Film Review – BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE (2024): Will Smith and Martin Lawrence Keep the Action Moving Briskly in a Routine Sequel SuperNayr

Will Smith Martin Lawrence Bad Boys Ride Or Die

Bad Boys: Ride or Die Review

Bad Boys: Ride or Die (2024) Film Review, a movie directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, written by Chris Bremner, Will Beall and George Gallo and starring Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Paola Nuñez, Eric Dane, Ioan Gruffudd, Jacob Scipio, Melanie Liburd, Tasha Smith, Rhea Seehorn, Tiffany Haddish, Joe Pantoliano, DJ Khaled, John Salley, Bianca Bethune, Dennis McDonald and Quinn Hemphill

When directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah helmed the 2020 blockbuster, Bad Boys For Life, Hollywood took notice of the big-box office results and sheer overall entertainment value of the movie. The filmmakers have been re-employed to take on directorial duties on a mediocre follow-up film, Bad Boys: Ride or Die. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back doing what feels like improvisation in some hilarious scenes within the new picture but the film suffers from a second-rate plot and too many action scenes that lack focus. Still, Smith and Lawrence are having fun and movie-goers should have fun too, especially given the many plot twists and surprises Bad Boys: Ride or Die offers. The problem is just that those surprises in the story line are almost entirely predictable for anyone who has seen a fair share of crime dramas and/or action pictures before.

The new film opens with Mike (Smith) and Marcus (Lawrence) pulling the car into a convenience store on their way to Mike’s wedding. Marcus goes in for a ginger ale but he orders a hot dog, grabs a bag of Skittles and ends up dealing with a crook holding up the store. This stupid criminal proves to be no match for the likes of cops, Mike and Marcus. The next thing you know, at the wedding, everyone is getting down and having a blast as the “Wobble” song plays. But, Marcus gets an attack which leads him to the hospital. Marcus goes on top of the roof of the hospital and says he feels invincible but Mike tries to keep him grounded in reality.

This time out, the plot revolves around the attempts by some criminals to frame the now deceased Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano in video clips that pop up in the movie) from the previous films. You can pretty much tell that a key character is going to be a villain [hint: He associates with Mike and Marcus’s authoritative friend, Rita (a solid Paola Nuñez)]. However, the central baddie of the picture is Eric Dane’s vicious character, McGrath, who vows to put a bullet in the heads of both Mike and Marcus all in the name of making money off of drugs.

If you saw the great third entry in the series, Bad Boys for Life, you know Mike has a former criminal grown son in jail, Armando (Jacob Scipio). And, if you know anything about action pictures, it is easy to predict that our “bad boys” will employ Armando’s assistance in taking down McGrath and his evil entourage. One key character in the movie vows to kill Armando for something he has done in the past, but this character’s young daughter, Callie (Quinn Hemphill), will ultimately (and predictably) lead her to spare Armando’s life.

An early action scene set in a nightclub is one of several over-the-top sequences that fail to live up to expectations. That’s because these parts of the movie are ultra-unrealistic and lack logic, especially when Marcus tries to take everyone of the bad guys “out” even after having just gotten out of the hospital. Keep an eye out, though, for the scene where one of Marcus’s key family members, Reggie (a scene-stealing Dennis McDonald), saves some of his clan from certain death as Reggie shoots at those who have infiltrated his home.

The actors, Smith and Lawrence, could do these roles in their sleep. Their main characters here predictably bicker and argue as they try to bring McGrath down and save Miami from this villain character’s wrath. There isn’t much depth to the story line and performers like Vanessa Hudgens simply pop up because it’s probably in their contracts to appear in this movie after larger parts in previous installment of the series.

I liked certain scenes in Bad Boys: Ride or Die. Armando is kept involved in the action for much of the film’s latter half which gives the movie some serious entertainment value. Will Armando turn back to the bad side? This sequel will keep viewers guessing throughout.

However, a little of Martin Lawrence goes a long way. Also, one can’t help but remember Will Smith’s slap at the Oscars which is utilized in the movie indirectly as a slap or two hilariously takes place in the film. Bad Boys: Ride or Die has a lot of action set pieces. The last parts of the movie are adequate even though it can sometimes seem like we’ve been here and done this part of the film before in other pictures from the franchise.

With that being said, the film ends with Marcus and Mike figuring out that they can let a key character cook chicken at their barbecue. We’ve come a long way in this set of films, especially in regards to the quality of the humorous interaction sequences between Smith and Lawrence, but the series still has a lot of work to do to enhance its action sequences. That was not the case with the much better third film in the franchise. Some scenes feel a bit rushed this time but, overall, Smith and Lawrence know what they’re doing and keep the action pumping at a fast clip.

There is a lot of entertaining time-filler material here such as Mike’s response to stress and high blood pressure and when Marcus sucks up candy and a drink at a night club during an action scene. But, the movie is overstuffed. It is hugely entertaining when it wants to be but it could have been more with a greater sense of urgency. It often feels like there’s no way in hell that Mike or Marcus will get in real trouble or that they will not escape getting out of the dangerous situations they find themselves in. Expect fans of this franchise to like this one more than non-fans who are coming into these films for the first time.

Rating: 6.5/10

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