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J.C. Reviews: Bad Boys: Ride or Die is a Wild Ride—of a Third Act!

J.C. Reviews: Bad Boys: Ride or Die is a Wild Ride—of a Third Act!

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by James Coulter

Did you know Bad Boys was a film franchise with three previous films? I didn’t. Or at least I didn’t going into this movie. Really shows how much I know—or rather, don’t know!

Yeah, turns out the first Bad Boys movie premiered nearly 30 years ago in 1995. That makes sense since that was the height of Will Smith’s success. The dude had previously starred as the main character of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and next year in 1996 would have him star in his other big performance in Independence Day.

So, nearly 30 years later, and following the middling reception of the third movie—wait, that film came out in 2020?!?—does Will Smith still have the same charm and charisma in this fourth installment? Or will the only other notable thing he’s known for this decade be slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars?

The fourth installment of Bad Boys sees Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return as the iconic buddy cop duo Detective Mike and Marcus. Both of them seem ready to settle down after their nearly 30-year-long career, what with Mike marrying the love of his life, Marcus recently suffering cardiac arrest requiring him to take it easy, and their leader Captain Howard having passed away after being gunned down in the line of duty in the last film.

However, their plans seem to take a wild turn after their late captain is implicated in a money-funneling scheme by a drug cartel. Now, Mike needs the help of his illegitimate son, convict Armando Aretas, to clear the good captain’s name and find the culprit responsible. Will Mike and Marcus be able to come out of retirement one last time to hunt down the suspect? And will the final confrontation include a spectacular fight scene with everything but the kitchen sink? (The obvious answer is yes and hell yes!)

As I mentioned before, this is the one and only Bad Boys movie I’ve ever seen. I haven’t watched the previous three movies. So, I’ll have to judge this one strictly on its own merits.

So, how was it?

Well, the third act was pretty cool!

Undoubtedly, one of the movie’s biggest positives is its main actor, Will Smith. Because he’s Will Smith! The dude has never had a bad performance, only bad roles in bad movies. No, I mean it! Even in his worst films, he still manages to give his A-game to the role he’s playing. And even at the ripe age of 55, he still has the charm and charisma he had playing the titular Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And that’s still true in this film. He’s witty. He’s charming. And he’s too cool for school.

Martin Lawrence does an excellent job serving as Will Smith’s comedic foil. That much is proven in the very first scene where the two are bickering in the car on the way to Mike’s wedding where they have to unwittingly stop a heist at a gas station, all while the two bicker over the food Marcus wants at the convenience store.

I mean it when I say Martin Lawrence saves the film for me. He’s the perfect comedic relief that helps relieve the overall tension in the movie. Early on, he survives a heart attack which gives him a fresh perspective on life and makes him believe he’s invincible. He attempts to prove it by walking in the middle of heavy traffic while his partner protests.

Perhaps the funniest moment (for me, at least) was during a fight scene in a nightclub. During the battle, the snack bar gets wrecked, knocking over candy bowls and leaking fruit punch. Marcus, who had been ordered by his doctor to avoid sweets, cannot help but indulge himself amid this candy shower, putting him on a sugar high that allows him to take out his opponents.

But bar none, the best moment in the movie is the third act. Gonna be honest, I was nearly snoozing most of this film, but the final battle served as a much-needed wake-up call. Because—Holy Turpentine, Batman!—was this fight scene epic! Explosions. Machine guns. Grenade-dropping drones. And alligators. Freaking alligators. Because Florida. But perhaps the most impressive effect involved the scene cutting to first-person perspective almost like a first-person shooter. As I said, this scene had everything but the kitchen sink.

Overall, as someone who had not seen the previous three Bad Boys films, the fourth installment proved to be a decent buddy cop action-adventure thriller with plenty of comedic banter and snark from the two main characters. If you were a fan of the Bad Boys movies but were put off by the middling reception of the third movie, go watch this. Hopefully, it’ll remind you why you loved these movies.

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Staff Reporter

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