“Bad Boys: Ride or Die” Movie Review

When the Bad Boys got resurrected in 2020 in Bad Boys for Life, no-one expected much from the ridiculous Michael Bay-created series. What they got, though, was much better than the original films. In their latest sequel Bad Boys: Ride or Die, directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah hit the ground running and don’t stop.

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reprise their roles as Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett. At Mike’s wedding, Marcus’ eating habits catch up to him and he has a serious cardiac incident. While he’s recovering, they find out that their dead captain (Joe Pantoliano) is being framed for corruption, and while defending his honour they uncover a network so big that they have no-one to trust.

As always, the plot of the film is largely irrelevant, merely setting up sides for a series of high-energy action scenes. What works exceptionally well is the character writing. Through a series of unlikely events, Marcus’ cardiac incident inverts the usual dynamic of Mike’s cool and collected attitude and Marcus’ state of constant panic to tremendous comic effect. The film is very attentive to character dynamics in general, making sure that Smith and Lawrence comic styles always have someone to bounce off of. El Arbi and Fallah really set about giving every character an angle and making it count, especially Marcus’ Marine son-in-law Reggie (Dennis Greene) who quietly steals every scene he’s in and Dorn (Alexander Ludwig) whose gormless earnestness makes him a hilarious contrast to the Bad Boys. The main villain, McGrath (Eric Dane) is also well-judged and not played for laughs.

The action is as ridiculous as ever, with all the gunfights, car chases, helicopter fights and drone bombings you could feasibly expect from a film. The likeability of the characters heightens the stakes and makes their adventures more exciting. This is still light entertainment, but nothing’s been spared in terms of the series’ traditional Bayhem.

Don’t miss Bad Boys: Ride or Die on the big screen. This is a film that demands size and volume and gets the audience genuinely cheering.

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