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Why Bad Boys For Life Reviews Are So Positive -BB

The reviews are in for Bad Boys for Life, the newest entry in the Bad Boys franchise that began in 1995, and critics are generally positive. In Bad Boys for Life, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return as two Miami narcotics detectives who work to take down the leader of a drug cartel. Directing team Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah take over for Michael Bay, who directed the first two installments.

Long-awaited and long-teased by Lawrence on social media, Bad Boys for Life hits theaters 17 years after the second film. Though Lawrence has not done many action-comedies in recent years, Smith’s continued success as an action star led to audience anticipation for another entry into a franchise that began so explosively.

The reviews for Bad Boys for Life are generally in context; no critic claims that it’ll be on a “best of the year” list, but most cite the film’s fun action sequences and Smith and Lawrence’s charismatic comic chemistry, with some claiming it’s a modern update on the franchise. Aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a fresh rating with 73% of critics recommending the film, and Metacritic gives Bad Boys for Life 58/100. So, what did the critics have to say?

The Hollywood Reporter:

The plotting could be criticized for one or two far-fetched storytelling coincidences and conveniences, but the thematic and emotional weight they bring to the proceedings validates their usefulness. The two directors roll with ease between raucous comedy and raw drama, to considerable effect, just as they crank up the tension on any number of occasions, occasionally with palpably visceral impact. The two clearly are in complete sync about where they want to go dramatically, how to get there and how to inject surprising amounts of humor into the rough stuff.

Chicago Sun-Times:

And yet here I am giving three stars to “Bad Boys for Life,” even though it DOES have the familiar look of so many films of the genre, from the sweeping-camera-over-the-water moves to the stunt-person chase scenes and shootouts when there’s never any concern about collateral civilian damage to the main characters cracking jokes and trading insults even as gunfire rings out everywhere.


“Bad Boys for Life” is a lavishly conventional cop movie and a comedy of cranky fast camaraderie. It’s a meditation on the fine-wine élan of its two veteran stars. It’s a Mexican-drug-cartel thriller in the vein of the “Sicario” films, with a weirdly personal twist. It’s an over-the-top Bruckheimer highway-chase-and-gigantic-gun-and-exploding-hacienda blowout. That it works at all is a testament to how even an entertainment rooted in this much formula extravagance can now seem comfortingly old-fashioned.

Perhaps the only surprise in “Bad Boys For Life” is its desire to embroil us in an emotional stake for Mike and Marcus. Not in the superficial, buddy-buddy, bromantic way you’d expect, but in a sincerely earnest way that is kind of off-putting when you remember how Bay’s films avoided any semblance of warmth.

In addition to Bad Boys for Life’s fun interplay, the critics also noted how the film had a greater concentration on character than Bay’s first two films. The original franchise has its share of jokes that have not aged well: there is a film-length running joke about Marcus Burnett’s (Lawrence) masculinity (or lack thereof), and Michael Bay’s camera lingers on the female cast uncomfortably. Critics who do not recommend Bad Boys for Life note that Bay’s influence hasn’t fully faded, and the sequel retains many of the original films’ most problematic elements. Additionally, critics contended that time has passed by Smith and Lawrence as action stars. Here’s a sampling of the film’s negative reviews.


Bay doesn’t direct the film’s belated sequel, Bad Boys for Life, leaving one to wonder what purpose this franchise serves if not to give expression to his nationalist, racist, and misogynistic instincts.

Screen Daily:

[A]ny attempt at gravitas is quickly drowned out by the franchise’s usual over-reliance on explosions and macho posturing.

Generally, if you enjoyed the first two Bad Boys films, then you’re likely to enjoy this one as well. The critics imply that Bad Boys for Life doesn’t have much new to offer, but as popcorn-heavy features go, this accomplishes everything it set out to do. For anything more high-minded, many late-year Oscar contenders are still in theaters – but Bad Boys for Life is sure to corner the action spectacle market this weekend.

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