Bad Boys for Life

Bad Boys for Life ★★★★

It feels almost like a lifetime since the last one. Since then big budget R-rated action movies all but went the way of the dodo. The occasional rare big screen sighting of one every couple of years doesn't cloud the fact that they're a relict of the past. Bad Boys for Life knows this and doesn't try to suck up to today's audiences, but it also keeps the pandering nostalgia to a minimum. It incorparates the series' trademarks without coming across like it's throwing the audience a bone. Visually the film feels like Bay light (= no coke in the editing room), which is only fitting since the action scenes aren't as outlandish as they were in Bad Boys II. If you expected the movie to compete with the lunacy of its predecessor, you're in for a letdown. The action is fun of course, but nothing we haven't seen before.

No, Bad Boys for Life works because Smith and Lawrence still got it. Their chemistry is as good as ever and the script didn't let them down. It even provided some character moments that weren't played for laughs, but felt sincere. Didn't expect that at all from a Bad Boys movie, and I'm sure with Bay in the director's chair it wouldn't have happened. I also liked that the script never adresses Lawrence's weight gain in any way. Prior to the film's release I had read a few disparaging remarks about Lawrence being out of shape declaring him unfit to be in an action film, which is just a load of horseshit.

There's nothing remarkable about Bad Boys for Life in the sense that it doesn't break new ground, it just does what it wants to do quite well. Unlike last year's Gemini Man, it's a 90s action movie that doesn't feel like a leftover from that era. To expect more from the third film of a buddy cop franchise that originated 25 years ago seems a bit foolhardy to me and only sets one up for disappointment. Sometimes solid action, decent characters, and enough gags and one-liners that land, are all that I need to be satisfied.

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