Friday, June 14, 2024

Review: "BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE" is the Best Buddy Cop Action-Comedy in Decades

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 25 of 2024 (No. 1969) by Leroy Douresseaux

Bad Boys: Ride or Die (2024)
Running time:  115 minutes (1 hour, 55 minutes)
MPA – R for strong violence, language throughout and some sexual references
DIRECTORS:  Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah
WRITERS:  Chris Bremner and Will Beall (based on characters created by George Gallo)
PRODUCERS:  Doug Belgrad, Jerry Bruckheimer, Chad Oman, and Will Smith
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Robrecht Heyvaert (D.o.P.)
EDITORS: Dan Lebental and Asaf Eisenberg
COMPOSER:  Lorne Balfe


Starring:  Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Paola Núñez, Alexander Ludwig, Jacob Scipio, Eric Dane, Ioan Gruffudd, Melanie Liburd, Rhea Seehorn, Tiffany Haddish, John Salley, Quinn Hemphill, Dennis Mcdonald, Tasha Smith and Joe Pantoliano


Bad Boys: Ride or Die is the best entry in the series to date

The comic timing and humor of Martin Lawrence as Marcus Burnett is unleashed in his best work of comedy in ages. Lawrence gives this movie so much energy, and he kept the audience where I saw this film laughing almost the entire time.

Will Smith as Mike Lowrey is a solid action-movie hero. Smith, who is also quite funny in this film, makes sure that Bad Boys is truly an explosive, violent action flick.

I unequivocally recommend this film to fans of the “Bad Boys” series and to fans of both Smith and Lawrence.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die is a 2024 American action, crime, and buddy cop film directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, better known as “Adil & Bilall.”  It is the fourth entry in the Bad Boys film series, which began with 1995's Bad Boys, and it is a sequel to Bad Boys for Life (2020).  In Bad Boys: Ride or Die, Detectives Lowrey and Burnett, the “Bad Boys,” have to take on their own department and a group of professional killers in order to clear their late captain's name.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die opens four years after the event depicted in Bad Boys for Life, Detective Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) marries his physical therapist, Christine (Melanie Liburd).  However, at the reception, Detective Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) suffers a serious medical emergency, but worse is to come.

The FBI claims it has discovered a paper trail which proves that the late Captain Conrad Howard (Joe Pantoliano) was tied to drug cartels.  Determined to stop the posthumous tarnishing of Capt. Howard, Mike and Marcus discover that Mike's imprisoned son, Armando Aretas (Jacob Scipio), has information that might help their case.  Eventually, Mike, Marcus, and Armando must join forces with new Miami PD Captain Rita Secada (Paola Núñez) and the remains of her “AMMO” (Advance Miami Metro Operations) unit – Kelly (Vanessa Hudgens) and Dorn (Alexander Ludwig).  In order to clear Capt. Howard's name, however, Mike and Marcus' crew will have to take on a vicious killer, James McGrath (Eric Dane), and his secret mole inside the Miami PD.

I'd seen Bad Boys (1995) and Bad Boys II (2003), so I had to see Bad Boys for Life in preparation for Bad Boys: Ride or Die.  It is a good idea to see the 2020 film because quite a bit of its plot and many of its character carry over into the new film.  Being somewhat familiar with the Bad Boys film franchise will make the already enjoyable Bad Boys: Ride or Die even more enjoyable.

I think the thing that makes Bad Boys: Ride or Die such a joy to watch is that the team of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence seems to be re-energized.  In Bad Boys for Life, Lawrence looked a bit bloated and slow, but here in Ride or Die, he has recovered his comedy mojo.  Now, we get a Martin Lawrence that is like the Marty-Mar who was at the height of his powers in the 1990s.  He kept me and the audience with which I saw Ride or Die last night in stitches.  Lawrence was a constant barrage of comedy one-liners and comic riffs, and none of them seemed contrived.  I'm happy for him because Lawrence has not been this good in well over a decade.

Will Smith's notorious slap has apparently not delivered a knock out to his talents as a film actor and movie star.  I can't speak for the rest of y'all, dear readers, by I ain't canceling Will over that.  Smith is most solid as an action movie hero in the Bad Boys franchise, and he is at his best here.  Smith is quite funny himself, but as a gun-totting, pop-capping deliverer of justice and vengeance, Smith is as good as any other movie star.  In Bad Boys: Ride or Die, Will Smith is as sturdy and as robust as Bruce Willis was in Die Hard and in its best sequels.  As of right now, Smith is the king of action cinema.

Now, I won't act as if Bad Boys: Ride or Die is without problems.  The plot strains credulity; honestly, it us obvious that Capt. Howard is being framed, but in order for the narrative to work, the audience has to act as if such a scenario as this would happen.  Still, the directorial team of Adil & Bilall have made magic with their two entries in the Bad Boy series, and have delivered a new film that should thrill audiences throughout the summer movie season.  Bad Boys: Ride or Die even has a cameo by the series' original director, Michael Bay.

8 of 10
★★★★ out of 4 stars

Friday, June 14, 2024

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