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  • Writer's picturePopEntertainment

Bad Boys: Ride or Die (A Movie Review)


Starring Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Paola Núñez, Eric Dane, Ioan Gruffudd, Rhea Seehorn, Jacob Scipio, Melanie Liburd, Tasha Smith, Tiffany Haddish, Joe Pantoliano, John Salley, DJ Khaled, Rhea Seehorn, Dennis Greene, Joyner Lucas, Quinn Hemphill, Lionel Messi, Brittany Price and Michael Bay.

Screenplay by Chris Bremner and Will Beall.

Directed by Adil & Bilall.

Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. 115 minutes. Rated R.

I don’t know what is harder to believe: the fact that it has been almost 30 years since they released Bad Boys, or the fact that nearly 30 years later they are still making Bad Boys movies. After all, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are no longer boys, but now well into middle age. In fact, in Bad Boys: Ride or Die, serial dater Michael (Smith) has finally found his ideal woman and settled down, and Marcus (Lawrence) has grown kids and even grandkids.

Well, I have a confession right off the bat. While I recently watched the original Bad Boys (1995), I have never seen either of the sequels Bad Boys II (2003) or Bad Boys For Life (2020). So, I was worried perhaps going into Bad Boys: Ride or Die, I would miss some of the subtle nuances and complexities of the storyline and get completely lost.

Oh, who am I kidding? Even though I have missed two chapters, I think I can pretty safely say there was never anything subtle or complex about this franchise. After all, the first two films were directed by Michael Bay, ferchrissake. 

And you know what? That’s okay. Not every film has to be important, or thought-provoking, or meaningful. Sometimes it’s enough just to have some dumb laughs or some wild action sequences.

On this level, Bad Boys: Ride or Die is surprisingly engaging. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say this sequel was probably more enjoyable than the original film – looser, more familiar and lighter on its feet. And I just watched the original in the weekend leading up to this screening, so it’s not just a mirage of passing time.

Because Bad Boys: Ride or Die is not just about the dumb, violent mayhem – although that is there, too. – but it is about the two characters coming to terms with time. And these characters, while always funny, look good with a little age on them.

Ride or Die revolves around the death of the cops’ captain (Joe Pantoliano – who appears here in flashbacks and videos). The cap is being framed for being corrupt and Mike and Marcus want to prove his innocence. Of course, they do it in the most gunfight-happy way possible. However, the film never forgets the humor and the characters are given a lot more nuance – if not exactly depth – than in the original.

Ride or Die has a quirky sense of humor, with lots of fun Easter eggs – like a scene where the boys have an awkward conversation with some white nationalists about singer Reba McEntire, which is immediately followed up by a musical cue of McEntire doing a country take on the ubiquitous Inner Circle “Bad Boys” song. Also, they had original series director Michael Bay do a brief cameo as a guy in an expensive sports car who just barely avoids getting into a deadly car crash, which is definitely going against brand for the crash-happy filmmaker.

It is rare that the fourth chapter of a franchise would turn out to be the best – and in fairness I can’t say how good the two middle chapters are – but it seems like that may very well be the case here.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2024 All rights reserved. Posted: June 6, 2024.


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