Dir: Adil & Bilall
Strring Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Joe Pantiliano, Kate del Castillo
After a 17 year between sequels hiatus, Will Smith actually looks younger here than his digitally enhanced self did in Gemini Man, whilst Martin Lawrence just looks fat and is as unfunny as before.
Yet Bad Boys 3 is by no means the money grab or big fail that it could’ve been. Belgian directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah may have replaced Michael Bay (who gives his seal of approval with a cameo here) but they retain his penchant for pastel Miami sunsets, 180-shots of our heroes with double guns, airplanes flying over the Miami airport sign, and gratuitous use of slo-mo (often for no reason other than they think it looks cool – it only occasionally does.) Oh, and they also display a fondness for daft plots – Smith’s Mike Lowry is being targeted by a Mexican drug cartel (for reasons that will become stupidly apparent) and Lawrence’s Marcus has retired and enjoys spa days.
Needless to say, they get back together for the inevitable “one last time”, whilst Smith seems determined to quote the film’s title at any given occasion.
Yes, it’s excessive – there is a helicopter battle scene that makes no sense, and a climax that borders on a volcanic abyss; yes, it’s often plain silly – at one point it ventures into a Miami suburb straight out of Mad Max with little or no explanation.
But it also – and this surprised us – has a degree of charm, largely in the way it allows its two well established leads to run and play with their undeniable chemistry. It’s a big action movie that remembers character alongside its numerous explosions.
And as its central duo age, it reminds us how the action movie has moved on in the intervening years. The name of the late Don Simpson on the titles may serve as homage, but it also instantly serves to date this movie. The likes of John Wick and Hobbs and Shaw are now the state of the art. This by comparison is something of an action dinosaur. But it’s a surprisingly effective one, nonetheless.