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Movie Review - Sony's Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Miami's finest are now its most wanted.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die is a 2024 buddy action comedy film directed by Adil & Bilall, written by Chris Bremner and Will Beall, produced by Columbia Pictures, Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Westbrook Studios, and 2.0 Entertainment, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. It stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. This is the fourth film in the Bad Boys franchise. It was preceded by Bad Boys for Life.


"Y'all are some terrible f**king fugitives." - Armando Aretas

Plot


When the late Conrad Howard is accused of being linked to the cartel, Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett go on the run to clear the captain's name.


The Sweet


Before the review, let me address something; Will Smith, one of the world's biggest movie stars, won an Oscar in 2021 for his role as Richard Williams in King Richard. Before that, he was all over the place. In 2019, there were three major releases starring him, one being Aladdin, which made over a billion dollars. Smith was just on top of the world...and then he destroyed his career with a slap. This is Will Smith's first wide theatrical release since the slapping incident, which is just so interesting to me.


And, to be clear, I'm rooting for the guy. I think that the slap was ridiculous and he should face consequences, but I do not think his career should be ruined. It was a really, really bad moment, but it should not define the rest of his life. So it pleases me to say that him and Martin Lawrence are the best part of this new film. I've never seen any of the Bad Boys films before this, but I have heard that Lawrence and Smith's chemistry is the big selling point of the franchise, and that continues on here. Smith has the more dramatic part in this film specifically, but he can really play the laughs when he wants to. Lawrence is definitely more of the comic relief, and he seems better at that than the dramatic moments, so I think they play off each other nicely.


I also give this film props for trying to have a story and characters. Most action movies nowadays are these ridiculous Fast & Furious-esc films that just throw characters and story aside to just appeal to the lowest brow of entertainment. Ride or Die at least puts in a little bit of effort to have story and characters. Will Smith's relationship with his son is treated as the emotional core of the film, and it can be very effective.


This movie also has a ton of truly crowd-pleasing action. I don't think the action is anything special, but they have practical stuntwork and some very fun set pieces. There's a specific scene that involves a certain character that had my audience going nuts. And despite knowing barely anything about the Bad Boys franchise, I understood why they were cheering and why the sequence was awesome. That is how I would best describe this film. Crowd-pleasing. It isn't trying to win Oscars. It's trying to entertain. And it succeeds.


The film also balances its tone very well. Action comedies can be difficult to manage because comedy movies are supposed to be zany and funny while action movies tend to have serious plot lines that involve death and violence and drugs. This film is able to push aside the darker elements and really embrace the comedic side, which just gives it this unserious, laid-back tone that I really enjoyed.


The Sour


I feel like movies like this only have a certain bar that they can reach in terms of how much I like them, because they often have the same problems. Bad Boys: Ride or Die is entertaining, yes, but the plot just makes no sense. It is incredibly convoluted while also just being dumb. The premise of the film is absolutely ludicrous: Mike and Marcus go to criminal lengths to prove that their dead police captain wasn't connected to the cartel? That's really, really stupid. And the whole movie feels like that. There are just so many contrivances and things that make you roll your eyes.


I also think they took Marcus in a strange direction. He is incredibly funny, but something happens at the beginning of the film that puts him in this strange place as a character. The whole thing they do with him is played for laughs, but I honestly found it to be too ridiculous. There's a sequence early on that feels like an acid trip. It gets insane. And I don't really get it.


And, as much as I praised one aspect of Mike's character, they also do some weird stuff with him. They keep implying that Mike is having some sort of internal struggle and dealing with some mental health/anxiety issues, but they never really expand on it and it never pays off. So we just keep watching these subtle hints that something is wrong with Mike without ever being told that something is wrong with him. It's very strange.


Much like the plot, the villains in this movie make zero sense. The main villain is a very generic mercenary bad guy and his motivation is actually one of the most confusing things I've ever seen in a movie. There's also your classic "twist" villain reveal that is incredibly obvious. Every time that you try to turn your brain on during this movie, it just becomes worse, so try to watch it with your brain off.


Final Thoughts and Score


Bad Boys: Ride or Die is a fun, entertaining action spectacle. It's really dumb, but if you have fun with these types of movies, you will have fun with this.


I'm going Savory here. Age range is 12+.

SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great) Savory (Good) Sour (Bad) Moldy (Terrible)


"Bad Boys: Ride or Die"


Fun Factor: 7.5/10

Acting: 7/10

Story: 3/10

Characters: 6/10

Quality: 6/10


Directed by Adil & Bilall


Rated R for moderate bloody violence, strong language, thematic elements


Released on June 7, 2024


1 hour and 55 minutes


Will Smith as Michael Lowrey

Martin Lawrence as Marcus Burnett

Vanessa Hudgens as Kelly

Alexander Ludwig as Dorn

Paola Núñez as Rita Secada

Eric Dane as James McArthur

Ioan Gruffudd as Lockwood

Jacob Scipio as Armando Aretas

Melanie Liburd as Christine

Tasha Smith as Theresa Burnett

Joe Pantoliano as Captain Conrad Howard

Rhea Seehorn as Judy Howard

Dennis Greene as Reggie McDonald

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