Bad Boys For Life


            The much-delayed sequel to the sequel still stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, but the buddy-cop adventure/comedy now takes on different dynamics. 

            Detective Mike Lowery (Will Smith) is still, after all these years, a hyped-up dude who likes fast cars and young women, and tends to be a cowboy out there on the streets, much to the consternation of his Pepto-Bismol-swigging Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano).  His partner, Detective Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), has changed much more over the years.  He's been married for 26 years and is devoted to his wife.  He's now a proud grandfather, and tells his daughter's Marine boyfriend that he needs to make an honest woman out of her (does anyone say that anymore?).  He drives a Nissan sedan.  He's not exactly in peak physical condition.  He's not anxious to chase down more criminals, in fact, he's looking forward to retirement, where he can sit in his robe in his easy chair in front of the television all day if he wants to.

            That all changes when his buddy, Mike, is shot down on the street.  It's touch-and-go for a while, and during the surgery Marcus is praying to God in the hospital chapel, promising that if God will spare Mike's life, that he, Marcus, will not be part of violence any more.  When Mike does finally recover, Marcus' daughter is now getting married, “Uncle” Mike is the godfather, and Marcus has settled into the non-stress living, including daytime naps.

            But the sinister forces that targeted Mike in the first place are unrelenting.  There seems to be an organized effort to take down all those involved in a particular criminal case, including the prosecutor and the judge.  What Mike doesn't know is that it's a lot closer to home than he realized.  And Marcus has to decide if he's going to come out of retirement long enough to help his buddy survive.

            It's a glitzy movie, filled with elaborate chase scenes, shootouts, and explosions.  The language is as coarse as the criminals they're chasing, one of whom seems to be a “bruha” (witch) who prays to “Santa Muerte” (adding to the unexpected display of religion).  In the end, Mike and Marcus are arrayed against a whole Mexican drug cartel, but fortunately they have help, in the police Task Force that brings technology and teamwork to our old-school buddy bravado.  It's entertaining, but doesn't pretend to be genteel.  The ending even sets us up for another sequel, and if it takes as many years as this one to develop, our old action heroes might have to start making nursing home jokes before they spring into action again as the nearly-invulnerable“bad boys for life.”


Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association