Bad Boys: Ride or Die Review

Reviews Films


Between thirty to forty years ago, Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer dominated the summer blockbuster landscape with a long list of knockout action thrillers. Highlights featuring the likes of Beverly Hills Cop, Top Gun, Crimson Tide, Dangerous Minds, The Rock and Bad Boys. The two later films directed by then breakout auteur, Michael Bay (how the mighty have fallen).

Flash forward to today and Bad Boys Ride or Die, or the fourth in the series if you’re keeping score, releases in a year already unkind to tent pole blockbusters. Like last year’s Fast X, this is a sequel nobody expected or asked for. Question; can a 55-year-old Will Smith and 59-year-old Martin Lawrence convince us to sit back and enjoy another two hours shooting up GI Joe rejects in shady urban Miami back lots while quipping homoerotic over each other’s ageing bodies and failing skill sets? Well, the answer is interesting. As far as buddy cops against the man flicks go, this one is more forgettable dross. But, it’s not all terrible.

The plot and performances are awful. The previous film in the series, Bad Boys for Life, tried to convince us that Mike Lowry has an illegitimate son named Armando, who also wanted to kill his absent father (and nearly succeeded in the first act, but, action heroes!). This time around, the story relies heavily on ret conning a major departed character’s backstory and it’s too convoluted to believe. Mike and Markus refuse to buy it though! Which puts them at odds with 99% of Miami PD. 

An irritating point is that there’s way too many characters competing for screen time. Everyone from the previous film, including Armando, returns. Which leads to any twists, if you can call it that, being telegraphed a mile off before they hit. No points for guessing. You’ve seen a double cross a million times. You’ve recognised the mole a thousand times. Finally, no characters remain true to their motivation for joining the shit show. Which sucks the drama right out of it.

The journey is so lacklustre that a cliche filled, wooden but clearly loving it, performance from Eric Dane as the movie villain steals the show. We just have to ignore that his character’s motivation and number one plot driver is toilet paper thin and make absolutely no sense at all. All this culminates in a rogue shootout at an abandoned alligator park. Complete with a monster albino gator chumming the place up. Cool.

Keep an eye out for an unexpected and oddly endearing cameo by Khaby Lame.

What does work very well, is directors Adil & Billal’s action sequences combined with Robrecht Heyvaert’s cinematography. The Miami skyline and coastal bayou is splashed across the screen constantly, beautiful on the big screen, like a drone pilot’s wet dream. Action scenes are frenetic, well paced and expertly put together. Putting the lens in some wild places that thrust the audience right in it, generating some wow factor. It’s just unfortunate that Martin Lawrence’s big head often interrupts the flow, making overused blood sugar jokes. These slow motion visual gags linger too long and lead to more eye rolling than wow. While some might find this the comedy equivalent of Shakespeare, the rest of us can rest easy in the knowledge that it’s not for us. In other scenes, Will Smith’s Mike Lowry tries and fails to convey vulnerability in the face of mortality. He’s married now, you see, so he has more to lose. Cue the panic attacks.

The Bad boys franchise peaked and ended in 2003. This reviewer could go on! But is choosing not to. No point mounting an already dead horse while reaching for low hanging fruit. As an immediately forgettable, date night background noise flick, Bad Boys Ride or Die rates a generous 5/10 skittles. Though you’ll probably have a better time booting up GTA 5 Online. The content and experience are about the same.

Luke is writing short stories, screenplays and film reviews when he's not at the day job or looking after the needs of his family. So one Powerball...