'Bad Boys: Ride or Die' movie review: Leading up to a frenzied retro vibe

07 June,2024 05:09 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Johnson Thomas

`Bad Boys: Ride or Die` movie review: The writers manage to fit in a story with several linkages into the past -  tying in multiple characters and plot lines

Bad Boys: Ride or Die

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Film: Bad Boys: Ride or Die
Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Paola Nunez, Eric Dane, Ioan Gruffudd, Jacob Scipio, Melanie Liburd, Tasha Smith , Rhea Seehorn, Tiffany Haddish, Joe Pantoliano, DJ Khaled, John Salley
Directors: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah
Rating: 3/5
Runtime: 115 min

This fourth entry in the rejuvenated buddy cop, action, comedy franchise is surprisingly fluid and enjoyable. Wisecracking Miami cops Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) start off as the usual happy-go-lucky duo working up enough chemistry as they lever themselves up for yet another dangerous mission. This time they have to clear the name of their late police captain, their mentor Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano) who is accused of colluding with drug cartels.

The premise is a bit wonky because the money gets transferred into the late Captain's account much after his death so the need for an investigation feels rather belated and pointless. It's a staring-you-in-your-face kind of frame-up and should have been dismissed by the F.B.I and other agencies involved but then there would be no complicated reason to make this movie would there?

2020's Bad Boys For Life apparently made around half a billion dollars even though it wasn't great and got released when the pandemic was on the wane. It was ranked in the top 3 highest grossers of that year. No big prizes for guessing why this new project was green-lighted. Of course this film had a little rough weather getting released because of Will Smith's infamous ‘slapgate' at the Oscars.

Michael Bay does have his eye on the pulse and this new episode of the franchise has a marked-up slickness with grit, chaos and playful tackiness shoring up the fun elements. Like I mentioned earlier the narrative doesn't have anything new to reveal and the alleged taint on the revered Captain seems like a weak reason to make things murkier with action involving the cartel, Mike's fugitive son, a half-hearted vengeance play by the Captain's daughter who also happens to be a law enforcement officer and Marcus' return from death as a spiritual being.

Some of the four-letter words get beeped out in the adulting frenzy. While the jokes do make you smile some, it's the action that really gets the adrenaline going. This film has some of the best action set-pieces that the entire franchise can boast of. Directors Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah lay out the spread both in slow-mo and sped-up bedlam. The art exhibition shoot-out is visually exciting and the one where Marcus' enlisted son takes on the home-invaders single-handedly, makes for some crusty excitement. The finale section of the film goes one better, marking up explosive action, with first-person POVs, drones, a ravening rampaging albino alligator, explosions etc. - all mixing together beautifully for a tumultuous and bloody blowout. The cinematography aided by drones and first person POV adds a dimension that is ensnaring. Miami also looks inviting in atypical color tones.

The writers manage to fit in a story with several linkages into the past - tying in multiple characters and plot lines. Smith's Mike suddenly getting plagued by panic attacks feels like an afterthought though.

Smith & Lawrence work up some great chemistry with their motor-mouthed bickering and slap-dash action. The narrative picks up speed only mid-way through the pre-interval half but when it does, it goes racing all through. This is a typically big, bloated Michael Bay extravaganza spinning off into a highly satisfying experience!

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