In “Bad Boys for Life” Will Smith and Martin Lawrence make an impressive comeback. This time, it moved further away from the takedown of drug lords and transitioned to discussions about building families, which makes the Bad Boys more human.
While it is tiring to see the Latino villain stereotype, the film makes up for it with its soundtrack and its friendly moments between the two lead characters and the younger new cast members, played by Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig and Charles Melton.
In “Bad Boys for Life,” Marcus Burnett, played by Martin Lawrence, wants to retire and spend more time with his wife and grown-up children, while Mike Lowrey, played by Will Smith, still thinks he can maintain his bad boy image and bring down the crooks of Miami in fast cars and suave suits.
That all changes when Isabel Aretas and her son Armando Armas, played by Kate del Castillo and Jacob Scipio, attack Mike and begin shooting people who brought down her husband’s drug cartel. Mike and Marcus agreed they would ride together and die together long ago, so now they must embark on one last ride to bring Isabel and Armando down and get their lives back.
From the opening car chase, I knew the usual destruction of the earlier films had come back. But just when I thought some things never changed, I was proven wrong when I saw Marcus’s concerns about Mike. Marcus wants to get away from the violence to be closer to his family, and he doesn’t want Mike getting killed over his vendetta against Armando, since Mike is like a brother to him.
As for Mike, he has a dark past that comes back to haunt him since he got shot. A lot of good people who brought down Isabel’s husband were killed. In those moments, Mike shows his serious side and works to redeem himself.
The younger cast members did well themselves. Hudgens’ character of Kelly is a good shot at gunning down criminals. Ludwig as Dorn is an excellent computer expert and could run and punch in the final battle like he was on a football field. And Melton as Rafe comes off as comic relief when trying to be cool with Smith’s character while assisting with the missions.
When looking at other aspects of the movie, the soundtrack is excellent. The scoring by Lorne Balfe reminds me of Hans Zimmer and Trevor Rabin when it highlights the film’s dangerous and pleasant scenes. The soundtrack includes hip-hop songs performed by P. Diddy, Pitbull and the Black Eyed Peas among others. They’re great to hear during shootouts, car chases and victory scenes.
While I liked the adrenaline-filled moments with the cast and the music, I grew somewhat tired of seeing the usual Latino villain stereotype. In the case of Isabel and Armando, the majority of the film portrayed them as Mexicans whose lives were ruined by Mike, an American, and their only way to move up is through murder. It’s best for people to be aware that they behaved the way they did because they were wronged, not because the film is trying to perpetuate untrue stereotypes.
Overall, “Bad Boys for Life” is the best of the baddest of the “Bad Boys” franchise. Smith and Lawrence still make an excellent duo after all these years. If you want to see two bad boys confront harsh crooks and their humanity, watch “Bad Boys for Life.”