Bad Boys for Life Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Pros: Excellent collaboration between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence; aged actors look more serious and lively than their younger selves; twenty-year-old jokes have become even better; good staging of action scenes; besides explosions and shootouts, the film even has something of a serious message. Cons: The number of explosions and falling helicopters is on par with Michael Bay; “unexpected” plot moves in the spirit of Star Wars Bad Boys for Life / “Bad Boys for Life”

Genre Action
Directed by Adil El Arbi, Bilal Fallah
Cast: Will Smith (Detective Michael “Mike” Lowry), Martin Lawrence (Detective Marcus Burnett), Paola Nunez (Rita), Jacob Scipio (Armando Armas), Joe Pantoliano (Captain Howard), Kate del Castillo (Isabelle Aretas), Teresa Randle (Teresa Burnett), etc.
Студии Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
Year of release 2020
IMDb website

No, I’m serious. Before going to see the threequel, I specifically rewatched Bad Boys and Bad Boys II. There’s absolutely nothing in these films that wasn’t present in every other cop action movie from the mid-90s, except maybe more explosions. Well, this is understandable, after all, the original Bad Boys is Michael’s first big film “Let’s blow everything up!” Bay, and in the sequel Bay was clearly flexing his muscles for Transformers. The only thing that makes both films stand out is the acting duo of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, who complement each other perfectly. Plus live-action car chases and stunts, they (almost) don’t do that anymore.

The first Bad Boys only succeeded because it was cheap. The film, made for just $19 million, grossed as much as $141 million worldwide. Jerry Bruckheimer’s investment paid off handsomely, and in 2003 he financed a sequel… which turned out to be terribly delayed, received disgusting reviews from critics and did not resonate with audiences. The second part, the budget of which jumped to $130 million, earned $273 million, that is, the film made back its money, but nothing more. 17 years later, the same Bruckheimer, this time in company with Will Smith himself, decided to shake off the old days, “as if for the last time.” And suddenly, on a wave of interest in the 80-90s. last century, the film took off, and how.


Bad Boys for Life grossed $100 million in the first weekend, making up for its more modest budget of $90 million than that of the second part. At the same time, Sony announced that it was ready to begin work on the fourth part of the series on the first day, having looked at the collections of one day (in the US the film was released on January 17). The quadriquel is being prepared for 2021. Let’s figure out why the third film in the Bad Boys series turned out to be better than the first two.

First, let’s be honest. Bad Boys for Life is a fairly simple action movie with a predictable plot, filmed according to the patterns of the 1990s, with some adjustments to suit the 2010s. By and large, these are the same first Bad Boys, directed by Michael Bay’s capable students. Two bright actors, sprinkling jokes in the most tense moments; crazy shootouts, even crazier car chases; beautiful girls; explosions; also explosions, fire and falling helicopters – that’s the whole secret. Plus Michael Bay himself makes a funny cameo. Minus sexism and racist jokes. As it turned out, this is exactly what we were missing.


In addition, the actors themselves, who carry the entire film, have only gotten better over the years. Calmer, more confident, more textured. They have not yet reached the age when it is already indecent to act in action films, but they have managed to acquire a certain status of serious actors. Moreover, the film raises questions that had no place in the first two parts. Will Smith’s aging hero, a millionaire and playboy who works as a policeman only because he likes it, realizes that his partner, whom he has been making fun of all his life, has something that he himself lacks – a family, loved ones, a place he wants come back.

Interestingly, in addition to Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, the creators of the film also gathered most of the actors involved in the original duology in supporting roles. Theresa Randle plays Detective Burnett’s wife, Joe Pantoliano plays Captain Howard…even the guy who asked Burnett’s daughter out on a date in Part 2! A new team was added to the old proven actors under the leadership of Paola Nunez – an absolutely politically correct police unit of the 2010s. With computers, drones, universal equality and brotherhood. At first, the newcomers look a little ridiculous, but detectives Lowry and Burnett quickly teach them the wrong things.


The plot revolves around a series of murders of lawmen committed in Miami. As it turns out, the tracks lead to an old case from Detective Lowry’s youth. In general, the plot could even be called quite good, although too banal, if not for the “unexpected” twists in the spirit of Star Wars. Here there was a place for retribution for the sins of youth, and forgiveness, and even some kind of sacrifice. And, of course, a falling helicopter, where without it.

And in the moment with the helicopter it’s worth remembering what, among other things, attracted us to the original Bad Boys and Bad Boys II – the live stunts. In 1995, and even in 2003, cars on set crashed into other cars for real, and you could feel it, especially in the chase scene on the bridge in the second film. Nowadays, the actual stunts have been enhanced with CGI to make them less clunky, less gritty, and… less impressive. No, the chases are still interesting to watch, but there is no longer a sense of reality in them. But the shooting in Bad Boys for Life is clearly better and more dynamic than in the first films.


Bad Boys for Life, of course, lacks stars from the sky, but it looks very good and leaves behind a pleasant aftertaste. Excellent soundtrack, good actors, explosions and shootings – an action movie from the 90s with digital retouching of the 21st century. Just what you need for going to the movies on a Saturday night. If the fourth part follows in the footsteps of the third, then I personally will be very happy to see the sequel. Moreover, despite the promise “For the last time!”, which Will Smith’s hero gives to Martin Lawrence’s hero, the film’s finale contains enough clues even for several sequels. And then, you see, you can hand over the reins to the cops of the new generation. Fortunately there is someone.


All the same Bad Boys, only a little more serious and politically correct

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