Tired shtick: ‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’ feels predictable and derivative

The original Bad Boys, directed by Michael Bay, was typical Bay trash, but the follow-up, Bad Boys II (also directed by Bay), was sick, sometimes hilarious fun.

Bay left the franchise as director for Bad Boys for Life (2020), a movie that took a step backward from the first sequel, but was still semi-enjoyable. Now comes Bad Boys: Ride or Die—and the series, alas, has returned to the land of mediocrity.

Will Smith (in his first major role since … well, you know) returns as Mike Lowrey, with Martin Lawrence still around as Marcus Burnett, two crazy, crazy detectives who can’t go through a standard day without discharging their weapons multiple times.

This time out, it all has something to do with police corruption and an attempt to frame the fun-loving detectives as dirty cops. It’s a lot of Lawrence and Smith cracking wise between and during gunfights; I assure you that you will remember very little of this film a few years from now, should you choose to see it. It’s quite forgettable.

Nothing feels all that fresh, with the script feeling like a rehash of many films before it. The action is very video-game-like, and the POV style grates. A finale involving some alligators feels like a desperate attempt to make the film anything but ordinary.

The Smith-Lawrence shtick has gotten a little tired, but the movie had a decent opening at the box office, so I guess we’ll get more of these things.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it would be fun to see if they could get Bay back in the director’s chair for a future installment. That would be so crazy that it just might work.

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