Just this past week, my friend and I sauntered to the cinemas. My pal had made it clear a while ago that he wanted to see Bad Boys. The third instalment in the action-comedy franchise sees maestro Jerry Bruckheimer returning as producer. This project has been sixteen years in the making, the last edition released in 2004. The first two movies were box office hits and both Will Smith and Martin Lawrence were seen as bankable star players. There have been a few posts on my social media feed centring around the buddy cop feature. While Bad Boys 3 will not win many awards, the plot twists, light-heartedness, character development, and thrilling sequences would convert many purists.
Mike and Marcus
At the onset, Isabel Aretas, the widow of slain mastermind Benito, is liberated from a Mexican gaol by her son, Armando. Isabel is a weird gal who worships Santa Muerte and has a grudge against a group of Miami berks. Sending Armando to Miami, she tasks him with eliminating them all, ensuring that Detective Mike Lowrey (of Miami Police) is killed last. Meanwhile, Mike and Marcus (Lawrence) are in a hurry as they make a beeline for the birth of Marcus’s first grandson. The latter tells Mike shortly that he has decided to retire, much to Mike’s disappointment. Mike is shot while on a running bet with Marcus, but Isabel rebukes her son for not following her orders. While Mike recovers, Armando then eliminates the other targets on the hit list with ease.
Long story short, Marcus does not want any more bloodshed, thereby refusing to help the vengeful Mike. Marcus is labelled ’Quitter’ and the latter refuses to acknowledge his attempts at contact. Mike will not rest until he vanquishes the sniper. He repels his colleagues’ orders and thrusts himself onto the case, joining the amateurs in AMMO (Advanced Miami Metro Operations). As he tries to find answers, his nemesis thwarts him. His overzealous streak gets in the way of AMMO’s by-the-book methods. However, his gym work helps him go mano a mano with Armando, even as the bastard escapes his claws. A few times in the film, Marcus tells Mike that the time is ripe to settle down. They’ve been chasing baddies forever and have given so much to Miami. They cannot get everyone. Mike reiterates the need to catch them anyway.
When Mike’s long-time captain and mentor is assassinated right before him, Marcus agrees to join the effort, but only with AMMO’s close cooperation. Their efforts lead them to Lorenzo ‘Zway-Lo’ and his birthday party, inspiring a car chase. A helicopter rescue for Zway-Lo finds Armando firing at Mike, who dodges them like Will Ferrell. As Mike falls then floats onto South Beach, Armando taunts him with some pseudo-Spanish. This was when Mike realises that there is a connection between the hunt and hunted. In other words, this was more than just a vendetta. Though Marcus has misgivings, he travels with AMMO to confront Isabel. In Mexico, the apotheosis unfolds. Old flames will be rekindled and the truth behind the aforementioned connection will be revealed. True to form, we could expect a fitting parting shot from this crew.
This is a pretty solid movie. For one, the cast is formidable with the dual appeal of its frontmen. Vanessa Hudgens (as an AMMO officer), Paola Nunez (as head of AMMO), and Charles Melton (Rafe) all add colour. Jacob Scipio, who is actually British, is also relentless as Armando. As mentioned, there is clear character progress through the film. For instance, the reticent Marcus re-evaluates his priorities, choosing between his real family and his acquired family at Miami PD. Thus, he chooses the dangerous life over sheltered automation. Furthermore, Armando shows remorse at film’s end. He transforms from Rambo into a more watered-down version later on. Throughout the runtime, family and brotherhood are significant themes. My friend mentioned that the movie didn’t feel like two hours. The fast-paced nature of the picture made it easy to follow and only adds more sparkle.
A sequel that delivers
Bad Boys for Life made a splash at the box office, becoming the highest grossing film of the year thus far. Furthermore, the production represents the biggest-ever January release. Apart from this, the movie was also a hit among critics who lauded the pair of leading men and how the film stuck to its strengths. So successful has the instalment been that Sony, the distributor, had talked about a sequel after opening week. Personally, I think the movie was a good showcase of black culture, especially with Martin Lawrence and his personality. The film reminded me of Rush Hour, another buddy-cop comedy. In this instance, Will Smith = Lee and Martin Lawrence portrayed Carter. While the genre is not as prevalent as before, Bad Boys proves that there is still a place for buddy-cop films but only if done the right way.