Movie review: Bad Boys For Life
An opening haul of over US$70 million (S$94 million) has shocked many.
Why has Bad Boys For Life done so well despite a 17-year absence?
One of its leads has not had a starring role for close to a decade.
The answer is chemistry.
Other long-delayed sequels have had a rough time. Men In Black: International, Terminator: Dark Fate and (arguably) Doctor Sleep.
But as was proven by Jumanji, chemistry is key.
There's something about the "old married couple" vibe between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence that would be watchable even without the action scenes.
If anything - and may the Lord have mercy on my soul for this - this sequel needed more Martin Lawrence.
Yes, he's heavier.
Yes, he's never convincing in the action scenes.
Yet Lawrence grounds this third Bad Boys venture and he has all the best lines.
It's just as well that this is already a hit, because while it's welcome to see the boys banter, the film's primary purpose is to be the launch point of a new franchise.
Bad Boys paved the way for the Fast And Furious series, and now movie studio Sony Pictures wants some of that sweet, sweet franchise pie. A fourth instalment is already in the works.
The plot here is simple.
Miami Police Department detective Mike Lowrey's past is catching up to him, as is age and a sense that after a certain age, the single life is somewhat hollow. So he's under attack physically and existentially. (If you missed last year's Gemini Man, here's another chance to enjoy similar themes).
The lack in Mike's life is most evident when giving a toast at his partner's daughter's wedding. He talks about the ups and downs of a relationship - but he only has his working relationship with Marcus to draw upon. Oddly, its not played for laughs.
Michael Bay has thankfully vacated the director's chair and the Belgian team of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah brings a previously missing coherence.
There's new blood among the old boys. Of the new crew, Alexander Ludwig and Paola Nunez make the most impact; Vanessa Hudgens, less so.
Jacob Scipio isn't the most charismatic of villains, but gets a few cool scenes.
Overall, Bad Boys For Life does what it needs to - be fun, funny (the montage mirroring Mike and Marcus' lifestyle is a highlight) and non-committal, non-offensive nonsense.
And in the mire of Oscar fare, fun nonsense is very welcome.
FILM: Bad Boys For Life
STARRING: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig
DIRECTORS: Adil El Arbi, Bilal Fallah
THE SKINNY: A new gang boss has moved into Miami and has a long list of targets including
detective Mike Lowrey (Smith). Meanwhile, his partner Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) has become a
grandfather and wants Mike to try being a grown-up.