For the first 45 minutes of Bad Boys For Life, the film’s supporting characters try their hardest to dissuade Will Smith’s Mike Lowry from picking up the badge and gun again. You can’t help but wish he’d listened to them.
Close to retirement and finding their methods outdated, Lowry and Burnett are old, they’re fat and they’re slow, but much worse, they’ve been sent a lumpen script full of eye-rollingly expository dialogue.
They even drafted in DJ Khaled, who it has to be said, makes a spirited job of his gangster-turned-butcher informant. Inexplicably though, he manages to complete his scene without ever saying the magic words.
There are returns for old characters and a sense of nostalgia for the past, with call backs to the previous two movies, which makes it all the more annoying that this lacks the energy that made Bad Boys so deliriously enjoyable and the bombast of Bad Boys II.
The action sequences especially look weak when you compare them to the elegant artistry of the violence in, say, John Wick. And let’s not even get started with Will Smith’s wardrobe.
Yet, despite all this, it’s hard not to be won over by the time the credits roll.
Thanks in no small part to Martin Lawrence’s comic timing, Bad Boys For Life had the audience we were in laughing and gasping along with it.
But it’s very much a movie of two halves. The first isn't sure whether to play it straight or push for laughs.
The second, thankfully, appears to have resolved the movie’s indentity crisis, settling on an action-comedy with an emphasis on the latter. It delivers several genuine laughs in between the action, including a crass but nonetheless hilarious riff on witches.
It also set things up for a whole new branch of sequels, which is perhaps where the title came from.
Because if this installment is to be believed, we're going to be watching Bad Boys movies for life.