Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back on the case in the roles that launched the dynamic duo to global superstardom in Bad Boys for Life. Blu-ray reviewer Ralph Potts had to opportunity to check outs its Digital release and offers his thoughts on the film.
“The original Bad Boys, Mike Lowry (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), are back. After a string of assassinations and an attempt on Mike’s life, he convinces a hesitant Marcus to hold off retirement and partner one last time. Together, they team up with AMMO, the new hotshot division of the Miami PD, to take down the merciless head of the Aretas Cartel.” – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Let me start things off with my thoughts on Bad Boys and Bad Boys II:
Prior to reviewing 2010’s Blu-ray release I had never seen Bad Boys. I am a Will Smith fan however I think the primary reason I never went out of my way to see it is the presence of Martin Lawrence who I generally find annoying. I had heard good things about it and, being a genre fan, I looked forward to finally checking it out in high definition. Bad Boys is a Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer collaboration featuring a typically shallow plotline that revolves around cops, bad guys, and drugs while featuring cardboard cutout characterizations and bombastic action. It works just fine though as Lawrence/Smith make a good pairing that adds to the fun while Tea Leoni lends a strong, sexy female presence that fits into the fold nicely.
My man Joe (Joey Pants) Pantaliano seems a little out of place and, underused as the grumbling but supportive narcotics Captain and, Marg Helgenberger’s nagging role of the internal affairs officer out to shut the unit down adds little. Neither detracts from the film’s primary focus which is to get to the wise cracking comradery, action-based set pieces and, sexy interplay that makes Bad Boys fun to watch. I am still not a Martin Lawrence fan but, he didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this formulaic and entertaining action thriller.
2003’s follow-up Bad Boys II continues much in the same vein only not as fun. The drug ecstasy is flowing into Miami, and the police want it stopped. Police Detective Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and his partner, Mike Lowrey (Will Smith), are just the men to do it. They track the drugs to a Cuban smuggler, Johnny Tapia (Jordi Mollà), who is also involved in a bloody war with Russian and Haitian mobsters. If that isn’t bad enough, there’s tension between the two cops because Lowrey is romantically involved with Burnett’s sister, Syd (Gabrielle Union).
Bad Boys II feels more like a rehashing of its predecessor, providing larger action set pieces and a bigger helping of Smith/Lawrence banter, which frankly, becomes tiresome. Add to that, another witless wonder leading the bad guys and it all feels rather been there done that, only better. Whereas Bad Boys felt sort of edgy as a buddy/cop flick, Bad Boys II doesn’t but, that isn’t to say that checking one’s brain at the door won’t allow it to make for solid popcorn entertainment.
The trailer for Bad Boys for Life wasn’t exactly inspirational, at lease for me. With the current state of affairs there is a temporary hold on procurement of Blu-ray/Ultra HD Blu-ray product for review (the fulfillment houses in California are closed) so the studio asked if I would be interested in checking out the film on digital now and, receive the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray when it becomes available. If you’re already a fan of this franchise I see no reason why Bad Boys for Life wouldn’t work for you. I mean, it’s totally formulaic narratively speaking but, that could be a good thing depending on one’s perspective.
There’s a large helping of nostalgia as the chemistry between Smith and Lawrence seems to pick right up where it left off. The plot is a bit questionable and the action is typically over the top but, that’s a given. I liked how the characters in Mike and Markus were brought up to date, given the amount of time that has passed and, balancing them with the new/younger members of Miami PD’s AMMO Squad worked pretty well, especially the relationship between Mike and Rita (Paola Nuñez). I thought that everyone had a moment to make a viable contribution, including ancillary characters, which was a bonus.
As the story marches toward its conclusion the action/effects ramp up nicely and there is even a sprinkling of melodrama (it doesn’t land very well) and a finish that leaves the door open for another installment. Bad Boys for Life doesn’t reinvent the wheel but, I found it to be an entertaining popcorn flick that turned out better than expected. I guess you can’t ask for much more than that.
The Digital Code I received wasn’t for Ultra HD. I redeemed it on VUDU which was the 1080p HDX version with 5.1 channel sound. Therefore I will wait until I receive the retail 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and review that picture/sound. The Digital version did include the bonus features which is welcomed. My rating for the film and bonus content are below.
Digital Release Date: March 31, 2020
- • Extended & Alternate Scenes (Including an Alternate Ending)
• Outtakes & Bloopers
• Ride or Die: Making Bad Boys for Life
• Partners in Crime: Behind-the-Scenes
• It’s About Time: Go through 25 years of Bad Boys history with Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the cast and crew
• Easter Eggs: Directors Adil and Billal take us on a tour of a few of the Easter eggs and callbacks to earlier Bad Boys films
• And more
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems
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