Bad Boys for Life – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Bad Boys for Life – Action and Nostalgia, Strength of Comradery    

Returning to old franchises can be a hard sell.  Years between sequels can level out the excitement of what something once was popular.  There is always a bright spot in returning to something old, but most of the time it falls in disarray for a plethora of reasons.  From cultural norms to generational gaps, a studio takes a risk in bringing back old franchises.  With fun action, endearing characters and a lot of fun with the main leads, Bad Boys for Life proves that the old can be new again.

Two cops, Mike Lowery (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), must work together one last time to take down a threat from the past.  The outline uses the past story technique (Mike Lowery’s first assignment), to create the main plot for this sequel.  From here, the journey combines two things, modern day action and franchise nostalgia.  The blending of the two is done through seamless transition, bringing the main leads together with new characters through comedic introduction and buddy cop innuendos.  The thin plot is obvious, but the crux of the journey is main leads and their relationship.  You are witness to the growth of Lowery and Burnett’s partnership through the years, seeing how their path together is distinct and contrasting.  You have the hardnose battlement of Lowery standing as a front to Burnett’s wanting to retire and be a family man.  This brings layers to the film, creating a dynamic that is wholesome and real.  Smith and Lawrence provide the strength of the story, showcasing comradery through their whimsical banter and honest character moments.  They never feel out of place within the typical action sequences or off-the-cuff humor scenes.  These characters help centralize the plot, moving the audience forward through a common ‘bad guy revenge’ story.

As the story progresses, the revelation of the past brings strong consequences into the present.  Through all the typical action clichés and some illogical plot devices, the endearment between Lowery and Burnett shines a light upon their interactions with everyone in the film.  Side characters, even in their common action archetypes, feel real when given moments to shine on screen.  The bombastic nature is pulled back to present relationships within a modern day.  This helps provide some emotional worth, giving a balance to the one-on-one fights, car chases and procedural police/investigative techniques.  Once in the final act, everything is brought to an ultimate confrontation.  Through a combination of gritty shootouts, typical action one-liners and the comradery of Lowery and Burnett, you feel a thrill that is beyond the typical action film.  This leads to a climax of common revelations, but one that brings the strength of old and new together.  Bad Boys for Life provides proof that bringing back old franchises can be worth revisiting.  By blending the nostalgia with modern action elements, there is fun to be had.  If you’re a fan of the franchise or like action films, this is one for you.  Worth seeing at the theaters as a Matinee.

Full Score – 3.5 out of 5 (Matinee)

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