Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

“Bad Boys: Ride or Die”: The cult series returns. However, something is missing here

  • Series “Bad Boys” started in 1995. It was then that we met the crazy and funny Miami policemen, brilliantly played by Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Now the fourth part is released in cinemas, in which Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett learn that facts have been revealed indicating that the late Captain Howard committed crimes throughout his life. The Bad Boys vow to clear his name. Even if it means being targeted by the cartel and the police.
  • The “Bad Boys” franchise grossed $841 million worldwide. Movie “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” debuted on Polish cinema screens on June 7. Watch the trailer!

From the first part in 1995, I felt great sympathy for both the film and the director Michael Bay. Serious critics, of course, distance themselves from the creator of “The Fortress”, “Pearl Harbor”, “Armageddon” and five productions about Transformers. Nevertheless, I liked Bay with his entertaining approach to cinema. It is a lively, music video cinema, accompanied by an energetic and catchy music track, always at a crazy pace, impressive, without unnecessary scenes and unnecessary lengths. The essence of a screen spectacle. With humor, maybe not refined, but useful and at the right moment. Bay simply introduced a new quality to mainstream cinema, to action cinema. He gave his own dynamic definition of a blockbuster.

Why do I devote so much space to the creator of the first two? “Bad Boys”? Because if there's anything missing in the fourth part, made by the duo of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, it's Michael Bay. Interestingly, it wasn't as noticeable in the third painting, titled “Bad Boys for Life”. However, it is now, but we will return to this issue later.

“Bad Boys: Ride from Die” are to a large extent a continuation of the previous installment, hence Jacob Scipio also returns to the cast, playing the role of Armando Aretas, the son of Mike himself’and Lowrey, played of course by Will Smith. In the previous title, Armando caused a lot of bloodshed with our hero, next to Mike’and also his inseparable partner Marcus Burnett, whose hero Martin Lawrence always had fun with. Above all, however, Lowrey's firstborn took the life of Captain Howard, played with great temperament by Joe Pantoliano. Today he is in prison, serving a long sentence. However, the past does not let us forget. People cooperating with the cartels for which Aretas worked, wanting to cover the traces of this company, first cast a shadow of suspicion on the deserving but dead Howard, secondly they try to get rid of those who could recognize them, and one of them is son Mike’and Lowrey. You can guess what will happen next, it's best to delve into the details of the script in the cinema hall.

The thing is that Mr. Adil El Arbi and Mr. Bilall Fallah are working hard to make it all come to life on the screen. And at the same time, it was still light, funny, distant and very relaxed. However, some time has passed since 1995. This passage also applies to the characters themselves. These are not the same people as almost thirty years ago. Of course, there are a lot of those bad boys in them, but time takes its toll. They are not yet convinced, like the characters in “Lethal Weapon”, that they are too old for this, but both gentlemen already have some thoughts, decisions and a different way of looking at the world. And this translates into what we see on the screen.

The two directors weave this familiar web, a pattern that applies throughout the series, where two friends are a contrast to each other. This is where the main comedy accent is built and the tension between the characters is fueled. This brings the action-packed story to life. And we seem to get it, but it's hard to resist the impression that all this is happening with the brake on. That there is no such fluidity and freedom as with Michael Bay. That it has all lost its freshness and there is no idea. This snowball is rolling, gaining speed, and yet there remains a feeling of some dissatisfaction, even disappointment. At least for the writer of these words.

Yet El Arbi and Fallah are trying their best. Their action sequences are mind-blowing. The camera flies and is in constant motion. We are like being put on a roller coaster. It's true that I find the FPS approach somewhat outdated and kitschy, but game fans may have different feelings. These are only trifles, however, because generally, when the action is set in motion, the bullets are whizzing and the tires are squealing, we sit even more comfortably in this chair.

Or maybe “Bady Boys: Rode or Die” not surprising on a comedic level? What did Bay do so well, and what his successors clearly did not continue, affects the final effect? Both directors seem confident that the comedy scenes will take care of themselves, thanks to the charisma of the franchise's two stars, Smith and Lawrence’a. And sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.

It is difficult to write and evaluate (after all, the assessment is up to each viewer) such a film where, in your personal opinion, something is missing by a hair's breadth. Where some things are hard to pinpoint, but you feel them. There's no boredom, that's for sure. The comparison simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny, but that doesn't mean the film is doomed to failure. Still nice to meet the impossible not to like Bad Boys once again. And the fact that a film leaves the viewer with a certain amount of ambivalent feelings is always just individual preferences.


“Bad Boys: Ride or Die”, dir. Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, USA 2024, distributor: UIP, cinema premiere: June 7, 2024.