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'Bad Boys for Life' is a suprisingly solid and entertaining movie

Sean I. Mills
Staff writer
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Posted 1/26/20

More than 15 years since the previous film, “Bad Boys for Life” makes a good effort in its attempt to revive the franchise. Reviving franchises both on TV and in theaters has become a lot more …

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'Bad Boys for Life' is a suprisingly solid and entertaining movie

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More than 15 years since the previous film, “Bad Boys for Life” makes a good effort in its attempt to revive the franchise.

Reviving franchises both on TV and in theaters has become a lot more popular as of late. Bring back the familiar brand name and hopefully some of the same actors from before, and studios hope that nostalgia will be enough to sell tickets. Sometimes — as is the case with the new “Bad Boys for Life” — making an actually good movie also helps.

It’s amazing how much some quality twists and some good characters can enliven a movie.

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return as Miami detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, both of them nearing the ends of their multi-decade careers in law enforcement.

But when a dangerous assassin starts targeting specific figures in the judicial system from an old case, the duo must put aside their plans for retirement one last time.

“One last time” being a figure of speech, of course. No matter how many times the two characters actually say those words in the film, if “Bad Boys for Life” makes enough money, there will definitely be more sequels. Heck, the new film tries really hard to set up some possible spin-off characters. It is anyone’s guess what might actually happen next.

But for now, “Bad Boys for Life” is a surprisingly solid and entertaining movie, as long as you don’t expect it to be great cinema. It’s an enjoyable action film starring some likable characters, and it has at least one really good twist that gives the film far more depth and emotion than I expected.

I did not expect much from this movie. The last film in the series — “Bad Boys II” — came out all the way back in 2003, and had Michael Bay as the director. That was Michael Bay at the height of his power. “Bad Boys for Life” is a clearly desperate attempt to make a little cash off a familiar brand name, with some unknowns in the director’s chair this time.

But I’ll be darned if I didn’t have a good time at the movies.

That’s not to say “Bad Boys for Life” is a great movie. It could stand to have more wit and snapper dialogue, but it works just fine as an action movie in the doldrums of January.

Whatever is in store for the “Bad Boys” franchise going forward, the new film is a good sign that we probably won’t be disappointed.

For more movie discussions and reviews, check out my Sentinel Cinema podcast at www.romesentinel.com/sentinelcinema and coming soon to Spotify, Apple and other popular podcast locations.

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