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Movie review: Bad Boys ride on and don't die

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence's chemistry make this a great summer action caper
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Some bad boys can’t get their act together. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s Bad Boys, however, have aged remarkably well, and their latest film Ride or Die brings the heat when it matters most.

This is the fourth instalment of the buddy cop action in the now 20+ year old franchise, but strong characterizations and chemistry among its leads and whole cast alike keep these "bad boys" in check. 

For this film’s hook, Miami cops Mike (Smith) and Marcus (Lawrence) are trying to clear the name of their late police Cptn. Howard (Joe Pantoliano), and end up going on the run when they all get framed for a drug conspiracy.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die’s plot and character web are extremely complicated, especially for anyone who hasn’t seen the past three Bad Boys films. What helps is that directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (returning from 2020’s threequel Bad Boys for Life) often name drop people and places to keep things clear for viewers.

What also helps is the consistent balancing act between Smith and Lawrence’s take on the classic "good cop/bad cop" relationship. It’s sometimes goofy, sometimes aggressive, but their relationship conflict is always heartfelt and authentic - that’s what makes the whole premise work.

Smith, still feeling the aftershocks of his now infamous "Oscars slap" has endless charisma and composure on screen, clearly in his element with this familiar role that he executes with grounding. 

Martin Lawrence, on the other hand, is at his most unhinged with his new character arc, but he’s also at his funniest. His humour and delivery haven’t been this consistent in years, and I was pleasantly surprised how funny he was.

Most of the action scenes are short and serviceable for the majority of the run time, with most of the film being plot forward instead of action or stunt driven. It’s slightly less intense than other Bad Boys movies.

That all changes with the turbo-charged final showdown between the cops and the criminals, when the fast-paced shootout pumps up the stunts, explosions and gunshots to a 15/10. That climactic showdown is when the bad boys really come out swinging, and the editing is strangely both slick and gnarly, making the wait worth the wind up.

At the end of the ride, it’s a great action caper for the summer. It’s a textbook film of familiar characters delivering some medium thrills in an easy-to-like case file, right to the captain’s desk.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die

7 out of 10

Rated 14A, 1 hour, 55 minutes, Comedy Action.

Starring Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Eric Dane, Jacob Scipio, Paola Núñez, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig and Joe Pantoliano.

Now playing at Cineplex movie theatres.

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Tyler Collins

About the Author: Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is the editor for Oakville News. Originally from Campbellton, New Brunswick, he's lived in Oakville more than 20 years. Tyler is a proud Sheridan College graduate of both Journalism and Performing Arts.
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