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Bad Boys For Life


‘…a fairly mixed bag that at least delivers bang for your buck even if it doesn’t deliver much sense…’

I’ve been struggling to park my car at work for the last week due to the Glasgow-based production of HBO Max’s Batgirl, directed by the duo of Adil and Billal, so I thought I should cast a critical eye over their previous production, the highly successful third instalment of the Bad Boys franchise. Coming out just before the pandemic started, Bad Boys For Life fairly packed them in back in 2020, and is indeed the number one film of the year at the US box office. The first Bad Boys film was hot stuff back in 1995, the second less so, and the third is a fairly mixed bag that at least delivers bang for your buck even if it doesn’t deliver much sense.

What the first Bad Boys got right was a Lethal Weapon-style mix of urban action and domestic sitcom; Mike (Will Smith) and Marcus (Martin Lawrence) are Miami super-cops who can’t help but bring their work home with them. Marcus is a hen-pecked husband, while Mike is a ladies man with a taste for fast cars and the usual macho clichés. Bad Boys For Life sees the duo on the brink of retirement; they may not shout ‘We’re getting too old for this sh*t’ but the audience might as well say it for them. Nevertheless, the Bad Boys get their guns out while the sun’s out when a Mexican witch that Mike previously impregnated seeks revenge on Mike via their son…

…needle-scratch wut? A Mexican witch? I remember a deranged commenter on the late, lamented imdb message board pitching his idea for a film that fused The Conjuring with The Fast and Furious franchises, and that film may well have looked much like Bad Boys for Life. It’s explained as a retcon that Mike was pulled out of police academy and given a first assignment as an undercover cop, during which he got too close to a mobster’s wife. ‘If you were going to f**k a witch, would you use a condom?’ Smith asks in one of the out-takes, and that’s not the only implausibility on show. Age is an issue, so Mike and Marcus take part in a high-speed chase using a motorbike and sidecar that would better suit Wallace and Gromit, and some of the green screen work is Gemini Man awful.

Dropping the n-word without much reason and happy to take part in a scenario that depicts Mexicans as supernaturally inclined drug-lords, the popularity of the stereotype-fuelled Bad Boys for Life may be a real impediment to Will Smith winning an Oscar for King Richard; his racial sensitivity seems to only work one way. Otherwise, it’s a flashy, anonymous work that apes Michael Bay, who has a cameo here, as does DJ Khaled. For some, these blandishments will be enough, although those seeking a coherent film should look elsewhere.


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  1. Not seen any of these films despite Nick Frost plugging it in Hot Fuzz but you have sold it to me with “high-speed chase using a motorbike and sidecar that would better suit Wallace and Gromit,” – I may now watch it. In other news, my Scottish family all detested A Castle for Christmas so did the charitable thing and sent them a copy of your review…

  2. Can’t believe Batgirl didn’t take into account the parking problems it would cause though no doubt ParkingMeterMan raced to the rescue. Thought this was a good blast. Not quite on target like the first buy way better than the second.

  3. never watched any of the previous installments so I don’t think there is a snowball’s chance I’ll ever be checking this one out.

    I thought you worked from home, knitting wool sweaters, errrr jumpers(?), for orphaned widows? Why do you need to drive into Glasgow and bother Batgirl to do that? She doesn’t need a jumper as I’m sure her batsuit keeps her nice and toasty.

    • My interactions with Batgirl were limited, but her trucks blocked my parking. Last day of working away from home…

          • That’s when you snitch to Batgirl that they were the ones who blew up her trucks. Then you can sit back with a glass of milk and some cookies and watch them duke it out.

              • Back in the good old days of comics, she was like a female Robin. I think they either killed her off or broke her back or legs or something because she wasn’t popular. But with all the reboots of the entire DC comic universe every 5-10 years, who knows who she is now?
                I just hope the movie isn’t any worse than WW1984 :-/

                • I thought no movie could be worse than WW84, and then I saw Eternals. When this stuff goes badly…

                  • Eternals was worse eh? Man, the comic book movie scene keeps dropping that bar lower and lower…
                    Thank goodness we have a completely unnecessary Matrix movie to save us. As well as 2 more John Wick’s.

                    • I’ve let go of my apathy about comic book movies, there are, and have always been, good ones. Maybe Keanu will save us, but he can’t do it alone. We need a hero, and that means you, Captain!

                    • I was going to try by either suing a big movie studio and getting rich or borrowing Alex’s used time machine. But apparently his time machine is only good for turning people into goo that you pour on your pancakes.

                      I’m not optimistic right now….

                    • That doesn’t sound like a time machine, that’s a liquidizer. You have to search for the hero inside yourself, the same man who goes to work in the morning, the same man who puts the bins out at night. It is, as you have always suspected, you…

                      For the next text in the Be A Hero advanced course, please send $999.99 in pre-paid iTunes vouchers to my home address.

                    • Dude, who uses iTunes any more? That is like, so 2020.
                      All the people in the know are listening to free music at Myspace now. Its like a Digital Renaissance….

                    • I typed MySpace into Netscape Navigator and nothing came up. Are you spelling it right?

                    • Are they search engines? Again, I Lycos-ed it but nothing came up…I’ll look on my floppy disc drive…

                    • You know, I bet Will Smith doesn’t have these problems like us normal guys! He probably hops on his 286, kicks on his 9600 baud rate modem and whammo, he’s cruising the Usenet bulletin boards.

                    • Well, there goes my week, officially ruined with jealousy.
                      I only WISH I had the technology to play pong on a computer screen.
                      Isn’t the future fantastic?

                    • We can play online.

                      I move my paddle upwards, hitting the dot off the ceiling and to your near left.

                      Your move.

                    • I think I played Pong Classic. Two bats, one ball. A test of skill. No loot boxes or DLC.

    • Nice! I’ll reply fully when I get home! At least it’s a proper big screen film to get you back in the swing…

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