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Movie Review: Bad Boys - Ride or Die


“We ride together. We die together. Bad Boys for life.” - BAD BOYS

Did you know the original concept for Bad Boys had Dana Carvey (Garth from Wayne’s World) and Jon Lovitz (SNL alum and Randy from Rat Race) as the titular bad boys? It was intended as a buddy cop movie starring two comedians, I assume action was less of a concern than what it would eventually become. According to Will Smith the comedy duo had the script before Martin Lawrence got his hands on it and “changed history.” Lawrence first turned to Eddie Murphy as his co-star but proved too costly so it was Lawrence’s sister that ultimately suggested another famous sitcom star, Will Smith. And now here we are on the verge of the fourth installment starring the irreplaceable chemistry of Lawrence and Smith. 

And it’s the chemistry that has prolonged the life of these characters and franchise as a whole. While the action is entertaining, the stories aren’t the most original concepts and the comedy is contingent on the chemistry of the main duo. These movies are as successful as they are because of supporting casts and exciting sequences but the roots of it, the strongest aspect of what truly makes this whole thing work and work well is what Lawrence and Smith bring to the equation. While not the quickest way to prove chemistry is real, four films in and it’s still obvious it’s continuing to work. Lawrence as Marcus Burnett and Smith as Mike Lowrey is the heart and soul of an otherwise crass and violently reckless storyline. They bring a humanity to it despite it being so over-the-top and wholly implausible. 

Partial to part 2, Ride or Die is my favorite since the 2003 entry. While I enjoy every chapter of this franchise, many regarding part 3 as the best since the original, it wasn’t my personal favorite. It felt like it was missing something, something I can’t quite place or pinpoint but it just didn’t hit as well as its predecessors. But part 4 is quintessential Bad Boys reveling in its own absurdities as if to proclaim, “This is what we do best and there’s zero shame in it for us.” It fully embraces what has made it all work so well and levels up as much as possible. 

Bad Boys: Ride or Die finds our heroes enjoying life in the shadow of their great loss of Captain Howard. Mike is getting married and Marcus is feeling his age, and diet or lack thereof, more than ever. Despite life moving forward it would seem the past is far from done with Marcus and Mike as the late Captain’s reputation and former associates come into question as accusations of corruption begin to infect the validity and effectiveness of the Miami Police Department. Deeply infused in the history of Captain Howard’s past, the boys become entangled in a conspiracy to damage everything they’ve worked for including the very safety of Mike’s own son. What starts as an insult to a good man’s reputation turns into a life and death fugitive pursuit that will test everything about who these men call their friends and family. Who can they trust when the evidence condemns them all? 

While part 3 had its more dramatic moments, as does Ride or Die, this time however the comedy is more prevalent than ever. Martin Lawrence is unleashed as an unhinged Marcus who has recently found a whole new reason to revel in the beauty of the life he’s created. And it’s driving Mike up a damn wall. Upped from part 3 is also the action with bigger, more chaotic sequences that take the franchise to new heights of excitement and thrills. Featuring helicopter crashes, albino alligators, numerous gun battles and the most formidable villains the boys have ever faced. This just may be the most ambitious and relentless of the entire Bad Boys series.

Unfortunately the scene I want to talk about most would be a huge spoiler so of course I won’t. I will say that a particular sequence in Ride or Die is one of the best things I’ve seen in any movie so far this year. It features a beloved character of the Bad Boys franchise who is finally given their moment to shine and it is unbelievably glorious to experience. It is somehow both exciting and hilarious and reminiscent of one of the best action franchises ever made. Let’s just say, Mr. Wick would be proud. 

Ride or Die is proof the franchise is alive and well. In fact I’d say it’s downright thriving and is stronger than ever. Lawrence and Smith’s chemistry is on full display all while allowing for everyone to have their moment. The villains are generic but still delightfully devious and detestable. The humor is plentiful and a bit much at times but that’s sort of where the sweet spot is for this whole property. Bigger may not always mean better, but in the case of Bad Boys, bigger at least means potential for something truly thrilling. I love this franchise, however imperfect it may be, it just works. If they announce tomorrow that parts 5, 6 and 7 are officially happening I’m already in. Maybe that blinds me to its shortcomings so I say this, if you enjoy the previous adventures of the Bad Boys and company, you will gladly Ride or Die with them one last time.

Rated R For: strong violence, language throughout and sexual references

Runtime: 115 minutes

After Credits Scene: No

Genre: Action, Comedy, Adventure

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Paola Núñez, Alexander Ludwig

Directed By: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah

Out of 10

Story: 8/ Acting: 8/ Directing: 9/ Visuals: 9.5


Buy to Own: Yes


Check out the trailer below:


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