Bad Boys For Life (2020)

As Disney soaks up just about every viable property and franchise in Hollywood, studios have sought out some of the more vacant properties, and here comes the long dormant “Bad Boys” series. With the nineties as popular as ever, “Bad Boys For Life” is a great property to revive. The new sequel acts as a soft reboot that could potentially help it live past Will Smith and Martin Lawrence and in to the “Fast and the Furious” long road. “Bad Boys For Life” is a shockingly good restart for a new series, and I like how the producers take the titular heroes and allow them to grow in a world that’s becoming harder to keep up with.

Still friends after so many years, Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are facing middle age, and Mike is trying to figure out if he wants to continue risking his life after a disastrous police bust involving an old nemesis. After swearing off risking their lives and approaching early retirement, the two re-unites “one last time” to bring down the wife of Mexican drug cartel boss, as well as her hot headed and psychopathic son. Both gangsters are committed to murdering everyone involved in their case, and now they’re after Mike. Despite “Bad Boys For Life” being an obvious cash grab for the nostalgia bucks, this reboot and sequel feels like a great re-visit to what was always a lukewarm action series.

Smith and Lawrence bring their A game to what is a very solid action film with surprising heart behind it. While “Lethal Weapon 4” kind of poked fun at Riggs and Murtaugh directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah manage to show the pair here at a crossroads in their lives where they don’t think jumping in to a hail of bullets is fun anymore. This is especially true when we meet the newest pair of villains, both of whom are easily the most menacing this movie series has had to date. Their ability to murder like it’s a bodily function amounts to a ton of high stakes moments, where Marcus and Mike have to literally be on guard where ever they are.

“Bad Boys For Life” throws around ideas that this is their last hurrah and that Marcus and Mike are having one more adventure, but we all know what the movie works toward from minute one. “Bad Boys For Life” builds up to laying the platform for a potential spin off series, or maybe new characters, all of whom have some sort of personal stake and their own individual back stories. Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah turn “Bad Boys For Life” in to a team movie that is obviously engineered for wider franchise potential, and it livens up what was always a middling movie series, anyway.

Smith and Lawrence are so good in the return to their characters, and directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah side step the Michael Bay aesthetic for a more low-key albeit stylish re-visit to this universe and these characters. While I’m still lukewarm on the “Bad Boys” series, “Bad Boys For Life” is a huge step up from the abysmal “Bad Boys II,” offering heart, engaging action, and some great plot twists.