Bad Boys for Life

Released in 2020. Written by Chris Bremner, Peter Craig, & Joe Carnahan. Directed by Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah. Starring Will Smith & Martin Lawrence. Running time 2 hours 4 minutes.


The film opens with Mike (Will Smith) and Marcus (Martin Lawrence) driving like maniacs through the city of Miami with police cars chasing them. They get to the hospital and run inside where it’s revealed Marcus’ daughter is giving birth and the baby is named after him.

Meanwhile, in a Mexican prison, Isabel Aretas (Kate del Castillo) creates a diversion to attract the female guard. Once the guard gets close, Isabel stabs her with a knife sending the other inmates into a frenzy. Isabel escapes out a nearby door where her son Armando (Jacob Scipio) is waiting for her. They make a plan to get revenge on Mike for the death of Isabel’s husband Benito. Later, when Armando is making a drug deal, the gangsters try to double cross him. He manages to retaliate and kill the bad guys then asks if the remaining gangsters want to work for him. They agree.

In Miami, Mike, Marcus, and their fellow officers hang out at a bar celebrating Marcus’ new grand baby. Marcus tells Mike it’s time for him to slow down and enjoy life; but Mike wants no part of slowing down. Mike’s ex Rita ( Paola Nuñez) shows up and tells him she’s been promoted as lead of AMMO (Advanced Miami Metro Operations). Mike thinks it would be a great gig but Marcus says no. Mike says he’ll give it up if Marcus can beat him in a foot race, if Marcus cannot then Marcus has to stay on the force. While they’re outside running down the street, Armando (all dressed in black) rides up and shoots Mike. He gets away and everyone gathers around Mike to save him.

While Mike is in critical condition, Marcus prays for his recovery. Rita and her team Kelly (Vanessa Hudgens), Dorn (Alexander Ludwig), and Rafe (Charles Melton) try to figure out who shot Mike.

In Mexico, Isabel chastises Armando for shooting Mike as she wants him to suffer while watching all the others on her hit list to be killed first. They kill a judge, a prosecutor, and forensic analyst in connection to Benito’s death.

Six months later, Mike is almost recovered and attends the wedding of Marcus’ daughter where he gives a speech declaring his mission of finding who shot him and murdered the officials. Captain Howard ( Joe Pantoliano) says no to Mike working the case but agrees to let him ride along with the AMMO team.

Mike has a hard time being there without being in charge. The team goes to observe a drug drop but Mike senses something wrong so he takes off on his own to check it out. A shootout starts and the informant they were watching dies before Mike can get any info from him. In the meantime, Marcus gets a call from an informant who claims he’s being followed by Armando. By the time Marcus and Mike get to his place to see what’s up, Remy is thrown off the roof onto the car Mike and Marcus just got out of. Mike takes off to catch whoever did it and gets in a scuffle with Armando.

Later, while at a baseball game, Mike and Marcus are talking with their captain when a bullet zings by and hits their captain in the throat. Armando gets away and the captain dies. At the funeral, Marcus decides to help Mike find Armando.

Mike and Marcus visit a bookie for information and get the name Zway-Lo (Nicky Jam) as a potential link to Armando. Mike, Marcus, and the AMMO team go the club where Zway-Lo hangs out to catch him. Zway-Lo gets away with Mike and Marcus on his tail. A motorcycle and machine gun chase later…Zway-Lo grabs a helicopter ladder to get away and Mike is right behind him (or underneath). Armando shoots Zway-Lo so he falls off the ladder and get a shot at Mike. Mike lets go of the ladder but not before Armando says, “Hasta La Fuego”.

At AMMO headquarters, Mike tells the team Isabel is behind all of this. Years ago, when he was in the academy, he was undercover in Mexico and had a relationship with Isabel. He had her thrown in jail when her husband was killed. Hasta La Fuego was a saying they had together and Mike realizes Armando is his son.

Mike and Isabel agree to meet up in Mexico. Mike, Marcus, and the AMMO team head down to get set up. Isabel has Mike meet her in a abandoned hotel where they used to go. After some chit chat about Armando, Benito, and her revenge plot, a shootout starts between Isabel’s people and the AMMO team. After a helicopter crashes into the middle of the structure, a fire erupts causing everyone to try to get out. Mike confronts Armando and tells him he’s his father. Armando asks his mother and she confirms the fact. Isabel tries to shoot Mike but Armando jumps in the way and gets shot in the shoulder. Rita shoots Isabel causing her to fall into the fire. Marcus almost falls in the fire too but Armando and Mike save him.

Back in Miami, Rita is promoted to Captain, Mike and Marcus sing the Bad Boys theme song to the baby, with Mike later talking to Armando in jail about a chance to make up for his crimes.

What I Liked

I like action, car sequences, and the familiarity of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. They are obviously having fun. All the elements are there– over the hill cops who don’t realize they’re over the hill, super tight chase scenes, larger than life action…

I liked Kate del Castillo (Isabel) and Jacob Scipio (Armando). They were the only two actors who felt genuine.

The story was basically decent considering it was full of formula plot points. Everything connected and there weren’t any real major plot holes. Kind of a connect the dots with some action and a twist…

What I Wished Was Better

Part of me feels like Will Smith showed up to Martin Lawrence’s house one day and said, “Dude, they want to make another Bad Boys movie! What do you think?” and Martin says, “Bro, I’m too old for that s**t. I need a movie where I can play a family man.” Will says, “I gotchoo! We’ll have them write it so you don’t have to do too much and I’ll run around like I’m 20 again fighting young guys!” Martin says, “Okay :)”

Oh man, clearly the script has dialogue issues. I seriously do not know who the actors made it through saying some of this. I was going to give examples but I can’t bring myself to actually type it it’s so bad. Considering it had three writers, I’m not surprised. Too many cooks in the kitchen…

Also, Mike is recovered, sitting in a wheelchair in the wedding scene but a day (or two) later, he’s running around fighting much younger guys, getting banged around like nothing? Yeah, okay. Not even a limp? A scratch? No? Okay, yeah…

Most of the actors felt like they didn’t want to be there. Maybe it was the dialogue, I don’t know, but Joe Pantoliano looked like he wanted to be somewhere else in every scene. Even Smith and Lawrence had the air of “I can’t believe I have to say these shi**y lines…”during their scenes.

Final Thoughts

It’s clear the directors are huge fans of the original Bad Boys movie and they did their best to pay homage to the Mike and Marcus relationship as well as give the guys some cool action sequences and age-appropriate situations. Even though the dialogue is atrocious, the action and relationship between Smith and Lawrence keep the film fun to watch. I rented it from RedBox. Probably available to stream. Watch the trailer below:

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