8/10 Trust me, I am as bewildered by the score I gave this film as you are. I rewatched the first two movies in this trilogy and while fun, the first two movies are very bad. The first one is better because it is more grounded but the second one allows Michael Bay’s worst impulses to go unchecked. Here, directors Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi inject a much needed shot of adrenaline to this dormant franchise. Whereas the Bay movies were more focused on looking cool and having the cinematography and editing of an Adderall junkie, this latest installment focuses on story and character, making this a damn good film. I had low expectations due to the first two movies, the fact that this franchise is not known for its quality and the fact that this came out in January, a notoriously bad dump month for movies. Yet I was surprisingly happy that this film was really funny, continued the great chemistry between Martin Lawrence and Will Smith and had some really solid action to boot. Normally action films aren’t meant to showcase an actor’s strengths or talents. The first two movies definitely didn’t. Yet this film actually shows of Lawrence and Smith’s respective acting chops by giving them some real emotional trauma to work through. Lawrence’s Marcus has an internal struggle with being good at what he does but needing to hang up the gun and badge for the sake of inner peace and his family. Smith’s Mike struggles with his mortality as he tries to balance getting revenge, bringing about justice and his mental vulnerability. We are introduced to some new, younger supporting characters who actually have personalities and bring a lot to their individual roles. The action scenes were well choreographed and fun to watch, which also surprised me. You wouldn’t expect an action film like this to have any plot twists but we get a big one that totally changes the film and it worked well. This film did have some problems with it however. The score and soundtrack were forgettable and mediocre, there are definitely some over the top/unrealistic moments that go a little too far and a couple moments visually looked rather fake, most likely due to budget constraints. Some mild product placement distracted and briefly took me out of the film. Lastly, the story is nothing ground breaking or revolutionary. That being said, this is a really fun time at the theater in a time where just turning off your brain and having fun is rare. A sequel is already in development (it does bother me a surprising amount that this wasn’t called “Bad Boys III” and then next installment won’t be called “Bad Boys 4 Life” but what can you do?) and this strikes me as a film you could watch multiple times and still enjoy upon repeated viewings. Our bad boys have become bad men who will bring you a good time if you check out this crowd pleasing, romping time. You will be as surprised as I was.
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