Bad Boys Forever – Film Review
by G. O’Byrne
Directors: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah
Writers: Chris Bremner (screenplay), Peter Craig (screenplay)
Stars: Will Smith, Alexander Ludwig, Vanessa Hudgens
The boys are back! From the original Bad Boys (1995), to the Bad Boys II (2003) and now Bad Boys for Life (2020) the familiar duo of stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as two detectives in the Miami Police Department, Michael “Mike” Lowrey and Marcus Burnett take to the screen again in what surely must be the finale of their partnership in this franchise.
Twenty five years on from their first outing together, having aged in tandem with the actors that play them, that age is starting to show but with no shortage of self-deprecating humour and wisecracks and as sharp as ever, this is a feel good romp on familiar territory. Miami is sunny, the Latino music is pounding but the boys face an unwelcome resurgence of violence connected with events of long ago.
This film will not challenge intellectually or artistically (hey, did any of the previous two do so?) but almost from the word go, it is a loud feisty action-packed caper with plenty of humour, large dollops of gratuitous violence, oodles of bad language, energetic car and motorcycle chases and in the end the bad guys get killed and good triumphs again.
Not without a few twists though, one of the characters is not who they think they are and performs a remarkable if slightly implausible volte-face of character near the end which also lines up a possible next outing of the franchise with a slight change of line-up.
There are many strong female roles in the film, both good and bad in character, just as able to dish out the wisecracks and violence as their more traditional male counterparts. A host of up and coming young actors feature, including Vanessa Hudgens, Jacob Scipio, Charles Melton and Alexander Ludwig who some might recognise as the character of Björn Ironside from the popular TV series Vikings. Joe Pantoliano reprises his role as Captain Howard and Theresa E. Randle as Theresa Burnett, Marcus’s wife. There is plenty of intergenerational humour reflecting the age of our two leads versus the new kids on the block who reply more on hi-tech solutions than on “old-school” police methods.
But in the end it is the pairing of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence which makes this film so easy to enjoy, the characters have a familiarity and a screen chemistry which carries the action.