Fallah and Arbi carry on the “Bad Boys” legacy


Columbia Pictures

Teju Anand, Claire Zhang, and Oce Bohra

Directors Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi continue Michael Bay’s “Bad Boys” legacy in the third installment, “Bad Boys for Life,” almost a decade later. The action-comedy film was released on Jan. 17 and has raked in nearly $300 million, becoming the highest-grossing movie in the series.

The movie begins when Miami detective Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), celebrating the birth of his first grandchild, confides in his partner Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) that he intends to retire. At the same time, Isabel Aretas (Kate del Castillo), the co-head of the Aretas cartel, escapes prison with the assistance of her son Armando (Jacob Scipio).

Mike, part of the group that shut down the cartel, is shot in retaliation, and as he slowly recovers, the rest of the group is assassinated. While Marcus pledges to never turn to violence, Mike is determined to catch the assassin. Despite orders from higher-ups, he unites with AMMO — a tech-driven cop squad headed by his ex-girlfriend Rita (Paola Nunez) — to get revenge, a quest that takes him deep into his past. 

“Bad Boys For Life” is a blast from the past with a twist. While using the classic action-comedy formulas of the earlier movies in the series, it isn’t solely lighthearted. The slapstick comedy of “Bad Boys” I and II are mixed with a telenovela-esque plotline, allowing the movie to be emotional and funny without being draining and vapid. The acting is a breath of fresh air — even after 17 years, Smith and Lawrence embody their characters better than ever before. The former largely carries the movie, while the latter accompanies him during significant scenes.

Mike and Marcus had always been “bad boy” cops. In previous movies, they didn’t follow the rules, and they found answers through unnecessarily violent tactics. The two partners in crime cruised the roads in flashy sports cars unbefitting of their age. However, in this movie, they gradually turn into responsible, family men, Marcus sooner than Mike. 

Bilall and Arbi do an incredible job making the movie enjoyable, despite all of its predictable scenes. The film is well-executed so that the audience understands and enjoys it to their fullest, even with previous movie references here and there. Overall, “Bad Boys for Life” is a great movie to watch with friends.