Bad Boys For Life (2020)

Wrapping up our Bad Boys Week, hopefully for good :

The third installment in the Bad Boys franchise delivered 25 years after we were first introduced to Mike and Marcus.

Going into this one my expectations are low. It’s not that the first 2 films didn’t deliver but there has been a significant amount of time since we last saw these characters – 17 years to be exact. Apprehensive maybe?

In usual BB style the audience are dumped straight into the action. No setting of the scene. No kissing. Just fast car action. Maybe everything is going to be okay.

Not much has changed with the boys dynamic, literally. The back-and-forth banter is regurgitated from the previous franchise outings and for me that is disconcerting. While it should be comforting and familiar it just comes across as a flogged pony.

Nevertheless we rejoin Marcus (who is now a grandfather and is OFFICIALLY “too old for this shit”) and Mike (who is essentially The Fonz at this stage – in his 50’s and still trying to pick up younger women).

This outing has it all : DJ Khaled. Mexican Trinity. A distinctly Blade 3 meets Die Hard 4 vibe. The bad guy has mommy issues. All the boxes are ticked.

What it doesn’t have is adequate pacing. With the previous films the audience were treated to break-neck delivery even with dialogue exchanges. Here the characters look like they’re ready for their mid afternoon naps. When the film does pick up any sort of pace it changes gear for a cookie-cutter fight scene or played out chase sequence ranging from dead stop to moderate action.

Without getting into spoilers there’s an inciting incident scene which comes out of nowhere and a nice GTA style montage sequence that works quite well. There’s not much to get excited about outside of that.

Joe Pantoliano is a pleasure as always and seems to be channeling J Jonah Jamison in this one. As odd as that sounds – I’m here for it.

The Boys themselves have been neutered by old age and it is sad to watch. The sitcom element we saw from before (that the franchise previously handled so well) is now a major staple from scene to scene and comes across as cringey shtick.

There’s not much more i can get into with this one. I lost interest when a major plot point was revealed towards the end of the film and found myself physically swearing at the screen. The same occurred with a post credit scene so stick around for that verbal outburst.

BB3 is addressing these characters getting old, their mortality and the world moving on without them. Essentially relics of their time. Therein lies the problem :

Action stars don’t get old, they are immortal or at least should be. No-one wants to see Indiana Jones struggle to swing his whip, no-one wants to see The Terminator with a zimmerframe or John Mclane collecting his pension. It deflates the legacy in exchange for some quick nostalgia bucks. This old-school-cop-out-of-his-element routine didn’t work in Die Hard 4 and its not gonna fly here.

The only film to pull this off with any success (and i hate to reference the franchise again) is Lethal Weapon 4. To my recollection this was one of the first (if not the first) action franchises to address this theme and they did it respectfully and without using it to support the plot.

With Bad Boys 3 the franchise has grown up and that’s a bad thing. Studios need to understand why we fell in love with the characters. It was a franchise for 12 year old boys who didn’t want to grow up.

Listen up, Hollywood : When the hero gets the girl and rides off into the sunset we don’t want to check back in on them a few years later to see their marital disputes and age-related health concerns…..

You can also read our reviews of BAD BOYS and BAD BOYS 2


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