BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE

★★★

MIAMI'S FINEST ENTRY YET

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Chris Dos Santos
5th June 2024

One of the only 2020 releases not tainted by the pandemic was 'Bad Boys for Life'. Released in January of that year, the film managed to bring in US$433 million worldwide, the highest grossing for the franchise and the biggest U.S. film of the year. The 17-year wait paid off, and a fourth instalment was announced after the opening weekend box office results.

'Bad Boys: Ride or Die' continues to follow Detective Mike Lowrey (Will Smith, 'King Richard', 'Aladdin') and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence, 'Open Season', 'Big Momma's House') protecting Miami. After the death of Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliana, 'The Matrix', 'Memento') at the hands of Mike's son, Armando (Jacob Scipio, 'The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent', 'Expend4bles'), Howard has been posthumously framed. This leads the Bad Boys not only to investigate the case but become targets themselves, leaving them on the run from the Miami PD. The pair teams up with Kelly (Vanessa Hudgens, 'High School Musical', 'Tick, Tick ... Boom!') and Dorn (Alexander Ludwwig, 'The Hunger Games', 'Midway') as well as needing to connect with Mike's drug dealer son.

'BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE' TRAILER

'Bad Boys: Ride or Die' might be one the best cinematic surprises of the year. I can't say I was... ride or die for this franchise, but this is truly a blast from start to finish. It's a perfect throwback to the late 90s/early 2000s action style, while never feeling corny or silly. The action set pieces in this are truly non-stop fun, upping their game from the previous entry. The final battle in particular, set in a defunct alligator park, utilises so many cool camera techniques from the first-person shooter angle to drone shots and, of course, Dutch angles; it has such a fun energy.

I was ready to go in, especially after feeling incredibly indifferent to the last film, and either hate this or be bored by it. I was ready to write this off as an attempt to fix Will Smith's image, but they truly have made a great popcorn flick in the purest sense. The film does have some issues - mainly plot-wise, I wish it leaned less into the family melodrama and more into just being a fun action romp. But the things you come to a 'Bad Boys' film for, the comedy and the action, are top-notch! Lawrence and Smith are such a likeable duo that you can't help but be on this ride with them. As I do for most films, I wish the film had more for Hudgens to do, but this is the case with most of the secondary characters; they are just here to serve Mike and Marcus.

It's a perfect throwback to the late 90s/early 2000s action style, while never feeling corny or silly.

'Bad Boys: Ride or Die' is easily the best film in the franchise. Managing to capture the Michael Bay aesthetic in a fun and modern way, with absolute knock-out action sequences and great fan service to die-hard fans while still being approachable for new audiences. Grab some Skittles and watch these Bad Boys on the big screen!

That cameo was truly Bay-tastic!

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