Bad Boys: Ride or Die (2024) – Sony’s Successful Fourth Installment

The box office numbers are in, and Sony’s “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” has made a thunderous debut. This fourth entry in the Will Smith and Martin Lawrence-led buddy cop series raked in $56 million from 3,885 theaters in its domestic opening weekend. Additionally, the film garnered $48.6 million internationally, pushing its worldwide total to an impressive $104.6 million.

Revisiting the “Bad Boys” Franchise

“Bad Boys: Ride or Die” serves as a sequel to 1995’s “Bad Boys,” 2003’s “Bad Boys II,” and 2020’s “Bad Boys for Life.” Notably, this marks Will Smith’s return to the big screen since the infamous 2022 Oscars incident. Despite the controversy, audiences still flock to see Smith in a franchise that has proven itself to be resilient and well-loved.

The original “Bad Boys,” directed by Michael Bay, introduced us to the dynamic duo of Mike Lowry (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), two Miami detectives with a knack for finding trouble. The film’s high-octane action and comedic banter set the tone for the series, making it a box office hit and justifying sequels that built on the original’s success.

Bad Boys Relentless Plot Pace From Beginning to End

The film begins with Mike Lowry and Marcus Burnett racing through Miami’s streets to get to Mike’s wedding. An ill-timed convenience store stop leads to a shootout, setting the tone for the movie’s relentless pace. From there, the story centers around the duo uncovering a conspiracy involving their late Captain Howard, some cartel money, and a mysterious new enemy.

While the plot promises intrigue, it’s the action that takes center stage. The film rushes through its narrative, leaving little space for character moments or emotional beats. This may appeal to fans seeking pure adrenaline, but it leaves the story feeling shallow.

Notable Scenes and Technical Brilliance

Despite its shortcomings, “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” boasts a few standout moments. One involves Reggie (Dennis McDonald) defending Marcus’ family from kidnappers, a scene that showcases El Arbi and Fallah’s ability to blend innovative cinematography with intense choreography. The use of CCTV footage adds a unique flair, making the sequence memorable.

Another notable scene mimics the perspective of a first-person shooter game, effectively capturing the tension and immediacy of the situation. This innovative approach highlights the directors’ technical prowess, even if the film overall struggles to balance style and substance.

The Cast and Their Performances

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return to their iconic roles with varying degrees of success. Smith, though not at his peak, manages to bring energy and charisma to the screen. His portrayal of Mike Lowry remains engaging, carrying much of the film’s weight.

Lawrence, on the other hand, seems to struggle. His once sharp comedic timing feels forced, and his over-the-top performance detracts from the film’s overall impact. The chemistry between the two leads, while still present, lacks the spark that made the earlier films so enjoyable.

Breakout Roles

Jacob Scipio, who plays Armando, Mike’s estranged son, delivers a commendable performance, adding depth to the otherwise fast-paced narrative. His character’s involvement in the plot provides a personal connection that somewhat grounds the story amidst the chaos.

The Comedy: A Hit or Miss

Comedy has always been a hallmark of the “Bad Boys” franchise, blending humor with action. Unfortunately, “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” struggles in this department. The jokes often feel dated or fall flat, failing to capture the charm of the previous films. Lawrence’s attempts at humor come off as more annoying than amusing, while Smith manages to salvage some scenes with his natural charisma.

A Legacy of Action-Comedy

“Bad Boys: Ride or Die” firmly positions itself within the action-comedy genre, staying true to the franchise’s roots. The film’s emphasis on high-stakes action and comedic elements appeals to fans of old-school action movies, though it does little to innovate within the genre.

Famous Lines and Context

The “Bad Boys” series is known for its memorable quotes. Here are some standout lines from “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” and their context:

  1. “Ride together, die together.” – This line, a recurring motto for Mike and Marcus, underscores their unwavering partnership.
  2. “You forgot your ginger ale.” – Said by Mike to Marcus during the convenience store shootout, highlighting their humorous dynamic even in dire situations.
  3. “We ain’t done yet.” – Mike’s declaration during a pivotal action sequence, emphasizing their relentless pursuit of justice.
  4. “I’m too old for this!” – Marcus lamenting the physical demands of their job, a nod to the character’s age and long-standing career.
  5. “Welcome to Miami, b**!”** – A classic Mike Lowry line, delivered with swagger during a confrontation.
  6. “Family first, always.” – Marcus prioritizing his family’s safety, reflecting his character’s growth.
  7. “This ain’t over.” – The antagonist’s threat, setting up future conflicts.
  8. “Bad boys for life.” – Reaffirming their commitment to each other and their mission.
  9. “We do it our way.” – Mike’s defiance of protocol, showcasing his rebellious nature.
  10. “Let’s finish this.” – The duo gearing up for the final showdown, underscoring their determination.

Should You Watch “Bad Boys: Ride or Die”?

“Bad Boys: Ride or Die” isn’t without its flaws. The frenetic pace, limited character development, and hit-or-miss comedy might deter some viewers. However, for fans of the franchise and those seeking an action-packed, nostalgic ride, it delivers exactly what it promises. Despite the controversy surrounding Will Smith, the film’s box office success proves that audiences are still eager for the high-octane adventures of Mike and Marcus.

So, if you’re a fan of the “Bad Boys” series or enjoy action-comedies with a nostalgic touch, “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” is worth a watch. Just be prepared for a fast-paced, thrill-a-minute experience that prioritizes spectacle over substance.

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