No Concessions: Great fun and heart in “Bad Boys” reunion

Courtesy of Hollywood Reporter

Another rebooted franchise launched over the weekend in the buddy cop action trilogy Bad Boys For Life. The third installment – some 20 years from the initial film – reunited Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s Mike and Marcus. Two cops reaching a crossroads in their careers and lives. Their chemistry didn’t seem to miss a beat as these comedy film legends sought to bring crime down one last time.

Directors Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi find forever bachelor Mike and grandfather Marcus seeing different paths in their lives. Smith’s Mike vows no end to his crook-chasing days, while Lawrence’s Marcus is ready to retire. This riff divides the two until a target is placed on Mike’s life. The threat rearranges perspectives on work, life and family.

If you’re familiar with the previous entries, then you will love this film. It maintains it’s action-packed sequences, to the point of feeling surreal. One tense scene finds villains being propelled with shattered glass as if this was a FOX mutant film.

Courtesy of Salem News

Paired with the action is the comedy. Lawrence and Smith are in sync. And they are boosted by a capable supporting cast of Joe Pantoliano and Charles Melton. And speaking of the younger officer angle, they didn’t prolong the boomer/millennial discourse. Which worked because it could have gone very stale if overused.

Lastly – and what surprised me most – was the heart at the center of the narrative. The movie takes into account our stars’ ages and partners them with age-appropriate problems. The struggle of deciding when it’s time to walk away from the only career you’ve known – not because you aren’t good anymore – but simply because there’s more important things in life. It also speaks to how friends grow and change within their relationship.

One minor issue was probably the ending sequence. A little far-fetched in theory, but you just go with, like the rest of the film. Bad Boys For Life is a surprise hit in the crowded reboot room. And news has hit the story continues with Bad Boys 4 in the works.

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