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Bad Boys Returns, And Is That Good?



Bad Boys For Life

Starring Will  Smith, Martin Lawrence

Directed  by Adill & Billal

Rating: **

17 years after their last  outing,the  newly  reunited Will Smith and  Martin  Lawrence, Bad Boys now pushing  50, are  back together.

And  I wish  they weren’t.

Bad Boys For Life is  a purposeless  pilgrimage into a fast and  spurious franchise which has long  lost its sheen and relevance. Yes, the crackling(and hissing) chemistry between   Smith and Lawrence  is intact.And some of  their   barbed exchanges  in this superfluous  sequel’s preamble are  genuinely warm and funny.

Smith’s determination to carry on with his  machismo act based on  the   dog-eared  badge, and  Lawrence’s  resolve  to retire (Smith has Lawrence  stored  on his phone as ‘Quitter’)  are  adeptly played out.

But then, sigh, the plot kicks in. And  the kick is  a joke.It’s as banal as any  sequel trying to stay relevant long after its peak time is done. The villains , the  partycrashers  so to speak, is a mother-son drug-cartel   played by  Kate del Castillo and Jacob Scipio who behave more like lovers than parent and child. Definitely something very Electra  about this pair. And that’s fine. The Bad Boys franchise is  about boy-zoning all the way to borderline homosexuality.

Speaking  of the mother and son evil caucus, they speak only Spanish and  it’s okay not to read the subtitles.  They say nothing that we  don’t already know about wanting to kill every  authority  in the American  bureaucracy  who ever  came in their way. Will Smith is gunned down very early in the narrative. We don’t hold our breath as he  fights for his.

No one  seriously believes Will Smith die  on the script  15 minutes  into the narrative. No surprises for most  of  the  film even when  key  characters are  gunned down.Towards  the  end there is a BIG REVELATION meant to  shake us out of our popcorny indolence. But the revelation had me laughing  most unintentionally. Who writes such outlandish tripe in this day and age when cinema is no longer only about  fast cars and cheap thrills?

Evidently  cinematic renaissance  has not reached the architects  of  the Bad Boys series. I expected  Will Smith to know better. His last  film Gemini Man  where he  played his  own son, was  a far more fresh take on  the politics of  comicbook violence. Bad Boys For Life  is at best, a time-passer  to be seen when  you don’t get tickets to 1917 or Jojo Rabbit. Or  if you are  a diehard Will Smith  fan  who doesn’t mind watching the Superstar struggling to stay afloat in a  product that expired while we were  watching Logan’s Run.

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