Back in 1995, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence burst on to the scene with Bad Boys, an action film from Michael Bay with plenty of attitude and one of the most entertaining double acts in the genre. Twenty-five years later, seventeen after the second film, Smith and Lawrence are back with Bad Boys For Life, this time though with no Bayhem in tow. 

When Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) is targeted by a demon from his past, he and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), who he's dragged out of retirement, must team up for one last ride together. The trouble is, are their old school "Bad Boys" tactics much use in today's world?
Leaving it so long to do a third film is something that could have backfired however, thanks to the chemistry shared by Smith and Lawrence, Bad Boys For Life is very much worth the wait, the two of them throwing themselves into proceedings with the same passion and ferocity as before. The pair of them just bounce off each other so well, Smith's more serious approach combining to hilarious results with Lawrence's comedic performance, as it always been.

What the franchise had been missing before was a sense of consequence to the pair's often reckless approach to cleaning up the streets. Thankfully this is something Bad Boys For Life brings to the franchise and it makes for much more emotional and satisfying ride, with something at stake rather than just mindless action.

The notable absence of Michael Bay behind the camera is a blessing in disguise for the film as well, with Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah delivering pulsating and coherent action sequences that hark back to the 90s era of action movies, which was a prime decade for the genre. Lorne Balfe's work on the film's score accompanies the action quite brilliantly also, which goes a long way in giving the film more energy.

Bad Boys For Life may be the third film in a franchise some may have forgotten about being dropped in January, which is sometimes seen as a studio dumping ground however, it turns out to be the first surprise of the year and the best of the trilogy at the same time.

Verdict: ★★★★


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