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Review: Bad Boys: Ride or Die (2024)

Bad Boys: Ride or Die (2024)

Directed by: Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

Premise: The fourth Bad Boys film. The late Captain Howard is implicated in a corruption investigation. Detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett (Will Smith and Martin Lawrence) are framed and go on the run.

What Works: 2020’s Bad Boys for Life brought a fresh approach to the series, retaining the core appeals of these films while deepening the characters and reining in the excesses of the first two installments. Bad Boys: Ride or Die follows the lead of the third installment and it’s a satisfying follow up. The filmmakers advance the returning characters while remaining true to the previous films. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are still very funny together and their characters Lowrey and Burnett each face new personal issues. Lowrey has some anxiety over the death of Captain Howard and he’s gotten married which gives him something to lose. Burnett suffers a heart attack and his near-death experience gives him an altered perspective on life. The Bad Boys series has carried forward many of the supporting characters as well and that has become one of the appealing aspects of this franchise. One of the most satisfying moments of Ride or Die is an action sequence involving Burnett’s son-in-law Reggie (Dennis Mcdonald). The scene feels like a payoff to a joke that’s been set up over the course of three films. The action sequences of Ride or Die are quite well done. The set pieces of the Michael Bay directed Bad Boys films were excessive to the point that they became off putting; filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah have a good sense for how far to push the style while preserving the film’s credibility. Ride or Die also has some visuals we wouldn’t typically associate with a buddy cop film, borrowing elements from a variety of influences including surreal filmmaking and first-person shooter video games, which collectively gives this picture a distinct look. The style and the emphasis on character make Ride or Die a lot of fun.

What Doesn’t: Bad Boys: Ride or Die has a large cast but the filmmakers struggle to give the female characters meaningful things to do. With a couple of exceptions, the women of Ride or Die are sidelined. They tend to run away or cower while the male characters take action. Rhea Seehorn plays Captain Howard’s daughter and a US Marshall, and the film squanders Seehorn. Her subplot adds little to the movie and the filmmakers can’t find anything worthy for her to do. The plotting has some problems with continuity; characters tend to show up in places for no reason especially in the climax. 

Bottom Line: Bad Boys: Ride or Die is a satisfying action sequel. The filmmakers create a story that’s of a piece with the rest of the series but fresh enough to justify its own existence.

Episode: #1000 (June 16, 2024)