REVIEW: Bad Boys sequel brings thrills and purpose

There’s perhaps nothing more infuriating for fans than an unnecessary sequel to films they absolutely loved. In Bad Boys and its sequel, released in 1995 and 2003 respectively, we were introduced to characters we loved.

But 16 years on, it’s actually threequel Bad Boys For Life that brings nuance to these characters. We learned long ago that ‘ride together & die together’ best friends Mike and Marcus are swift-talking, shoot-first Miami detectives.

As people around Mike and Marcus begin to die in gang-style shootings, the two team up with A.M.M.O., a new tactical police unit, to stop the murders of judges, informants, lawyers and law enforcement.

On surface level, the plot seems scarce. But at its core, this film is thematically more mature, and the stakes are measurably higher. With more twists than ever before, this isn’t your regular, pot-boiler action tilt. There are consequences to this film and actions that can’t be undone.

Noticeably absent from the director’s chair is original helmer Michael Bay, and Adil El Arbi and Biall Fallah swap in both their own unique styles and significantly less bombastic explosions and close-up bikini shots.

The characters may have been born in a Bay movie, but it’s nice to see the franchise grow and evolve in steadier hands. With a cast that includes High School Musical vet Vanessa Hudgens, Riverdale alum Charles Melton, Paola Nunez, Alexander Ludwig, and the fantastic Joe Pantoliano back as Captain Howard, this is a really wonderful ensemble.

Bad Boys For Life is a must-see for fans of the originals, and represents a piece of storytelling and gravitas I didn’t think possible from the franchise at this point. Let me be the first to say Will Smith and Martin Lawrence still have the same chemistry, and this is a pairing you just have to enjoy again.

4.5/5 Stars

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