Bad Boys become old men

Find out why Bad Boys is better off without Michael Bay in this movie review.

Marcus and Mike in SWAT uniforms aiming their weapons.

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It’s been well over 20 years since Hollywood’s favourite moron Michael Bay released his all style and no substance buddy cop flick Bad Boys. One thing is certain, Bay has a well worn formula that he sticks to. Bad Boys 2 was pretty similar to Bad Boys 1 and if you haven’t seen either, or any of Michael Bay’s movies for that matter, you can replicate the experience by drinking about 30 Red Bulls, standing in front of a strobe light and beating yourself over the head with a plank of wood.

Who made it?

Thankfully, he’s passed the torch to directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah and the franchise is better for it, although he does make a small cameo appearance in the film, just to ensure his taint lingers ever so slightly.

Now these guys weren’t the first choice to step into our favourite director with ADHDs shoes. Joe Carnahan of Narc and The Grey fame was originally lined up for the gig in 2015 but left the project in 2018 because of extensive delays and due to a difference of opinion over the story with Will Smith.

Even though the studio had approved his script, the franchise is practically nothing without the star power of Smith and Lawrence so Carnahan bailed. Some of the framework still exists but a new screenwriter in the form of Christ Bremmer was brought in to pander to Smith’s requests. Carnahan has come out after the fact and added that he reckons his version of how this films would have wrapped up was “one of the best endings I’ve ever written in any movie”.

It’s not the first time Carnahan has walked from a film either, he bailed on Mission Impossible 3 and also the Death Wish remake. It seems he’s got a problem working with the superstar type and pandering to egos, good for him!

What’s it about?

According to the synopsis Bad Boys Mike Lowry and Marcus Bennet are back for one last ride in this highly anticipated sequel. Which is bullshit because Michael Bay has signed on to direct Bad Boys 4.

Anyways, we join our heroes with Marcus being so moved by the birth of his grandchild that he has made the decision to retire. Mike is less than impressed by this and after a few tense events the two have a falling out. They’re brought back together by an assassin named Armando who’s helped stage a prison escape for his mother Isabel, the matriarch of the Aretas cartel run by her and her husband. Armando is systematically assassinating all of the Bad Boys former colleagues that were involved in an old case against the cartel.

Marcus and Mike are joined by a new addition to the force in the form of Advanced Miami Metro Operations (AMMO for short). They are a team of young tech savvy cops led by Mike’s ex-girlfriend Rita. These guys have a whole bunch of new tricks that serve as a great plot device for highlighting how old and behind the times Lowrey and Burnett are. You can also smell a spinoff for the franchise here perhaps in the form of a network TV series.

The cast

The cast bring back an old favourite, Joe Pantoliano returns as Captain Howard. There’s a bunch of fresh faces in the AMMO squad. Paola Nunez as Rita, Vanessa Hudgens as Kelly, Alexander Ludwig as Dorn and Charles Melton as Rafe. The bad guys are headed up by Jacob Scipio who is great as Armando and Kate del Castillo who is puts in a menacing performance as Isabel Aretas. There’s also a couple of cameo from DJ Khaled and Nicky Jam.

And of course you have Will Smith and Marin Lawrence as Mike and Marcus.

The verdict

The movie is probably the most cohesive and best in the series. It’s still a little cluttered but far easier to watch than the other two. The chemistry between Smith and Lawrence is still as fresh as ever, and that is most appealing and endearing thing about these movies. The villains are decent, the action scenes are pretty good and the pacing of the film overall is a lot easier to stomach than the full tilt downhill ride Michael Bay likes to subject audiences to. There are a few plot points that border on the ridiculous, but when you think of the amount of collateral damage these blokes generate on the way, the whole thing becomes pretty ridiculous. 

It’s a lot of fun but, as far as the buddy cop genre goes, Bad Boys for life is far from a classic. It’s no Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours or even Hot Fuzz.

Quite simply it’s fun action flick that doesn’t steer away from the middle of the road.


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