BAD BOYS FOR LIFE Steps Back into the Franchise Like No Time Has Passed

Bad Boys Bad Boys, Watcha Gonna Do….. I just can’t get the song out of my head – it just automatically starts on loop as soon as I say or write the title. It’s very annoying and so catchy at the same time. BAD BOYS FOR LIFE has just exploded onto the big screen and it heavily surprised me, I was expecting very little from it and instead bloody loved it and cannot wait for BADY BOYS 4 which has already started pre-production. It’s seriously the best Michael Bay film not to be directed by Michael Bay.

BADY BOYS FOR LIFE is out now in every commercial cinema from the wonderful folks at Sony Pictures, it is rated MA15+ and runs for 123mins.

Bad Boys for Life Martin Lawrence and Will Smith image
Martin Lawrence and Will Smith



Marcus (Martin Lawrence) and Mike (Will Smith) have to confront new issues (career changes and midlife crises etc), as they join the newly created elite team AMMO of the Miami police department to take down the ruthless Armando Armas, the vicious leader of a Miami drug cartel. The same drug cartel that Mike was involved with when he started his career.

It’s basically two old guys coming back for One Last Ride – all we needed was Danny Glover in the background saying “i’m too old for this shit.” Haha. Not 100% but close enough.

Bad Boys for Life Jacob Scipio image
Jacob Scipio – Salty’s New Crush


Michael Bay has nothing to do with the production of BAD BOYS FOR LIFE – he did nothing for the film besides inspire the two new directors, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah – oh and (WTF?) have a cameo as Master of Ceremonies at a wedding in the movie. But everything about this film screams Michael Bay, every angle, every shot, the entire film steps back into the world of BADS BOYS as if this started filming a few months after BADY BOYS II. I was totally blown away at the sheer perfection in mimicking the tone of the film. This is basically a more flashier 90’s movie than the original, but as good.

It is action and comedy from go to woe with a lot of familiar faces and tie-ins to the previous instalments and then they splashed in some flashy newcomers and 21st century CGI and action sequences. It’s one of the best buddy films I have seen in years and I will own this one on 4K Blu Ray when it releases,.

Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah direct the film like a giant Miami based music clip – it’s what they know and it suits the franchise. They appear to be directing partners and are known for Dutch film GANGSTA, two episodes of the TV Show SNOWFALL and Wiz Khalifa’s WHEN I GROW UP music video

Bad Boys for Life Joe Pantoliano image
Joe Pantoliano


Everything is tight, slick, fast, pretty and colourful. Action sequences are off the charts and completely ludicrous, I mean you don’t shoot a car on the back of a truck and then it explodes and does a flip in front of another car. It’s so over the top in stages you have to just laugh and go with the flow. Same with the dialogue – it is often times so hysterical and marvellously written you will be crying with laughter but then a lot of the humour falls on its ass.

The writing gets the film over the line and they had a team of writers scribing this. The strength seems to come from Peter Craig. He wrote screenplays for the last two HUNGER GAMES movies, 12 STRONG and the upcoming TOP GUN: MAVERICK. Then there is Joe Carnahan who is probably best known for writing on SMOKIN’ ACES, THE A TEAM and TV Show BLACKLIST. Rounding out the screenplay trio is CHRIS BREMNER who is having his first writing gig in this – no idea how that works.

Their best success was achieving the tone of the originals and they honestly deserve awards for that. The rest is buddy film comedy action at its finest.

Bad Boys for Life Alexander Ludwig image
Alexander Ludwig


The Old Team:

Smith and Lawrence are the flawless Odd Couple you know them for. They fall back into character like putting on an old suit. Same goes to Joe Pantoliano who, as usual, will get a lot of laughs from the audience.

Then it’s all the newcomers. In one scene Mike Lowrey describes Ammo as a “High School Musical Boy Band.” This cracked me up because, as you know, Hudgens is the lead of HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL and she is no boy, the irony is that she is the toughest on the team. It also rings true as together Hudgens, Ludwig and Melton are all so gorgeous they could be a chart topping band.


The newcomers fit in nicely; Vanessa Hudgens does things you never thought she could do. Forget High School Musical – she is more Ellen Ripley in this – AND I NEED TO SEE HER DO MORE ACTION!!! I’ve been a fan of Alexander Ludwig since the bad THE RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN remake and then jumping into VIKINGS – seeing this scrawny little kid go from said scrawny little kid to monster Viking muscleman has been a treat. He has a funny tongue-in-cheek role – I can’t wait to see more of him in BB4. Charles Melton jumps from RIVERDALE to BAD BOYS FOR LIFE with ease. He plays the tough dickhead jock who learns a thing or two and comes around well. From hating on the old school to fist bumping before the finale was cliched but enjoyably so.

Paola Núñez plays Rita, old flame of Mike and head of AMMO, she is good in the role but I got nothing from them in the chemistry department. I would have paid good money to see the love interest being Julie Mott i.e. Téa Leoni – that would have brought the film full circle.

Finally there is the bad guy, the screen stealing super sexy Jacob Scipio. He wore tight leather, was a total badass, had exceptional lighting and was a great match in action hero delivery to Will Smith. Loved him in this. And he isn’t a total bad guy, he also voices Leo on BOB THE BUILDER, well he did from 2015-2018.

Bad Boys for Life Charles Melton and Vanessa Hudgens image
Charles Melton and Vanessa Hudgens


Production on BB4 has already begun and deservedly so. I had no idea the world needed another BAD BOYS but BAD BOYS FOR LIFE changed my mind and now I need to see this franchise re-flourish. Not so awesome news for us is that Michael Bay will be returning to helm BB4.

This is the best film Smith has done in quite a few years, this will re-ignite his career and I can’t wait. See this on the biggest and loudest cinema you can find and appreciate the re-birth of a great dynamic duo. Buy a large popcorn and a large coke and enjoy the ride. Bad Boys out!




Jason King owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. A movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict he is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 26yrs. 

He believes all it takes to make a good movie is a bloody good story, with a little luck the rest should fall in line. He is getting a little sick of saying “story story story” in his reviews with so much shite releasing in the last decade. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.