Bad Boys : Ride or Die

Bad Boys : Ride or Die
Original title:Bad Boys : Ride or Die
Director:Adil & Bilall
Running time:115 minutes
Release date:07 june 2024
This summer, the Bad Boys franchise returns with its iconic blend of explosive action and irreverent humor. But this time, Miami's top cops become America's most wanted men.

Mulder's Review

They're older. Wiser? Maybe not so much. Boyz II are middle-aged men. But do they still have it? That's the question hanging over Bad Boys: Ride or Die, the fourth installment in the long-running action-comedy series starring Martin Lawrence and Will Smith as Miami detectives Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowery. The cinematic saga, which began under Michael Bay's flashy direction in 1995, has undergone several transformations, with Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah taking the reins of this new opus. The duo already breathed new life into the franchise with 2020's Bad Boys for Life, and now they return to see if the magic can be recaptured once more.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die picks up where its predecessor left off, with Marcus and Mike trying to clear the name of their beloved, the late Captain Conrad Howard (Joe Pantoliano), who has been posthumously accused of corruption. This plot forms the basis of a film packed with action sequences and dramatic stakes. However, the sheer number of characters introduced - from Mike's new wife Christine (Melanie Liburd) to Howard's daughter (Rhea Seehorn) and a host of other supporting players - creates a cluttered narrative. This overabundance of characters sometimes distracts from the central dynamic that fans love: the partnership between Marcus and Mike.

It's in the action scenes that Bad Boys: Ride or Die truly shines. Directors Adil and Bilall demonstrate their talent for choreographing intense car chases, explosive shootouts and thrilling hand-to-hand combat. Robrecht Heyvaert's photography captures these moments with dynamic flair, ensuring that the audience remains captivated. From a shootout in a convenience store to a helicopter crash and a confrontation in an abandoned amusement park, the film maintains a high level of kinetic energy. However, some sequences, such as the one where the duo drive a burning van, go beyond the bounds of plausibility, reminding viewers that they are indeed in the realm of Hollywood fantasy.

Despite the film's emphasis on action, the heart of the Bad Boys franchise has always been the chemistry between Martin Lawrence and Will Smith. Their sense of comedy and banter is as sharp as ever, bringing much-needed levity amidst the chaos. Martin Lawrence, in particular, stands out for his comic prowess, delivering lines and expressions that evoke the humor that made the early films so enjoyable. Will Smith, though still charismatic, adopts a more understated role, allowing Lawrence's antics to take center stage. This dynamic works well, even if the humor sometimes seems forced, especially when the script relies too heavily on puerile jokes and hackneyed gags.

The film also attempts to explore deeper themes of mortality and legacy. Marcus' newfound spirituality following a near-death experience adds a unique dimension to his character, giving Martin Lawrence the opportunity to explore another side of his comic persona. Mike, meanwhile, struggles with panic attacks, adding a layer of vulnerability to Will Smith's usually confident persona. These elements, while interesting, often take a back seat to the film's relentless action and spectacle. The plot, full of twists and turns, seems convoluted at times, and the inclusion of a predictable villain (Eric Dane) does little to raise the stakes.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die is a film that knows its audience and delivers what they expect: wild action, comic banter and the enduring partnership of its two protagonists. However, the film's attempt to juggle a sprawling cast and multiple subplots sometimes results in a lack of focus. Although the action sequences are impressively staged and the chemistry between Martin Lawrence and Will Smith remains a strong point, the narrative sometimes gets bogged down in its own ambition. Fans of the franchise will undoubtedly appreciate this nostalgic journey, but those looking for a fresh approach are likely to be left wanting.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die is a mixed experience. It succeeds in delivering the adrenaline-pumping action and humor that fans have come to expect, but it also struggles with an overloaded plot and an over-reliance on familiar tropes. The film reaffirms that even though Marcus and Mike are older and a little frayed around the edges, they still know how to entertain and charm. The franchise faithful will follow or die with them, accepting the film's imperfections for the sake of nostalgia and escapism. However, for the cinematic saga to truly thrive, future installments will need to strike a better balance between action, character development and narrative coherence.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die
Directed by Adil & Bilall
Written by Chris Bremner; Will Beall
Based on Characters by George Gallo
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Will Smith, Chad Oman, Doug Belgrad
Starring Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Paola Núñez, Eric Dane, Ioan Gruffudd, Jacob Scipio, Melanie Liburd, Tasha Smith, Tiffany Haddish, Joe Pantoliano
Cinematography : Robrecht Heyvaert
Edited by Asaf Eisenberg, Dan Lebental
Music by Lorne Balfe
Production companies: Columbia Pictures, Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Westbrook Studios, 2.0 Entertainment
Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing
Release dates : May 22, 2024 (Coca-Cola Arena), June 5, 2024 (France), June 7, 2024 (United States)
Running time : 115 minutes

Seen on June 14, 2024 at Gaumont Disney Village, Salle Imax, seat E19

Mulder's Mark: