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Film Review: Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Welcome back to the blog readers. Before the pandemic ravaged the world in 2020, I had the unfortunate privilege of seeing Bad Boys for Life (2020), which I was not a fan of. Comedy that was not funny, action that did not meet my expectations, and just an overall weak story led to me not having a good time with this film. Hearing a sequel was being made did nothing to move the needle for me, so word of mouth was going to be necessary to get my ass in a seat. Would they succeed this time, or would I be left with the same old? Stick around to find out.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die was directed by Adil & Bilall from a screenplay by Chris Bremner and Will Beall, based on characters created by George Gallo. The film stars Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Paola Núñez, Eric Dane, Ioan Gruffudd, Jacob Scipio, Melanie Liburd, Tasha Smith, Tiffany Haddish, and Joe Pantoliano. In the film, Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett attempt to clear the name of their fallen captain after he is falsely accused of conspiracy.

Now when it comes to action, I am not looking for the next John Wick film, and I am not looking for the next Joy Ride (2023) in terms of comedy. I just want to have a fun time when I go out to the movies. With that being said, would I have a better time with this than I did with the previous film? The short answer is that this film is better than Bad Boys for Life, but not by a wide margin at all. While the comedy is still more miss than hit, there were a few jokes that did get me, and I do think the action is a slight step up from the last film. Other than that, the chemistry between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence is great and the story is not terrible for once.

I want to start with the fact that I believe this is a better action film than it is a comedy. The previous film had lifeless action and comedy that was absolutely uninspired, and I was out of it from the get-go. In my opinion, the comedy is still uninspired and forced, although a few jokes did get me to chuckle. When internet personality Khaby Lame showed up to do his signature shtick, I was laughing. The same is true when Reggie finally gets his due and earns the respect of Mike and Marcus, that got me too. But the action is where the film shines. There were things that were done in the film action-wise that completely shocked me and was a complete 180 from the previous film.

The next thing I want to talk about is the bizarre choices made in the cinematography department. This actually might be the worst part of the film in my opinion. There were shots that were completely baffling, and at points it was hard to figure out what was going on from all the damn drone shots. It's almost like Adil and Balall were asked how many drone shots and creative shots they wanted to use and they replied with yes. The scene in the climax when we see things from Will Smith's perspective and then a gun is thrown and we follow the gun as it's being thrown is just mind-boggingly bad. If there is a Razzie for Worst Cinematography, this film and Robrecht Heyvaert would not only be nominated, but win it.

Next, I want to talk about Will Smith. We all know what happened at the Oscars in 2022, when he poorly reacted to a Chris Rock joke about his wife and proceeded to go up on stage and bitchslap him. We obviously were all shocked when it happened and I initially thought it was a bit, but it was real and he has suffered greatly for it. I do understand anybody that says they will no longer support Smith over his actions, but I believe that it is time to move on. He needed to suffer consequences and he has suffered them. He has atoned for his sins, so now it's time to let him prove again that he's not that kind of guy.

With that being said, the chemistry between Smith and Martin Lawrence is absolutely impeccable. Even though the jokes may not land the way I had hoped them to, you can tell that these two are having the time of their lives making these films. They are clearly something that they enjoy doing, and I hope they continue to make them for their sake. Just get better on the comedy and no more of those dumb drone shots and body rigs.

Finally, I want to talk a bit about the story of the film. There are aspects of the story that are better than that of the previous film, such as the main plot where fallen captain Conrad Howard is falsely accused of conspiracy with the cartel, and the team's efforts to exonerate him while also being branded as fugitives. Some elements of the story that did not work as well for me included the side plot where Marcus suffers a heart attack and winds up becoming a sort of prophet by saying he can't die and telling Mike all of the crap about souls and stuff. That is most of the comedy in this film and it comes off cheap and uninspired.

In conclusion, Bad Boys: Ride or Die levels up on the action and story while leaving its comedy and characters in the dust to become fugitives themselves. Thank you for reading, and I will see you for the next post.

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