Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Review: Bad Boys For Life

Bad Boys For Life
Cert: 15 / 124 mins / Dir. Bilall Fallah & Adil El Arbi / Trailer

Mea culpa. When I intimated that Michael Winterbottom's Greed was the most self-indulgent mess to land in cinemas for some time, I hadn't considered Bad Boys For Life playing in the screen next door. Coming slightly late to this party, I find myself relieved that at least I didn't rush.

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence bellow their way through a script comprising almost entirely of short words and written by an excitable fifteen yr-old, where exposition and lensflare play such prominent roles that their names should really be on the poster. This tale of retirement, revenge and relentless slow-motion would be incoherent if it wasn't so painfully linear. It plays like a contractual obligation sequel, except that wouldn't explain the seventeen year gap between installments.

But this isn't your standard 'grumpy old men wink into the camera while making jokes about having a bad hip' jaunt (although it is that, too). Oh no my friend, this film's got a USB drive in it while Uber and 4Chan get verbally name-checked, so you know this is for The Kids. It's not so much a callback to the glory days of the action genre, more a cobbled together greatest hits reel of explosions, gunfire and everyone in the cast getting a turn to go wide-eyed and shout "Oh hell no!".

The film settles down a bit after an hour or so, but only in the way that you know by then it's going to be around half an hour too long. Bad Boys For Lite feels like getting the band back together purely to jam old songs in the garage. Great if you're in the band, not so much for everyone expecting to see a show. And I must confess that I'm not a connoisseur of Mr Martin Lawrence's screen work, but his underperforming here makes Will Smith seem sincere. Lawrence looks like he's having a stroke for a lot of the movie, is that normal?

In the film's favour, I can at least say that:
It's brightly coloured
It's energetic
Somebody gets killed with a forklift

I'm sure a lot of people will enjoy Bad Boys For Life, and good for them. In my defence I missed about a third of the movie because I was rolling my eyes so hard all I could see was the inside of my head.

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
Judging by the way the film fetishises it own franchise, I imagine it's very similar to the first two Bad Boys outings*1.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
For a lot of people, apparently so.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?

Is this the best work of the cast or director?

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
I have no idea.
The last forty minutes of the movie is basically a blanket of white noise

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: Will Smith is in this, and he was in that Collateral Beauty with Keira 'Sabé' Knightley.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 For clarity, I have actually seen the first two movies in this series around their time of original release, and I remember literally nothing about them. Under the normal run of things I'd have had a refresher evening before going to see this third installment, but in all honesty I suspect that would have just put me off the prospect altogether. [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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