The Screen Room
Belated Sequels: Bad Boys for Life (2020)
I’ve had a bit of a break from Belated Sequels but it’s back! And this week we’re looking at a sequel that (for me at least) more than lived up expectations.
Bad Boys for Life (2020)
Previous Instalments: Bad Boys (1995) and Bad Boys II (2003)
Time since last instalment: 17 years.
Bad Boys hit screens back in 1995. It was Will Smith’s first outing in a lead role on the big screen after finding success with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and it turned the TV star into a movie star!
There were actually a fair few years between Bad Boys and the second movie (8 to be exact), but the third instalment, although talked about and teased for years took a little longer to reach us.
It was first confirmed as being in development way back in 2011 but for various reasons kept getting delayed. By 2017 it looked like the movie wasn’t going to happen after all but all the stars aligned and Bad Boys for Life hit theatres on January 17th 2020 to “mostly favourable reviews”.
This is the first film in the franchise not to be directed by Michael Bay but he does show up in a cameo early on in the film and even directed the scene himself (more on that in a bit...)
As much as I like these movies I’m not a hardcore Bad Boys fan like some. I like Will Smith of course and Martin Lawrence is funny, especially in these movies. I also like the previous two films but I’m more of a Lethal Weapon guy when it comes to buddy cop movies.
I’ve also always preferred Bad Boys II to Bad Boys but that’s just me.
That said, Bad Boys for Life was the last film I went to see at the cinema before Covid hit and I loved it!
What I like about this movie, is unlike a lot of other belated sequels where the filmmakers think it’s enough to just get the original cast back together, this film has a decent story. It also brings things up to date, takes the main character’s ages into account and introduces some new blood who compliment the story without it feeling like a forced attempt at appealing to a younger audience (even though I imagine that’s what they were doing).
The chemistry between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence is just as good as in the previous films and the movie offers up some good laughs (particularly when a body falls onto Lawrence’s character’s car, and the moments that follow). Aside from the comedy this film has a darker tone than the previous two but it still keeps that classic “Bad Boys feel”.
As much as I like this film there are a couple of things that still bother me about the story (the finale in particular). Like when the film’s antagonist, Armando Aretas (Jacob Scipio) who is revealed to be Will Smith’s character’s son, realises the guy he’s been trying to kill for the entire movie is in fact his father. He eventually does a full 180 and seemingly puts all of his loyalty for his mother (who’s been pulling the strings the whole time) aside and redeems himself by helping the good guys.
It should be noted that he cold bloodedly guns down a number of people through the course of the movie, the most shocking of which are Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano) and Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) himself. This all conveniently gets forgiven in the final moments of the film which is about the only thing that still doesn’t quite sit right with me.
Still, the film as a whole is so entertaining that like so many other movies, I’m happy to forgive a few questionable moments here and there.
A particularly nice touch is the wedding of Marcus’s (Martin Lawrence) daughter Megan and her fiancé Reggie who is brought back after his hilarious introduction in Bad Boys II. This is actually the scene that Michael Bay cameos in and one he even directed (watch out for the guy who announces Mike Lowrey and even the tell-tale 360 degree panning of the camera during the scene).
It’s the little things that make an impression on me.
All in all this is a really good movie that gives you exactly what you want from a Bad Boys film.
It’s also another example of how a sequel to a film made years previous can still deliver.
In my opinion this one was definitely worth the wait.
Seen it? What do you think?👇