You could make the argument that the original Bad Boys was destined to be a buddy cop franchise. You could also make the argument that after how bloated and offensive Bad Boys II was, not a lot of people wanted a third one. Well, nevertheless, here it is and the results are a lot better than you might expect.
This time there’s no Michael Bay behind the director’s chair, but Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back as Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett. This threequel finds them still Miami cops, but now it looks like age has caught up to them particularly Lawrence’s Burnett who decides to retire after becoming a new grandpa, but Smith’s Lowrey still wants them to ride until the wheels fall off.
They’re brought back together after a mysterious assassin nearly kills Lowrey and he’s determined to get revenge by finding out who the killer is, but Burnett wants none of it.
We get the obligatory chases, shootouts, and explosions that this series is known for, but unlike the second one, the action is much more measured to the point where we know what’s going on and with whom and considering the chaotic nature of the action in this series, that’s saying something.
There’s also plenty of time for moments where the action and humor do slow down so that we actually get some intriguing character development between the Bad Boys. While it’s not exactly necessary, we do appreciate it and it surprisingly works.
I don’t think the Bad Boys franchise is particularly memorable, but this one does show signs of improvement by not having Bay at the helm and polishing a real script to fit both the action scenes and the charisma of its two leads.
At times, the movie feels predictable and it’s hinting at a new generation of Bad Boys (and girls) possibly taking over, but after the messiness of the second one, I think most fans will welcome this third outing as a return to form that actually delivers.
This is a line that I normally use in action franchises that are a little long in the tooth but show improvement and I think Bad Boys for Life fits the mold. The good news is nothing has changed. The bad news? See good news.