Bad Boys is one of the most interesting movie franchises of the last 25 years. The first film proved Will Smith could carry a franchise, made Michael Bay a hot-shot director and pigeon-holed Martin Lawrence as the Ernie to Smith’s Bert for the next quarter-century. The sequel, uniquely titled Bad Boys II, was released eight years after the original. While Bad Boys II is arguably one of Michael Bay’s most fascinating and divisive movies, the franchise would remain dormant for the better part of another 17 years. Even though it hasn’t remained that way for a lack of trying, the latest entry in the franchise – Bad Boys For Life – has finally arrived in theaters. While a new pair of filmmakers have taken over the reins of the franchise, the question still remains: is the threequel worth the nearly two-decade wait? Let’s find out in our latest installment of Mandatory Movie Battles between Bad Boys II and Bad Boys For Life [cue theme song].
While each of the movies in the Bad Boys franchise has its own merits, there’s no doubt that the latest film is the most refined and effective entry of the entire series. If the original film was a fun buddy cop procedural and Bad Boys II was a balls-to-the-wall action thrill ride, then the latest entry somehow manages to find an effective symbiosis between the two. In essence, Bad Boys For Life is the type of film that understands the strengths and weaknesses of the franchise. As a result, the movie plays into the many strengths of the franchise, while also minimizing its many weaknesses.