Bad Boys: Ride or Die – movie review

The Bad Boys action-comedy franchise dates back to 1995. Now the fourth film in the series – Bad Boys: Ride or Die – sees buddy cops Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett defending their former boss’s honour.

Detective Lowrey (Will Smith) has married his physical therapist, Christine (Melanie Liburd). His partner, Burnett (Martin Lawrence), has had a near-death experience, coming back from the brink after a heart attack. As a result, he mistakenly believes he’s bullet-proof. The pair spring into action following accusations that their late captain Conrad Howard (Joe Pantoliano) was crooked – tied to drug cartels. Of course, they’re determined to find who is behind the set up.

Their hunt for the truth leads them to Lowrey’s estranged son, Armando Aretas (Jacob Scipio), who’s in jail for Howard’s murder. Lowrey and Burnett are hoping he can identify the elusive figure who’s managed to alter Howard’s clean record. In trying to uncover the brains behind the operation, they lock horns with the captain’s daughter, US Marshall Judy Howard (Rhea Seehorn). She is not the only one in their cross hairs. Another is Lowrey’s ex-girlfriend Rita Secada (Paola Nunez), the head of Miami Police’s unit AMMO (Advanced Miami Metro Operations). She is now dating prospective mayoral candidate Adam Lockwood (Ioan Gruffudd). The stakes are ratcheted up as the boys’ target appears to be anticipating their every move, leading to an explosive showdown in alligator-infested waters.

Banter between the mismatched core duo is in full swing in Bad Boys: Ride or Die; with a series of cringe-worthy lines trotted out as Burnett goes all kumbaya. Still, I found the family dynamics that links the pair to be a safe pair of hands. You know what you’re in for when you see a Bad Boys’ movie and, in that regard, it’s no let down. Rather, amid all the trash talk and horse play, there’s affection and action aplenty – showdowns, gun fights, explosions and exotic locales.

The film is a good looker and the connection between Smith and Lawrence remains strong.  I also appreciated the performance of Jacob Scipio as Lowrey’s ever-vigilant son.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die retains the directing duo responsible for the previous instalment, Bad Boys for Life (2020), ensuring it has a similar feel. One of that writing team, Chris Bremner, is also back for more, this time alongside Will Beall (Aquaman).  So, standby for more bickering and bravado, as there’s clearly an audience for neatly packaged hijinks and heroics.

Alex First

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