• Release Date: 17/01/2020
  • Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Kate del Castillo, Jacob Scipio, Paola Nuñez
  • Director: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

“Adil and Bilall do one better than Michael Bay on all counts”

Mike and Marcus are back after a hiatus of 17 years. The film starts with Marcus’s granddaughter being born and then we learn that he wishes to retire. Mike is not ready to hang up his boots yet and doesn’t want Marcus to retire either. In Mexico, a stone-cold female killer slashes her way out of prison and is reunited with her son who is an equally gifted killer. They have a list of people that they want to kill to avenge what was done to them by these people in the past. On the list is Mike. Soon our “Bad Boy” Mike finds himself hunted by a killer that he can’t contend with on his own. He asks for the help of his friend, Marcus — one last time.

Bad Boys for Life is my favorite “Bad Boys” film to date. It’s almost ironic to note how the change of director from Michael Bay to Adil & Bilal has drastically improved the overall presentation of the film. It must not be forgotten that Michael Bay was the one who rolled out the franchise, directed the first two films and made it the pop culture hit that it is today. But, if truth be said those films never really resonated with me and I found them unnecessarily hyped.

Some of the primary reasons for that was the unnecessary and sometimes excessive use of shaky camera movements that practically did nothing for me apart from inducing motion sickness. The next issue for me was the hyper-speed editing of not only the action sequences but also of the general ones that spoiled the fun of the films. This case was particularly true for Bad Boys II. Another huge issue with the films was with the lame antagonists. None of the antagonists in the first two films made any impact on me whatsoever. They never really threatened our protagonists Mike and Marcus and we never felt our heroes to be in any kind of danger whatsoever. The stories in itself were problematic and didn’t have any merit to them.

Bad Boys for Life is a different ballgame though. All the above issues are taken care of in this installment up to a great extent. Adil & Bilall successfully cook up the most enjoyable and accessible “Bad Boys” film thus far. I liked the story quite a bit as it rolled with some solid surprises here and there that kept me interested and at the edge of my seat. It was also a little more believable than what we are used to from a “Bad Boys” film and that really helped matters. The final reveal of the antagonist and his true identity was one of the best surprises of the film. I knew they meant business when they killed off a major character halfway through the film. The director duo not only keeps the proceedings breezy but also hits the right balance between drama, action and situational comedy.

Bad Boys for Life is one gorgeous looking film. They use a lot of handheld camera but the movements are pristine and I didn’t have any issues following the action and enjoying every bit of it. The editing is also on point here and helps make the action intelligible. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have both aged considerably since their last film together but the director duo knew exactly how to use them in the action set-pieces that will not only be credible but also pulsating to watch.

The biggest strength of these films has been Will Smith and Martin Lawrence and they continue to be so. While the chemistry is still there and is just as effortless as ever, I really enjoyed watching them in a world that is beginning to call them grandpa. The funniest bit was when Will Smith’s Mike is unable to charm his way into a nightclub. The interaction between him and Marcus on a flight to Mexico was just as funny. Paola Nuñez as Rita lights up the screen every time she makes an appearance. I would have loved to see a bit more of her.

Kate del Castillo and Jacob Scipio make up the best antagonists that we have had in the “Bad Boys” franchise thus far. They are powerful, they are motivated and above all, they have an ax to grind which makes them interesting and effective. There are times when you feel as if they will harm our heroes and that makes their interactions with the protagonists interesting. There are a few slips here and there like when Jacob Scipio refuses to shoot through an innocent to kill Mike minutes after he has mercilessly killed an entire medical team to get his mother out of prison. That felt pretentious and plain stupid but we come to know in the end why He was given that line. We have to give a film like this that much leeway.

Overall, Bad Boys for Life was exhilarating and enjoyable in all the good ways. I had low expectations from this film which probably let me enjoy the film a little more than what has been the case with the other. One has to take it for the mindless fun that it is to enjoy it fully.

Rating: 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)




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