REVIEW: ‘Bad Boys For Life’ is a forgettable sequel

For more than a decade, “Bad Boys For Life” was more like “Bad Boys in Development Hell.” While the third movie in the series has finally arrived, though, it isn’t exactly worth the wait.

“Bad Boys 3,” as it should’ve been called, picks up with Marcus (Martin Lawrence) and Mike (Will Smith) still working in the Miami Police Department. However, Marcus is preparing for a well-deserved retirement. Mike isn’t all too happy with the news, but before either of them can hash the subject out further, a new threat enters the picture.

A Mexican family is looking to take revenge on a group of individuals in Miami responsible for taking down a crime empire. One of those individuals just happens to be Mike. As a result, Mike and Marcus once again have to team up against dangerous criminals.

The third “Bad Boys” is a rather lame endeavor to sit through. It’s a slog of humor and character developments done in the previous two movies, and done better. The movie as a whole just feels tired and exhausted.

There’s a lack of swagger and coolness to the overall production that the other films offered in spades. It’s understandable that because the characters are older, the filmmakers wanted to explore what it’s like now that they’re not as hip and untouchable anymore. However, the film kind of over plays this aspect.

“For Life” also isn’t helped by a twist that’s revealed near the start of the third act. It’s fair to give credit for at least not going with a simple, straightforward cops catching robbers story, but what’s introduced in this film is rather laughable.

Courtesy Columbia Pictures and Sony.

Also detracting from the movie is a team of rather forgettable new characters. There’s a division of the Miami PD assigned to Mike and Marcus’ case, but they have basically no character other than some cliched traits. For a movie about this duo’s last ride, it seemed really unnecessary to feature this other group of characters.

In all fairness to this flick, though, seeing the Mike and Marcus characters together again is fun at times. Similar to the other installments, the two have a lot of fun banter and have a good balance. I would’ve liked to see the characters brought into some new and/or different territory, but they were at least fun to watch after more than 15 years off the screen.

Making this work, of course, is Smith and Lawrence. Regardless of where their careers have gone, it remains true that both of them have a strong screen presence and enough charisma to make these characters work. The on-screen chemistry between the two actors that was in the first two movies is also back here.

However, the action is somewhat hit or miss. There’s a fairly good chase sequence in the second act, but it’s really the only stand out here.

Overall, there’s some fun to be had seeing Marcus and Mike banter on screen together and get into some action, but there’s nothing else really memorable here. It’s a somewhat disappointing entry in a series that might be over now. 2.0 out of 5.


Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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