By David Lee Zamora
Special to the Parade
Bad Boys for Life is the third installment in the long thought retired Bad Boys franchise, with the last film Bad Boys II releasing on July 18, 2003, and the first Bad Boys in April 7, 1995. The film stars Will Smith as the bulletproof cop detective Mike Lowrey, and Martin Lawrence as the always-on-the-verge of retirement detective Marcus Burnett.
Unlike the first two films that were directed by Michael Bay, Bad Boys for Life was directed by Adilel Arbi and Bilall Fallah. The film takes place seventeen years after Bad Boys II, with Marcus becoming a grandfather and Mike still living the playboy lifestyle. Meanwhile, in Mexico, Isabel Aretas a.k.a. “La Bruja,” played by Kate Del Castillo, is escaping prison with the help of her son the ruthless killer Armando Armas, played by Jacob Scipio. With Isabel’s new freedom, her first task for her son is to hunt and kill all the people responsible for bringing down her and her husband’s cartel, with the main target being Mike, who at the time was an undercover cop in the cartel. With these ruthless killers on the loose and slowly building back up their drug and crime empire in Miami, the Bad Boys must face their hardest challenge yet.
For those who got worried when you read that this was the third installment to the franchise, don’t be. The film does a great job introducing all of the characters, including the four returning characters from the previous two films, Will, Martin, Joe Pantoliano (Captain Howard) and Theresa Randle (Theresa Burnett) managed to spend the first half of the film explaining the main characters history and relationships in a very subtle way. This is done through dialog, when Martin and Will are in a wacky situation, they throw funny, yet insightful, jabs at each other, not exactly referencing the last two films, but more letting both the newcomers to the franchise and veterans know what’s been going on in the last seventeen years.
The film’s action has become a little bit more unrealistic with the introduction of technology advance cartel members driving down the street in their motorcycles with sidecar attached light machine guns and their leader’s mother being a witch. This doesn’t detract from the film though: it actually adds to the film, by giving Martin more stuff to make fun of. With that being said, this film still has that great chemistry between Will and Martin, leading to some incredible funny banter between them and with the other characters in the film.
Bad Boys for Life feels like a true passion project. In many ways, the film outshines the first two movies, by putting everything that made them great together to make a funny, action-packed buddy cop film.