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Review: Bad Boys For Life – “Pure, unadulterated bombastic action”

‘Bad Boys For Life’ Kicks Ass Back To 1995

Wow. In the words of Jamie Lawson, I was expecting that.

The after taste of ‘Bad Boys II’ had dumbed my expectations down so low, I didn’t expect to get very much out of ‘Bad Boys For Life’ at all. But I did. I really did. And it wasn’t just an urge to scream at everyone for going silent on some *bold* choices from Will Smith, recently. I actually think this and ‘Gemini Man’ show that he’s still very much the thinking mans action man. Even if I do spend every time watching him, wondering how he could turn Tarantino & Django, down…

The film manages to do that great sequel thing, of trying something different and I loved its bravery.

Macho men may struggle with the fact there’s plenty of scenes of both our stars reflecting. Hell, maybe even…. crying. Toxic masculinity is out the window at times, and it means you’re really invested in both leads. I’ve never been a Martin Lawrence fan, but here, he’s excellent.

Will Smith? He just oozes star power. If you thought the costume department needed a raise after ‘The Gentlemen’, wait until you get a load of these. Sensational.

I loved the new AMMO crew, too. I didn’t think I would, but all of them add their own personality. It all just gels. Sure, there are misfires, but nothings as cross as the second film. The sheer effort to try something different should be applauded.

It all adds to the ambience. ‘Bad Boys’ USP has always been Miami. And they ramp that right up, here. We even get a duplicate shot of a plane flying over the sign, which I loved.

Much like ‘Rambo: Last Blood’ & ‘Terminator: Dark Fate” nostalgia is at the heart of the film.

Throw in a great villain, or two, and you’ve got a solid action film. Far superior to anything the cash grab trailers suggested.

For those that find Bayhem too much — this is a much more assured, and less choppy version. It was directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Still way too many cuts, and you want wider angles to show off the great stunts — especially in the opening “chase”, or the “Uncharted burning building” level — but what is captured, is gorgeous. It’ll become a true 4K/8K tester disc, for sure.

Pretty much my only criticism? They don’t use P Diddy’s titular song. Which is frankly utter madness.

Finally, without sounding like my granddad…. how is this a 15?! I had the chance to go and spend the day with the BBFC, but it got cancelled and then rearranged. I couldn’t make the second date, and it haunts my dreams. I’m desperate to get inside that place and understand what “tone” actually means. Put it this way, if we’re saying 15-year-olds can go and see ‘Bad Boys For Life’ (and I’d imagine it’d be their film of the year, btw), then they’ve got to downgrade the others. Well, at least ‘Bad Boys’. ‘Bad Boys II’ from memory remains a grotesque mistake, and should never be talked about again.

To be fair, I loved the nastiness. An opening prison scene is bloody as hell, and all of the shoot outs kick. There’s a sense of weight to the bullets, even if some of the CGI squibs look a little rough around the edges.

I put a lot of that down to going for a 90’s feel. And in all honesty, they nailed that. This could’ve come out in 1996. But then, it wouldn’t be able to play on the life long friendship, and riff on the fact they’ve been together for 25 years. And although the cliched “one last ride” has been done to death, I can’t lie, I loved going along with them.

At least they’ve gone some way to atoning for it, here. Can’t wait to see it in 4K. Pure, unadulterated bombastic action. Like it’s 1995, baby.

P.S. I wish I’d thought of asking Michael Bay to be my wedding MC.

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