Bad Boys for Life Is So Ridiculous and That’s Not Necessarily a Bad Thing

Bad Boys For Life (2020)
Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing

Bad boys, bad boys, what ya gonna do, what ya gonna do when old age comes for you?

Per the film’s official website:

The Bad Boys Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) are back together for one last ride in the highly anticipated Bad Boys for Life.

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“Our whole lives we’ve been Bad Boys. Now it’s time to be good men,” Burnett muses, thrusting the audience into accepting what we all know: It’s time for the Bad Boys to evolve. Naturally, Smith and Lawrence flawlessly fall back into their mastered buddy comedy chemistry 17 years later, with an Odd Couple dynamic—Mike is still set in his ways as the non-committal “Bulletproof Mike” and Marcus has eyes on retiring and settling down with his family (and some much-needed sex with his wife).

Director duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah take over for Michael Bay and take the audience to peak Miami, filled with girls (girls girls!), money, popped bottles, and flashy cars.

If I had to come up with one word to summarize Bad Boys for Life, I would use “ridiculous.” And if you know anything about this franchise, that’s a good thing. It’s the best thing. The more ridiculous, the better. In fact, here are the levels of ridiculous:

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The villain is ridiculously hot. 

I start with this because it was completely distracting for me—again, not that this is a bad thing. Let me just say straight out—Jacob Scipio is hot as fuck. Scipio portrays an expert sniper with a specific vendetta against Lowrey, and whew, the testosterone is seeping from that motherfucker.

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Okay, let me splash some cold water onto my face before I move onto the next point...

The nostalgia factor is ridiculously endearing. 

It’s a family reunion! Though we’re introduced to a new crew portrayed by Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig (also hot) and Charles Melton, the nostalgia is very real with notable appearances by Joe Pantoliano, Theresa Randle and Bianca Bethune. Plus, the biggest laugh of the film for me (seriously, I howled) comes in the form of a familiar side character. Four words: “Motherfucker, you look 30.” And there’s a moment that raises the stakes so high, fans will be left heartbreakingly angry and ready for revenge.

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The action is so ridiculous and some of it involves DJ Khaled (thus, next-level ridiculousness is expected). 

There are clear Fast & Furious dynamics at play here (in the duo’s The Breakfast Club interview, Smith left the possibility open for another film, which means they totally fucked up the opportunity to use “Bad Boys 4 Life” as the title) with the type of over-the-top action sequences that glues popcorn audiences to their seats. It’s a wildly fun ride, as long as you don’t take yourself too seriously. Because this film certainly doesn’t. It’s simply here to entertain, and for fans of the franchise, you will get just that satisfaction.

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And I’ve already mentioned how peak Miami this is—enter DJ Khaled. Let’s just say one of the most ridiculous sequences involves some pork shoulder and a well-tailored suit. Overall, the audience is definitely in for a lot of slow-motion action shots that show off just how much Adil and Bilall are willing to stretch your ability to suspend disbelief.

Lastly, the nostalgic payoff is even sweeter since Bad Boys is Bay’s first film (1995). It’s when Michael Bay became Michael Bay. So, if you’re a Bay fan and are missing his presence in this part of the trilogy, you’re in for a sweet surprise. This part of (what is now) the trilogy is likely not the best of the series, but it is satisfying and will leave you wanting to revisit the saga for a whole movie-watching marathon.

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Bad Boys for Life takes its “one last ride” in theaters Jan. 17.

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About the author

Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.