Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in a scene from the movie Bad Boys for Life.
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in a scene from the movie Bad Boys for Life. Ben Rothstein

MOVIE REVIEW; Crime-fighting duo still has what it takes


Three stars

Director: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Kate del Castillo

Rating: MA15+

Running time: 124 minutes

Verdict: There's life in this 90s partnership yet


MIAMI'S odd couple cops face off against a merciless Mexican witch in the belated third instalment in the Bad Boys trilogy.

If the drug cartel widow's powerful black magic doesn't get them, her avenging son, Armando (Jacob Scipio), will. The highly trained assassin has a large arsenal, which includes everything from sniper's rifles to grenade launchers, at his disposal. And he's backed by a small army of unusually athletic thugs.

Looking for a lean, mean, socio-realistic crime drama? Then you're definitely in the wrong cinema. Maximum mayhem is this franchise's prime focus, punctuated by the easygoing banter of its two well-matched leads.

Casual sexism and racial stereotyping are just natural by-products of Chris Bremner, Peter Craig and Joe Carnahan's standard-issue screenplay.

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys For Life.
Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys For Life.

Bad Boys For Life picks up the story of long-time sparring partners Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) 17 years after Bad Boys II left off.

Having recently become a grandfather, Burnett decides to hand in his badge. He's tired of the violence. Car chases make him nauseous. And deteriorating eyesight means he can no longer shoot straight.

Lowrey is horrified. Kicking arse is only thing that makes him feel alive. But when the loose-cannon cop is gunned down in the street in an execution-style hit that is very nearly successful, the two men team up for one last pedal-to-the-metal ride through the South Florida city's back streets and alleyways in a bid to bring down the perpetrator.

Joe Pantoliano's long-suffering police chief still has their backs. Adding some fresh blood to the investigation are Mexican actress Paola Nunez, as Lowrey's new boss and love interest, and her specialist team, which includes High School Musical's Vanessa Hudgens.

Bad Boys For Life sticks to the commercially successful formula of the first two films - was there every any other option?

Taking over the helm from franchise originator Michael Bay, Moroccan-born, Belgium-raised filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah are wise enough to play to its twin strengths: explosive action sequences and the unforced chemistry between Smith and Lawrence.

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