by Adam Riske
After ruminating about Bad Boys for Life, I keep asking myself: what is the Bad Boys franchise? It’s certainly a retread of Lethal Weapon (family-man cop partnered with a loose cannon), but otherwise the tone and style of each film is so varied. The original is satisfying ‘90s action/Three’s Company cheese. The 2003 sequel is the most mean-spirited action follow-up since Robocop 2 but with top-flight car chases & explosions. This latest is a 180 degree turn from Bad Boys II, with the sentimentality of a Fast & Furious movie (or Lethal Weapon 4) mixed with the new-class desperation vibes of The Expendables 3. I’ll say this: I give the people behind Bad Boys for Life credit for not only trying something different, but clearly caring about the movie they’re making. From the lead performances to the fan-service choices by the directors (Adil El Arbi & Billal Fallah), this entry feels borne out of affection instead of cynicism. It’s also the type of movie Bad Boys II would bully mercilessly on a playground.
Independence Day: Resurgence and Men in Black: International, so perhaps that was indication Bad Boys for Life was a better project all along.