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Bad Boys for Life

The ‘Bad Boys’ films aren’t known for high art or subtlety. Riffing on the cop buddy formula, the previous two films were considerable hits filled with lots of action and politically incorrect humour. ‘Bad Boys for Life’ has been a long time coming with the previous instalment screening in 2003. The world may have dramatically changed since but the style of story-telling the series is known for remains in all its kitsch glory.

Miami detectives Marcus (Martin Lawrence) and Mike (Will Smith) have been partners in crime for years. Marcus now wants to be a police inspector while Mike is charged with looking after a younger generation of cops. Their past catches up with them when the wife and son of a drug lord killed by Marcus and Mike seek vengeance. With guns at their disposal, the duo unite one last time in a cavalcade of chaos and calamity.

‘Bad Boys for Life’ contains genuine surprises. Not so much in its performances or over the top action, all of which are as expected. The surprise arrives from a script having more depth than usual. This may sound ridiculous for a ‘Bad Boys’ flick, but the plot ensues it has a more involving and personal connection for the characters. The stakes are higher with events not playing out as you’d expect.

This added layer of true danger makes ‘Bad Boys for Life’ more compelling viewing. That isn’t to say it’s all Shakespeare because it definitely isn’t that. The lead’s charisma, fast moving plot, well filmed action sequences make for entertaining fun. The visuals are spectacular as ever, with a glossy comic-book sheen successfully conveying the film’s general outlandish flavour.

These types of films have their fans and ‘Bad Boys for Life’ delivers a little more than you’d expect. It isn’t a lazy re-tread like so many other sequels. It’s diverting for what it is with a better character and narrative focus than previous instalments. These boys may be bad but it isn’t bad to enjoy this slice of silly hokum for those wanting OTT escapism.

Rating out of 10: 7

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