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Bad Boys – Ride Or Die Movie Review: Will Smith-Starrer is a franchise running on fumes

Fri 14 Jun 2024    
The Brew Rating: 3/5
The Brew News Team | 2 min read

This fourth film of the Bad Boys franchise attempts to inject fresh energy and maintain the chemistry between its leads but ultimately falls short of delivering a memorable experience

Directors: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah
Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Paola Nunez, Eric Dane, Loan Gruffudd, Melanie Liburd, Tasha Smith, Jacob Scipio

This fourth film of the Bad Boys franchise attempts to inject fresh energy and maintain the chemistry between its leads but ultimately falls short of delivering a memorable experience. Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, it struggles to find its footing, resulting in a mildly engaging yet forgettable action thriller.

The story follows Miami PD detectives Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) as they investigate a possible mole within the police department. This mole is believed to have framed their murdered captain, Conrad Howard (Joe Pantoliano), for being part of a cartel’s money laundering scheme. Their quest morphs the film into a prison-break adventure involving Lowrey’s incarcerated son, Armando (Jacob Scipio), and a revenge subplot driven by Howard’s daughter, Judy (Rhea Seehorn).

One of the film’s significant drawbacks is its poor exposition and lacklustre plot. The convoluted narrative features a series of contrived subplots that fail to add depth or interest. For instance, Marcus suffers a heart attack early on and is advised to maintain a healthy diet, leading to a running gag about his cravings for junk food. This subplot feels forced and quickly becomes tiresome. Similarly, a cameo by Tiffany Haddish falls flat, attempting to inject sexual humour that feels out of place and cringe-inducing.

The narrative delivers a handful of laughs, though few and far between. One notable scene involves Marcus wearing a stolen shirt and repeatedly making a joke about black people stealing things, which is repeated to the point of diminishing returns. The humour oscillates between silly and dumb, much like the plot itself.

The action sequences, however, are where the film shines. The directors, showcase their flair for high-octane action with well-choreographed scenes that keep the pace brisk. Utilizing new technology like drones and first-person-shooter-style POV shots, they infuse the film with a dynamic visual style reminiscent of video games. These stylistic choices add a layer of excitement, even if they sometimes come at the expense of coherence.

Also read: Lift Movie Review: This Heist Fails To Lift

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reprise their roles with the same chemistry that has been the backbone of the franchise. Smith, who now appears worn-out seamlessly slips back into his role as Mike Lowrey, while Lawrence’s performance as Marcus Burnett remains a blend of comedic antics and over-the-top reactions. Lawrence’s garish performance highlights his comedic strengths and underscores the film’s struggle to find a consistent tone.

Unfortunately, the supporting characters are underdeveloped. Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, and Jacob Scipio return from the franchise’s previous edition but are given little to do compared to their earlier appearances. Rhea Seehorn’s character, Judy Howard, is driven by vengeance but lacks depth, while Ioan Gruffudd’s Lockwood is a one-dimensional political candidate.

Overall, the film thrives on star power and nostalgic appeal but is unlikely to leave a lasting impression.

(This article is published under a mutual content partnership arrangement between The Brew News and The Free Press Journal)

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