“BAD BOYS IV : Ride Or Die” Review

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Miami’s Finest are now it’s most wanted, says the tag line, ironically becoming the literal “Bad Boys” of Miami as they become outlaws on the run for the first time in the nearly 30 year franchise’s 4th installment, Bad Boys: Ride or Die (2024).

We see the return of super cops and detectives, Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, played by Will Smith and Martin Lawrence showcasing that lightning in a bottle chemistry and charisma, in the roles that helped turn them from young comedic TV stars to superstars on the big screen. Bad Boys (1995),Bad Boys II (2003) and now legends imbedded in popular culture and known all over the world, along with other iconic buddy cop movies such as, “48 Hours,” “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Lethal Weapon” and “Rush Hour.”

What made Bad Boys newest installment great is its exploring the characters 30 year journey. In “Bad Boys: For Life” (2020) they explore time and evolving time and getting older and Mike Lowrey’s past with the revelation he had a son Armando Aretas (Jacob Scipio). Hee never knew about the son, with whom he had with his former lover and drug cartel boss Isabel Aretas ( Kate Del Castillo) — he had an affair with and was responsible for Mike being shot while undercover over 24 years previously as a young cop recruited by Captain Conrad Howard, who was killed after Isabel Aretas put a bounty on everyone who helped put her in prison and was out for vengeance. Armando shot Mike, his own father, really elevated emotions, and stakes higher then ever, lead to Isabel being killed and Armando having to serve time for his crimes.

Ironically during their press tour in a interview segment with Jimmy Fallon called True Confessions, Martin Lawrence confessed that he was originally offered “Rush Hour” to star with Jackie Chan after he had a cameo on his TV show ‘Martin.

Martin Lawrence said :

“He did my show. So we talked somewhere in between there… We talked in person. Then, we had a dinner at Mr Chow,”

Lawrence stated why he turned it down : “there wasn’t enough money” 

Though he was happy for fellow comedian Chris Tucker, adding: “I was happy for Chris. I was like, ‘That’s what it was supposed to be. Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan,’ and they brought a beautiful franchise with ‘Rush Hour,’”

Film’s directors, Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah do a great job of moving the franchise forward and making it personal and connecting storylines from all the Bad Boys movies previously together. They seamlessly, supple beautiful, rich colour in it’s cinematography and capture Miami with new and fresh energy.

A few years have passed since the events of “Bad Boys For Life.” Mike has just gotten married to Christine (Melanie Liburd) and is finally leaving his playboy lifestyle and embracing family life, and Marcus is content on slowing down and enjoying life as a grandfather. But things begin to take a dark turn when Marcus has a heart attack at Mike’s wedding. After he recovers, the experience completely changes his outlook on his life, becoming unburdened and free to become care-free, a loose cannon and more rebellious. Meanwhile, Mike becomes less gung-ho and concerned about the consequences of his actions while still carrying the guilt of Captain Howard being killed and the effects on his family and friends.

Things get even worse when Captain Conrad Howard (Joe Pantoliano) is accused of being a dirty and crooked cop. Detectives Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) race to clear his name, but as they dive further into the case, they found out that corruption in the Miami Police Department runs deep and goes back 20 years. Captain Howard was secretly investigating this, linking to drugs and gangs going all the way to the top, they coincidentally get framed as well and have to go on the run with Mike’s son, Armando Aretas (Jacob Scipio). They will have to face the biggest storm of their lives. They have to go on the run from The Miami Police Department, FBI, US Marshals, including every gang in the city with a bounty for their capture going for millions.

Its a fascinating dynamic as Smith and Lawrence both swap roles in a way. Marcus becomes the maverick and Mike becomes the cautious one. The Academy Award winner Will Smith shows the charisma that made him a movie star for over 30 years, and Martin Lawrence shows his comedic genius and timing as one of the best onscreen comedic actors I have ever seen along with the likes of Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy, and Richard Pryor showcasing a visceral, earnest and honesty which is rare to get on screen. He is hilarious in every scene he appears in and almost steals all the scenes.

Two stand out action scenes are one of Mike’s son Armando’s prison fight in the prison yard, showcasing his speed and ability to use anything as a weapon, such as weights. Also there’s Marcus’s marine son-in-law, Reggie played by Dennis McDonald, who has to protect the Lawrence family from a home invasion in brutal fashion from gun-wielding thugs, dispatching them in brutal and efficient fashion with his elite military training, gaining the upmost respect and love from Mike and Martin.

The potential for a Armando and Reggie team-up sounds fun for a new generation of Bad Boys and future installments, as I speak, “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” is the number one film in the world in theatres. Paola Nuñez (Rita), Alexander Ludwig (Dorn) and Vanessa Hudgens (Kelly) return as police tech team AMMO, joining the Bad Boys Universe is Ioan Grufford who plays Rita’s husband DA: Lockwood. That iconic theme song (Bad Boys), originally performed by reggae band Inner Circle in the late 80’s and 90’s has become just as legendary a theme as The Bad Boys Franchise itself.

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