Legacy films are always difficult to pick up after retiring them from so long. This is especially true for movies made in the decades of the 90s and 2000s, hard hitting films that leave an imprint in form or another. Hollywood’s dive into the past though, does not fear going back into the past though to bring into the present, especially in the ever-maddening drive for money. So tonight, another relic attempts to handle the modern times, as our resident buddy cops come out of retirement to try to bust our guts and the bad guys once more. Are you ready to Ride Or Die? I know I am as I review:
Film: Bad Boys For Life (2020)
- The Feel Of Nineties In A Modern Package
- Good Character Use
- Fast Pace
- Decent Character Development
- Balance Of Comedy With Action
- Comedy Itself
- The Chemistry Of Smith And Martin Lawrence
- Predictable For Much Of Film
- A Few Action Scenes Are Over the Top Or Too Quick
- A Few Comedic Moments Dropped Too Soon
- One Of The Main Antagonists Is Okay
If it’s a revival of a series, we need those moments we fell in love with or it’s crap, at least that’s the mindset many on the reviews state. Well good news guys, the Bad Boys are equipped with some of their old tricks and it works beautifully to restoke the flames of fun we had in the past. The banter, the comedy, a few references all take you back and anchor you to the adventure at hand. Yet, the film is not just about blowing you up with blasts to the pasts, but also working on modernizing the system and blowing off the cobwebs. Bad Boys 3 manages to rejuvenate the old as it works to pass on the franchise to a more modern audience, but never loses sight of keeping the two times balanced. The film has plenty of new characters, yet manages to keep all of them decently integrated into the plot, seldom losing someone to the background (quite a shock I know). Even more impressive is that there is decent character development for most, with the Bad Boys taking center stage, but still opening up hints for other characters to follow for later. It’s this type of storytelling I like to see and makes this film all the more impressive for being a sequel and this amount of time that has lapsed.
Still you might be wondering what else this film has in store. For first off it’s fast, the same as the two precursors, these Bad Boys continue to speed through crime without missing too many details. It works well given this is an action movie, helping amp up the coordinated scenes that have a combination of chases, gun play, and a little fist fight to go with it. Like the story, the movie also manages to evolve the action style and again show old school and new school moves that works with the theme of the movie. Those looking for comedy though are going to get their wish as well, for the laughs are trained into the scenes, with most coming off natural and seldom too forced for me. If you like the banter, it’s got the banter. You want slapstick and insults? You get the same spiteful blows that two brothers can share with each other. Want to try something new and modernize comedy? Mission accomplished on this as well. Bad Boys 3 is all about bringing these styles and mixing them together and the chemistry of Lawrence and Smith is the thing to tether everything together. Strong brotherhood, natural reactions to each other, and the practiced talent they have continues to shine through this film and really bring everything home.
Still, the movie is not shy of a few limitations for this reviewer that took away from the experience. One is that the film is predictable, a combination of trailer syndrome, foreshadowing with lines, and me seeing too many movies, these moments all predict most of the film’s surprises. A few twists manage to sneak in, but I can’t say they were my favorite and given the soap opera themes that go with it. I wish they had gone another route, but points for originality and I can’t say much more. I’ll say there were times that the action got a little too ridiculous for me, more so in that they were very choreographed stunts, or drawn out effects that took away from the fluidity. In addition, some of the fights sort of stopped quickly, and I missed the drawn-out fights that the past decades perfected long ago. The same can be said for a few comedic moments, which like the action, starts to hit its stride and then petered out too soon, though there are so many laughs in store it’s not as prominent. Finally, the movie’s antagonist, or at least one of them, is only okay. So much potential shown only to be diluted for another story development, this antagonist really could have been something more as well if they had learned to balance the two primary antagonists together. I guess given the difficulty to juggle everything, it had to take a hit, but again there are elements to cushion this blow as well. Sure there is some cursing that gets me and a few times the jokes go a little long, but the truth is that the movie manages to help make up these limitations with how much fun it is.
How can this movie live up to the legacy before it? Truth is… it really can’t, but to go so long and be this put together, I give it applause. Bad Boys For Life is a lot of fun, and full of the rush we fell in love with a long time ago. It brings the past and present together in a manner that should help rope fans in, while never losing sight of the goals and story it set forth. Good use of characters, balancing the comedy with a special effects ridden action set, and tying everything together with that champion acting leads to one of the best reboots I’ve seen in a while. Yes, it still has some balance issues that have not been perfected, primarily in getting the right time for some action moments, some comedy elements more fine tuning, and most importantly working out their bad guys a little more. Still, this is one for the theaters for me and I encourage most to pay the trip to enjoy it in surround sound. From all this my scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.5