Why, oh why, oh why? How did ‘one last ride’ turn into ‘okay, one more last ride after the last ride’? It was hard enough for Bad Boys for Life to get made that pushing it through finally after 17 years makes it possible to think that people are going to enjoy it for nostalgic reasons or that they’re going to ask ‘was that it?’ and then somehow work up enough excitement for another sequel to come out in 2022 if things go well. There is such a thing as killing a movie and no matter what the critics or the audience might say, this is how it’s done. Leaving the movie open for a sequel as the plot of the current movie suggests was a decision that could very well help the Bad Boys movies become little more than a series of movies that will eventually go straight to DVD and thereby grant a very dubious end to a story that came out with both guns blazing as it impressed a large number of viewers and left them breathless with the second movie. Already the third is sounding and looking like another excuse for Michael Bay to unleash his big booms and attractive women on the populace once again as people ‘ooh’ and ‘aahh’ to the mayhem and sexual content that’s on display. Kevin Burwick of MovieWeb sounds a little more hopeful than I am about this venture since really I believe that Bad Boys should have stopped at part 2 when Mike and Marcus were still in their prime and could make a movie like this work. Now they’re getting older, they’re getting slower, and are being put in charge of a bunch of younger officers that should by all means be taking over the heavy lifting, but that would obviously be too much for such massive egos to handle.
If there’s anything that frustrates me as a storyteller it’s watching franchises and ideas be ground into the dirt as they’re pushed forward continuously instead of being given a proper ending point or sendoff as needed. Like it or not there are times when some stories need to stop, not necessarily end, and allow the audience to play up in their imagination just what might have happened to the characters. Several franchises and stories have done this, bringing the story to a very pleasing conclusion in which the characters were allowed to move on and experience a triumph or deal with the losses they’d incurred in their own way. In Bad Boys II the general idea was that Marcus and Mike would remain partners, Mike had found love with Marcus’ sister, and the family was more or less okay since they’d killed the bad guys, exposed a drug ring and pretty much destroyed the head of it, and had finally earned a reprieve. But nope, we had to see Mike and Marcus come back since for one reason or another people wanted another sequel that shows the guys having aged a great deal and dealing with other aspects of the job that really don’t appear to be that interesting. Plus, and here’s a spoiler for you, the big twist of this third movie is that Mike had a kid with a woman that he was dallying around with during an assignment, something that wasn’t supposed to happen but did. That’s who’s coming to kill him at the insistence of his mother, the woman that Mike got involved with. It might have been much more interesting if the brother or other relative of one of the drug lords the guys had dealt with in the first two movies had come around to wreak havoc on their lives, but instead we get an unknown individual that throws a serious wrench into Mike’s life and starts messing everything up. Phil Owen and Trey Williams of The Wrap have more to say on the matter.
So what’s next for the Bad Boys? Is there another kid out there that Mike doesn’t know about? Will there actually be a vengeful relative coming back to do some damage? Or will it be something that we don’t see coming again that introduces an entirely different dynamic to the story? There’s nothing wrong with seeing something new, but after 17 years one would hope that the story might have been a little more refined and less about the buddy cops having to deal with the familiar story of getting old and having to deal with the younger cops that are convinced that the old guys don’t have what it takes anymore. I could be wrong, it’s happened more than once after all, but the fourth movie already feels as though it will be another picture about the guys slowing down and finally starting to realize that they might be getting too old for the job and need to find a way to retire gracefully without getting killed in the process. Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter has more to say about the movie.