Wesley Joyce, Contributing Writer
This January, I walked into the theater to see yet another movie possibly filled with broken promises and wasted opportunity. It’s safe to say, I had pretty low expectations for “Bad Boys for Life.” Luckily for me, I walked out of the theater feeling satisfied, despite the film’s glaring issues with creative differences compared to its predecessors.
Seventeen years after the first installment of “Bad Boys,” Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back together and their on-screen chemistry alone is enough to carry the film. Martin Lawrence specifically doesn’t get as much praise compared to his co-star Will Smith outside of this series, especially having been retired before returning for his role in “Bad Boys.” It’s refreshing and a little shocking to see how funny he still is, and his comedic timing is especially noteworthy. Actor Vanessa Hudgens also makes a surprise appearance and makes a fine addition to the cast.
One of the questions I had coming into the theater was how, after seventeen years, this movie could ever live up to the expectations of “Bad Boys” and its sequel. I quickly found out that the answer simply is: it can’t. While the film itself is entertaining, it definitely loses some of the flavors that it had previously. This is due to many of the returning characters’ being in their 50’s instead of their mid-to-late 20’s from the first Bad Boys film.
The film also has creative differences from the first two films, most notably in how it was shot and edited, due to Michael Bay no longer directing the franchise. I was surprised by how much the characters seemed to age like the actors portraying them. Lawrence and Smith’s characters seemed a bit more mature, but just as hilarious as they were 17 years ago. I was afraid of watching a movie with a bunch of immature middle-aged men trying to act like the naive bad boy cops they were 20 years ago, but luckily, the filmmakers were smart enough to avoid that.
While the dynamic duo that leads the films are spectacular comedians, I’d be lying if I said the humor wasn’t hit or miss at times. When the jokes work in this film, they are hilarious, but when they fall flat, it can feel awkward and forced. The plot is odd and doesn’t make sense, while the ending gets compromised by some peculiar decisions in the script. “Bad Boys for Life” attempts to differentiate itself from other action flicks but coincidentally, the choices the filmmakers make only solidifies itself as another generic action movie.
The film is accompanied by certain plot holes that needed addressing, too much action instead of comedy, and hinting at another film that no one is really asking for. “Bad Boys for Life” isn’t the best film ever, nor does it deserve to be released in the dumping grounds of January films that seem to deservingly fail. This action-comedy is a fair, entertaining and enjoyable flick and if you’re a fan of the franchise you should give it some love.