – new action spectacles and 90s. They are products of the time in the manner. Until just recently, even Will Smith was no longer a bankable box-office lure. A modern spin on the Bad Boys franchise consistently seemed like an idea that would not make use of a more contemporary update.
Nearly two decades later, this time without Michael Bay directing, and following many production troubles, the odds were not stacked in its favor. But with fresh directors in the form of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah came a renewed energy, and Bad Boys 3 was shown to be a significant surprise. Not only can it be a good movie, but it is arguably the best film in the Bad Boys trilogy, obtaining many things right across the way.
THE ACTION IS MORE CONTAINED THAN ERRATIC
Michael Bay is a filmmaker that is known for his Bayhem design – explosive, chaotic action set-pieces. While he was still coming into his own as a director with the very first Bad Boys, Bay’s direction of action – even back then – was not necessarily tight. But the response from the original was not good because it had been overdone, but rather because it had been just generic and choppy. Bad Boys 2 mainly ups the ante in the sequel – Bay has been given more free rein and started to find his voice as a storyteller. Bay’s movies are notorious for their explosions. Also, Bad Boys 2 had more of this trademark Bay-isms audiences have come to know him for. But the strings, entertaining and certainly while helmed, were frequently messy and erratic.
Bad Boys 3 improves with this by having action that feels much more fluid and contained. For starters, it is coherent. You can see what’s going on since the camera moves are not incomprehensible and dimmed. The choreography is a lot tighter, too, using a motorcycle chase that stands out. The action here feels a lot more dialed down; while the movie had a $90 million budget, this was smaller when compared with the $130 million of Bad Boys 2.
In a meeting with Slash Film, directors El Arbi and Fallah talked about the smaller action set-pieces and sticking to practicality for them when possible. They wanted the viewer to”feel that the danger,” stating, “we did not have the funds of a Marvel movie, so we had to be quite creative with the resources we had. ” The action surely echoes this with zippy, included sequences which don’t feel as inconsistent or sprawling as the first two films. Every arrangement has a purpose and helps the narrative in some way or another and is made entertainingly. Additionally, it is creatively helmed, with each set-piece throwing something new. The ending of Bad Boys 3 is put in a single place, which keeps the tension and bets all feeling much more intimate.
IT GETS MARCUS AND MIKE’S STORIES RIGHT
While the action and humor of the Bad Boys films are high, it is the dynamic between Smith and Lawrence’s Lowery and Burnett underpinning the whole trilogy that makes it soar. Their playful camaraderie raised the very first movie, along with the script for Bad Boys 2 made them an even funnier pairing – thanks in part to Seth Rogen’s touching up of the sequel. The screenplays consistently understood that their comparison as people was what created their banter so eloquent and unique.
Bad Boys For Life continues that trend. Taking into consideration, the movie takes place long. The characterization could have felt contrived. But it enjoys their own lives 17 years on. They have the same attributes, which made them so likable in the first place, though it also understands they are different and old. The storyline focuses on Mike’s arc, in particular, as a person trying to hold onto his glory days and caught by his past. Retirement has been moved onto by Marcus, and lots of Mike’s battle is in coming to terms with the fact. The grappling with his mortality is the best path to take for his character in Bad Boys For Life.
Bad Boys 3 is a far more personal story, and moving deeper with that adds humanity to Mike that his personality was sorely lacking previously. Marcus was the sensible person; he’s enjoying retirement on returning to help protect his 28, and his arc mainly focuses. It’s also the story. A lot of time is spent focusing on themes of friendship, family members, old age, and mortality and, for both of these cops that have been in the past through hell, it is a suitable direction. After all, they can’t be young forever. The film provides them stories that this time around that offer and respects this a look at who they are. In doing this, also, it gives the film a real emotional backbone.
IT DOESN’T FORGET WHAT MADE THE ORIGINALS SO SPECIAL
Even with Michael Bay not being involved in the project – creatively, as Bay nevertheless cameoed – Bad Boys 3 knows what made his first two films so special. This is the franchise that started his career. However, new blood was needed, and it’s part of the reason why the film was received so positively. So did the franchise As he needed to move on. That being said, the first films were beloved for their enjoyable actions, silly humor, and the interplay between Burnett and Lowery. Bad Boys For Life takes those elements and embellishes them. The activity is slicker; the interaction is sharper; the humor is funnier.
Screenwriters Joe Carnahan and Fallah, in Addition to el Arbi, Peter Craig, and Chris Bremner, understand this planet. They’re fans. They know what makes Bay’s originals so profitable. They pay homage to Bay’s first two films while ensuring this film is unique and fun in its own right. Within their Slash Film meeting, they talked about needing”to have that nostalgia feel in the film, and at precisely the same time, we wanted to put more emotion into those characters. The older and there’s more battle between them, together with the simple fact that they are on different paths. Just going deeper; that’s what we inserted fresh to it.” Bad Boys For Life is still very much a Bad Boys film, through and through. It elevates them further and merely takes the best parts of those two films. Having a fourth Bad Boys movie in the functions, let us hope the franchise continues that strong.