‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’ are Destined on the Road to Nowhere

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO –“Bad Boys: Ride Or Die,” the fourth in this series, is a big budget clunker that’s clearing coasting on fumes. A wheezy Martin Lawrence, and a post-slap Will Smith, are trying to recapture some of their former box office glory by trying to milk their still considerable chemistry for all its worth. The best that can be said is that it’s less of an interminable slog than I thought it would be.

Part of that is due to directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah who do their best Michael Bay imitation, as Mike (Will Smith) is now getting ready to settle down to life as a married man. Marcus (Martin Lawrence) then has a heart attack at the reception and wakes up from a coma with a new found zest for life.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

The plot … such as it is … has their foul mouthed deceased captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano) being framed for being a mixed-up-with-drug-cartels dirty cop. However he sends them videotaped messages from beyond the grave detailing his own investigation to root out the dirty cops. This leads to the Bad Boys being on the run and framed for crimes they didn’t commit.

But it’s not like anyone cares about the plot. This is a movie that treats manic gunfights and Martin Lawrence’s seemingly never ending quest for junk food with the same amount of gravitas, which is none at all. At one point, Lawrence takes cover in a gunfight right below a giant bowl of jelly beans that fall in slow motion into his mouth as bullets fly.

The movie gets by by focusing intently on the long running chemistry between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. While Lawrence-as-Marcus was clearly pining for his recliner in the last installment, in “Bad Boys: Ride Or Die” he’s managed to embrace the “getting too old for this shit” and score a few laughs in the process. This mostly involves him telling Smith-as-Mike about visions he had of the afterlife … where Mike was a particularly stubborn donkey that Marcus owned.

Will Smith shows he’s still got game as well, doling out one liners and frustrated looks in equal measure. The script they’re handed does them no favors – with one particularly clunky line about ding dongs that made me wonder how it got into the script at all. The reveal of the villain should come as a surprise to absolutely no one over the age of eight. This leads up to a finale in an abandoned amusement park that gives off serious Scooby Doo vibes.

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in ‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

Directors Adil and Bilall throw everything including the kitchen sink to keep things moving along. Their sequences may be hyperactive, but at least they’re somewhat coherent. I didn’t expect much from “Bad Boys: Ride or Die,” but at least I wasn’t bored. It’s not particularly good, or memorable, but it does move along at a good clip so you don’t have time to dwell on it.

”Bad Boys: Ride or Die” is in theaters June 7th. Featuring Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Tiffany Haddish and Joe Pantoliano. Written by Chris Bremner and Will Beall. Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. Rated “R”

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters


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