"Bad Boys: Ride or Die" Film Review

Bad Boys: Ride or Die (2024) - IMDb

"Bad Boys: Ride or Die" Film Review

Rating: 4.5/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    I've always enjoyed the Bad Boys franchise, which stars Martin Lawrence and Will Smith as a hilarious buddy cop duo who always find themselves in the strangest and deadliest situations. The third outing, which came out right before the Pandemic in 2020 and was titled "Bad Boys For Life", set up the perfect conclusion to the Bad Boys trilogy, and it seemed more evident that we may not receive a fourth installment after the infamous incident at the 94th Academy Awards. Yet, here we are, a new Bad Boys film in 2024, which closely follows the events of the third film. Not only is "Bad Boys: Ride or Die" an incredibly energetic and fun cop comedy, but it honestly revitalizes this genre. While the buddy cop films have seemed very routine and tedious the past few years, this film from Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah has fantastic cinematography, hilarious segments, and just impeccable chemistry from Smith and Lawrence. 

    Detectives Mike Lowrey (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) are now starting to settle down and enjoy their lives, with Mike marrying and calming down his playboy, player attitude. They are ready to just be partners without the major cases again, but it seems like danger and misfortune follow them everywhere. After Marcus experiences a near-death experience and has a new outlook on life, they are then thrown to be on the run after a scorned man on the inside (Eric Dane) is throwing the late Police Chief Conrad Howard (Joe Pantoliano) under the bus by making him seem like the major suspect in a cartel deal. 

    While trying to clear his name, Marcus and Mike are forced to go on the run with Mike's estranged son Armando (Jacob Scipio) who is serving time in maximum security prison after the events of the previous film. Not only are they being hunted by the FBI, but there are now bounty hunters trying to pull out a hit on these two bumbling cops. 

    Like the first three films in this franchise, this film is action-packed, high-octane, and just tons of fun. It's hilarious numerous times throughout the movie, and Smith and Lawrence have fantastic chemistry together. They are able to play off one another and the jokes they make throughout out the film. I just wanted to say that seeing Lawrence play this more carefree version of this character who is more scared and timid was a lot of fun and a breath of fresh air in the franchise. Smith, on the other hand, is just known for playing these slick and cool protagonists, and he just has that ability all of these years later. 

    What I think is really interesting is how they take this very simple plot setup and really elevate it in terms of storytelling and filmmaking techniques. Consider the problems both of our main characters go through. Marcus has a life-ending medical emergency that he survives, and therefore it gives him a new outlook on life. The film shows this in terms of how Marcus acts and the way the movie shows him going through the channels of the afterlife before retuning to the world of the living. It's very metaphorical for how you should not be scared of living and take every opportunity you get, which his character then does. Then, at the same time, Mike starts to realize he is dealing with anxiety and has panic attacks throughout this movie. It shows how these characters are not these perfect, heroic badasses, but rather just normal, everyday men who are just thrown on this wild ride. 

    Perhaps the most visually noticeable change compared to other buddy cops film is the use of cinematography. DOP Robrecht Heyvaert uses numerous angles, methods of shooting film, and amazing techniques to really capture this movie for the screen. It is visually stunning in almost every scene, and it is evident how they really tried to experiment with this movie. The visuals and cinematography is perhaps one of my favorite things about this film, and I was really impressed with how they were able to capture what was going on perfectly from beginning to end. 

    I also really like the tongue-in-cheek humor throughout this movie. There are three major instances that had not only me, but the entire audience in my theater laughing out loud. One involves a scene of stealing clothes from a redneck campsite, one with Reggie (Dennis McDonald) finally proving himself to the two original Bad Boys, and another scene that people who know about Will Smith's history will always get a crack out of. They prove that they're not taking itself seriously at all, and it works so damn well when they take that route. 

    I thoroughly enjoyed this movie from beginning to end, and the more I think about it, the more I realized I truly enjoyed it. Smith and Lawrence are hilarious and great throughout, and I think the advanced filmmaking techniques and storytelling really elevate this film beyond what it could have been. I'm not sure if another film will be made in this franchise, but I'm honestly craving another film as soon as possible.