Bad Boys -1995

Director Michael Bay
Screenplay Michael Barrie, Jim Mulholland, Doug Richardson
Starring Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Téa Leoni, Tchéky Karyo, Theresa Randle, Joey Pantoliano, John Salley

Plot: Smith (Lowrey) and Lawrence (Burnett) play partners of six years who have the drugs from an earlier bust get stolen in – get this – an inside job. Then a material witness shows up and makes them switch personas. It’s dumb as hell, but whatever.
Something good:
– Martin Lawrence threatening computer hacker Fletcher (Salley) while looking up – way up – telling him to sit his ass down.
– Actually Lawrence is the best thing about the film. He’s the only one that can balance the comedy with action.
-Smith is pretty green here. He’s practically humble as a monk compared to the ego busting out every scene in part II.
The worst thing ever:
– So much inaccurate shooting and nonsensical action scenes that give no real concept of time and space.
– Every actor that only starred in this first film is horrible, including Leoni.
– How many cliches can you fit in one movie? This one feels like that number is infinite.
Rating: (** out of *****)

Bad Boys II – 2003

Director Michael Bay
Screenplay Ron Shelton, Jerry Stahl
Starring Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Jordi Mollà, Gabrielle Union, Peter Stormare, Theresa Randle, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Shannon, Henry Rollins

Plot: The boys interrupt a big Cuban drug shipment by arresting some of the mules, that just happen to be part of the KKK. There are bad Cubans, Haitians, Russians and other nationalities too. Miami is very diverse with bad people. Oh, and Marcus is too old for this shit, so he’s going to get a transfer.
Something good:
– Michael Shannon is in it, playing someone named Floyd Poteet. It’s fun to see him do something besides somber freak.
– Gabrielle Union is Bennett’s little sister…but she’s just arm candy for Mike Lowrey and right in the thick of the plot.
– Ron Shelton wrote this! Maybe it’s good…no, it’s not.
– The roundabout scene in the Haitian gang house looks cool until you realize everyone is just shooting randomly. Don’t worry though. The bad guys are the only ones who take the bullets that kill.
– I like when the bad guy’s mom asks what happened to his cousin. Write a nice letter to his mother.
– The scenery is better than the first film.
– Joey Pants – even incessantly yelling – is fun.
– Meeting Reggie is a nice moment, made nicer by the fact that we see him later.
– The Last Supper is fucking depressing! I just want little angels looking down on me.
The worst thing ever:
– How the hell can they afford beachfront property on a Tactical Narcotics Team salary?
– “I think, I done just got mad.”
– More bullets in the bridge scene than the entire first film is a great sign we’ve given up on plot.
– There are a lot of gangsters running around looking like Eddy Grant.
– Only when forced to keep the scene confined to a bridge does anything look like it was linearly filmed.
– Too much Wooshah. It turns Lawrence into a jibber jabbering fool. He seems only to be there to be the butt of bad jokes for others. That is a waste.
– And what is with all of the yelling between Marcus and Mike? I thought they were friends.
– Ron Shelton’s only been part of 3 films since. Maybe it’s all the money he made from this movie. Most likely its due to the fact that this film stinks.
– Too many dead fat people hanging around for too long. That scene should have taken 3 minutes is stretched to over half an hour.
– The pool joke isn’t even funny the first time.
– This is a massively overwrought version of Lethal Weapon, and that is saying something. Worse yet, they bury two incredibly talented actors in a ton of explosions and obvious jokes.
Rating: (* out of *****)

Bad Boys For Life – 2019

Director Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah
Screenplay Chris Bremner, Peter Craig, Joe Carnahan
Starring Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, Theresa Randle, Joe Pantoliano, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Paola Núñez, Kate del Castillo, Nicky Jam, Jacob Scipio

Plot: Someone just broke out of a jail in Mexico. She’s got a grudge. She has a son who thinks Mike Lowrey killed his father. Marcus is a grandpa! Mike’s ex is leading the team that (called AMMO) that replaced Mike and Marcus’ TNT team. Mike is the last person to survive a wave of assassinations. Mike wants to do something about it, but Marcus is retiring. “We ride together, we die together. Bad Boys for life, right?”
Something good:
– Martin Lawrence is relieved from the bonds of acting like an idiot and allowed to roam.
– Will Smith is using everything he’s learned from years of actual acting. He’s near top form.
– El Arbi and Fallah are the best thing that has ever happened to this franchise. They finally have storytellers in the lead role. The result is easily the best film of the franchise. Their talent for building scenes is competent to good. It’s a world of difference.
– Scipio’s Armando has an incredible scene taking out someone double crossing him in the first act. Watch for the hidden knife.
– Joey Pants gets to expand a bit and become more than a single dimension.
– Reggie and Megan get married! The same two we saw on their first date 17 years ago. Nice touch.
– Miami looks incredible, even the depressing parts.
The worst thing ever:
– The third act begins with the team being “shut down.” This is the third straight movie with that shit plot point.
– Scipio never gets to follow up that initial slice and dice with anything remotely as cool.
– Armando is the first bad guy in any of the films that has been able to hit a good guy with a bullet. There are a lot of bad guys in this film that never hit a damn thing.
Rating: (***1/2 out of *****)

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