Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in 2015 after a screening of “Concussion.”

Christian Tuminski, CFNN Editor/Reporter

With the new Bad Boys for Life movie coming out in theaters soon, it’s a good idea to give ourselves a refresher on the first two movies in the series, the appropriately named Bad Boys and Bad Boys II

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Cover Art for Bad Boys I.

Bad Boys I first hit theaters in 1995, and it was easily a success, earning over $141 million with a $19 million budget. The film introduced the wisecracking cop duo of Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey, played by Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, respectively. 

Set in Miami, the story is centered around a huge drug heist in which drug boss Fouchet (Tchéky Karyo) steals a huge cache of cocaine directly from the department of the main protagonists. Mike and Marcus, as Narcotics detectives, are placed in charge of the investigation and told that they have only 72 hours to come up with evidence to arrest the big bad guy.

Michael Bay’s noticable direction style is prevalent throughout the movie. There is no shortage of fast-paced gunfights, explosions, and car chases in this classic 90’s cop flick. Bad Boys I was the opener of the Bad Boys franchise and achieved much success in audience reviews, but generally received mixed critical ratings.

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Cover Art for Bad Boys II.

Bad Boys II, set eight years after the events of Bad Boys I, yet again focuses on the exploits of Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey investigating a major narcotics case. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence give it their all and deliver an interesting dynamic to the screen, with several quotable lines, including the namesake for the title of Bad Boys III: “We ride together, we die together, Bad Boys for Life.”

Michael Bay delivers, once again, his characteristic explosion-ridden style to the screen. The movie starts with a fast-paced gunfight and has tons more, including a climactic ending gunfight scene with Johnny Tapia (Jordi Mollà)’s henchmen. Car chases, gunfights, vulgar language – Bad Boys II has it all. It’s no wonder Danny Butterman (Nick Frost, Hot Fuzz) likes the film so much!

Bad Boys II received mostly negative ratings from critics, but audiences worldwide loved the film, so it is obviously left to the eye of the beholder to determine if the film is worthwhile or not. With a budget of $130 million, the movie received $273.3 million at the box office, and was obviously successful enough that it warranted a sequel!

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Cover Art for Bad Boys For Life.

Bad Boys For Life hit theaters on January 17, 2020. Apparently, the critics have warmed to the legendary performances of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and the duo has kept the audience in their good graces, for despite having different directors (Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah), it is the first in the series to receive generally positive ratings from critics.

Rotten Tomatoes, who gave Bad Boys II a score of 23%, gave Bad Boys for Life a score of 77%. Audience scores are up to 93% from Bad Boys II’s 92%.  The movie had a $90 million budget and received $215 million at the box office.

I won’t reveal any plot information here in the interest of preserving the movie’s thrills, so my advice is to go out and see the movie immediately. Bad Boys for Life!