Bad Boys For Life is the latest action film to reunite Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reprising their roles as Miami detectives Mike Lowry and Marcus Burnett. There has been change behind the scenes with two directors named Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah instead of Michael Bay. It also took three people to come up with the screenplay. Chris Bremner, Peter Craig, and Joe Carnahan are the scribes of this latest caper for Lowry and Burnett. Joe Pantoliano returns as Captain Howard. Vanessa Hudgens, Paola Nunez, and Alexander Ludwig are included in the cast with Kate del Castillo and Jacob Scipio playing the cartel leaders who launch a mysterious vendetta against Lowry.
This is a likable enough film with some rough spots in the plotting. Smith and Lawrence have lost none of their chemistry. There are some pretty entertaining gags regarding their age. Burnett is a newly minted grandfather while Lowry is still the sharply dressed bachelor playboy with some notoriety in Miami. Lowry is gunned down near the beginning of the film and is understandably curious as to which of his many enemies has such an objection to his continued existence. Burnett has decided to retire and needs convincing to join the hunt. Another tragedy motivates him to get back into the fray, and it’s a tough one.
I rather liked the exploration of how getting older affects the two leads. The bantering and bickering between Lowry and Burnett is written pretty sharply as well as the rivalry with the younger colleagues with whom they end up being allied.
Not everything was all that well thought out, but the charisma and chemistry displayed by Smith and Lawrence goes a long way to making some of the wobbly moments a bit more forgivable. There is a surprising motivation behind the vendetta against Lowry. Some of the revelations were a little bit hard to swallow, however the movie as a whole was still entertaining.
The fight scenes were pretty well executed. The chase scenes were pretty thrilling. Pretty much all of the action sequences were well done.
There were some surprising moments of emotional connection between some of the characters. There is an interesting moment between the captain and Lowry where the question of what Lowry really wants in his life comes into play.
Not all of the jokes landed perfectly, but there were enough that did land solidly enough to make this an enjoyable viewing.
It felt strangely right to have Lowry and Burnett back on the big screen. As long as one can somewhat embrace the ridiculousness of this film, it turns out to be a pretty fun movie. It did kind of leave wanting to see these guys together again.