Home » The latest installment of “Bad Boys” “slaps” just as hard as its predecessors

The latest installment of “Bad Boys” “slaps” just as hard as its predecessors

by Stewart Cole

Martin Lawrence, left, and Will Smith in “Bad Boys: Ride or Die.” Credit: Frank Masi/Sony Pictures Entertainment via TNS

Making “dumb action movies” that straddle the line between ad nauseam and genuinely entertaining is an underrated art in the film community.

After all, a cursory look at almost any year’s list of top-grossing titles will reveal these little “popcorn” films that regularly outshine many “arthouse” films.

Fortunately for fans of the “Bad Boys” franchise, “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” is likely to tickle the same silly itch they were trying to relieve from the last release.

“Bad Boys: Ride or Die” brings back regular stars Will Smith (“Men In Black”) and Martin Lawrence (“Martin”) as Miami Police Department partners Mike and Marcus, respectively. Plus, it features an extremely talented cast, including Vanessa Hudgens (“High School Musical”), Rhea Seehorn (“Better Call Saul”) and Eric Dane (“Euphoria”).

“Ride or Die” follows Mike and Marcus much further along in their lives compared to their big screen debut in 1995. In this installment, the duo deal with more mature issues like complicated family dynamics — particularly between Mike and his convict son Armando ( Jacob Scipio ) — and must work together to unravel the former Miami PD captain’s frame in a cartel collaboration case.

“Ride or Die” definitely leans toward a more absurdist approach, despite some grounded themes of family connection. For example, Marcus essentially serves as comic relief after a heart attack that spurned a spiritual awakening and made him believe he was invincible to all threats.

Fortunately, Marcus is used excellently in his comedic role and not just an unnecessary addition for cheap jokes, making him undoubtedly the highlight of the film.

The most ridiculous aspect of the film, however, is its cinematography. Directors Adil El Arbi and Billal Fallah, along with cinematographer Robrecht Heyvaert, pulled no punches when it came to visuals. The camera was almost constantly in motion, stopping only to place itself at funny angles.

It seems that the bright lights of Miami tempted the filmmakers to include a lens flare in almost every shot, which only adds to the completely unrealistic look of the film. But perhaps the funniest sequence is in the third act, in which the camera pans from the perspective of one of the officer’s guns and the moviegoers switch from watching a movie to watching a first-person video game.

All this is not to say that the camera work was inappropriate. Instead, it helped add to the film’s fun, over-the-top energy.

Whether or not one has seen any of the other ‘Bad Boys’ movies or knows nothing about the plot, ‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’ is sure to be a good trip to the theater, full of random celebrity photos, outrageous action sequences and the perennially charismatic duo Smith and Lawrence.

Rating: 3/5

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