‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’ Review: Smith and Lawrence Entertain with More of the Same

‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’ Review: Smith and Lawrence Entertain with More of the Same

Photo courtesy and © Sony Pictures 

Four years ago, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reunited for their third go-round as Lt.  Mike Lowery and Lt. Marcus Burnett, the Miami police detectives first introduced back in Michael Bay’s 1995 buddy comedy classic, Bad Boys. Due to COVID shutting down movie theaters, that 2020 three-quel, Bad Boys for Life, ended up becoming the highest grossing movie that year.

Now they’re back for Bad Boys: Ride or Die, once again directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who last directed a Batgirl movie that may never see the light of day. Although this reunion never tries to reinvent the wheel for the action genre or the franchise, it’s immediately obvious why people enjoy the teaming of Smith and Lawrence so much.

Ride or Die is a direct continuation from Bad Boys for Life, as we join the long-time partners with Mike Lowery getting married to his physical therapist (Melanie Liburd). When Marcus has a heart attack at the wedding, it leads to an epiphany about his life – very similar to the one he had in the last movie, where he planned on retiring. It’s not long before we’re into the main plot, which involves corruption in the Miami police force, going back to when Joe Patoliano’s Captain Howard was still alive. In fact, Howard is being framed by someone who does the same with Lowery and Burnett, sending them on the run, along with Jacob Scipio’s Armando, the primary baddie from Bad Boys for Life (and Mike’s son), who is the only one who knows who called for the murder of Mike and Marcus’ boss in the previous film.

Bad Boys

Photo courtesy and © Sony Pictures 

These movies have generally been rather formulaic, always involving the cartel to some capacity, and even featuring some of the same sequences, like the obligatory opening of Mike freaking Marcus out with his insanely speedy driving. Even so, Lawrence continues to be absolutely hilarious, and he and Smith tend to have such a great on-screen rapport, that it’s immediately obvious why they keep making these movies together, and why people want to keep seeing them.

Eric Dane makes a great villain, even having his headquarters in a gator park, which leads to some fun bits in the last act. Returning from the previous movie is Paola Núñez as now Captain Rita Secada, as well as Vanessa Hudgens and Alexander Ludwig as the young AMMO team introduced in Bad Boys for Life, who return to help Mike and Marcus. Even Marcus’ son-in-law Reggie (Dennis Greene) gets involved in the action this time around, as Dane’s bad guy threatens our heroes’ families. Otherwise, there are a lot of characters in the movie, some might say too many, but it isn’t too hard to figure out who is good and who is bad, so any supposed twists end up being predictable. In some ways, Rhea Seehorn from Better Call Saul is wasted as Captain Howard’s U.S. Marshall daughter, Judy.

Bad Boys 2

Photo courtesy and © Sony Pictures 

Adill and Billal are solid action filmmakers, whose kinetic camerawork makes one think they play a lot of video games and are trying to create visuals that would appeal to other gamers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but anyone thinking you can’t have a “Bad Boys” movie without Michael Bay need not worry. The action scenes frequently makes up for any weaker writing or storytelling with some genuinely “wow!” moments throughout.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die finds fun new ways to play with the franchise formula, so that anyone who enjoyed the previous installment (which was better than Bay’s Bad Boys II in this writer’s opinion) should enjoy seeing that story continue with another interesting turn for these beloved characters. Whether we ever get to see more of Lowery and Burnett will probably rely just as much on people going to see this in theaters, but it’s a fast-paced and entertaining use of two-hours that shouldn’t disappoint the fans.

Grade: B

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You can watch the trailer for Bad Boys: Ride or Die below: 

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