Bad Boys for Life



When a certain formula works, you stick with it, trying to shape it gently so that it is sufficiently interesting for the already-convinced fan, yet not too far afield that it diminishes that already-established fanbase. Along the way, you hope to gather new fans. The buddy-cop action-comedy scenario is a good basis to try that formula, just look at the Lethal Weapon franchise that stretched a dozen years across four films.

Hence, it is no surprise that the creative team behind the earlier Bad Boys and Bad Boys II films decided to round up the usual suspects and have a go at making it a trilogy.

Back are Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, looking not too worse for wear.  Detectives Mike and Marcus poke around a series of murders, while cracking jokes, driving fast, cocking guns and dodging explosions. Lots of explosions. The streets of Miami make for great eye candy as the nattily-attired plain clothed cops suss out who’s who and what’s what.

The evening scenes along (and on) South Beach are drenched with evocative neon, and often are the cool sunglasses reflecting the action at hand.

The Belgian duo of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah ably direct the proceedings, with some flagging of the action in the middle third.

The jokes occasionally fall flat, but the action sequences are generally crisp. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer rewards us with extra dollops of motorcycles and helicopters. The supporting cast is generally solid, with Joe Pantoliano being especially well-cast.

If you saw either of the prior two chapters in the trilogy, you know what you will see here. If you liked the prior two chapters, you will be all over this installment.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.