Bad Boys for Life

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Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys for Life.
Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys for Life.
Photo: NuMetro


Bad Boys for Life


DStv Now


5/5 Stars


Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are back together for one last ride. Marcus is now a police inspector and Mike is in a midlife crisis. They unite again when an Albanian mercenary, whose brother they killed, promises them an important bonus.


Bad Boys has a very special place in my heart - it was the first rated movie I ever watched, illicitly in a hotel room somewhere with my brother while my parents were out. It was also the movie that cemented my love for action films - ridiculous high-speed chases in sleek cars, cops causing havoc in the beautiful Miami and partners who would ride and die together, while still calling each other all kinds of cuss words.

It has a big nostalgic factor for me, and when they announced Bad Boys 3 was going to crash onto our cinemas, I was reservedly excited. We have all missed Will Smith’s wisecracking movies, but in the age of reboots and sequels to classics, one is always apprehensive about how well it will hold up today. But luckily the cinema gods have smiled upon this particular reboot - while it’s still early in the year to say, Bad Boys For Life could be one of my top movies of 2020.

It’s been a few years since we last our favourite destruction-cops - and they’ve grown a bit older but not necessarily wiser. A spate of crime has a personal interest for one of the Bad Boys, and they team up with a newly formed task force filled with the new generation to find whoever is responsible.

This will be a difficult review without spoiling it - this Bad Boys amazingly kept their trailers so spoiler-free that the story is a complete surprise. Incredibly well-written, playing to the particular strengths of Smith and Martin Lawrence and delivering surprisingly deep and impactful moments that will make you do a double-take on whether you’re watching the right movie. They focus a lot on their age, with as many jokes as meaningful conversations about their legacy in the world. There are enough modern nuances to place it firmly in the new 20s decade, but retains some of the glamour of 90s action movies that makes it feel like a proper Bad Boy instalment.

Another big win for the story is their women characters - the writers were clearly on a mission to write real people that are more than just their booty, and provide real substance to the plot and the two leads’ development. Two badass Mexican actresses take the centre stage - Paola Nuñez and Kate del Castillo - and the surprising appearance of Vanessa Hudgens as a bonafide action hero.

Lawrence also had a big moment - his career has been in obscurity for more than a decade, and while it’s clear he can’t pull out the action like he used to, his fast-spitting comedic brilliance reminds the world what they had been missing. Lawrence is very cleverly written outside of the fight while Smith takes most of the hits, and it just continues the traditional juxtaposition of these two friends that live in completely separate worlds yet are family by their own choice.

And we finally find out why Mike dresses like a drug dealer.

Fun, action-packed and weirdly emotional - Bad Boys For Life is a master-class in action movies where they keep it ridiculous without making it too silly, and brings a treasured classic back for one last ride - or two...


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