Bad Boys Proves Some Franchises Stay Around Way Too Long

By Shanna Mathews-Mendez | Updated

Bad Boys: Ride or Die was just a bad idea. It’s two hours of explosions, attempts at comedy that falls flat, and absurd situations. At some point, we have to just let these franchises go, right? 

The Strong Appeal Of Nostalgia

bad boys for life

I had to choose my Tuesday night movie, and it was between Bad Boys: Ride or Die and The Watchers, the directorial debut of Ishana Night Shyamalan, M. Night Shyamalan’s daughter. I chose Bad Boys out of pure nostalgia and the fact that The Watchers was getting terrible reviews. I figured, at the very least, Bad Boys would be entertaining in a Jerry Bruckheimer kind of way.

I wasn’t wrong. There were plenty of explosions, unrealistic fight scenes, and ridiculous one-liners. I didn’t fall asleep, and I don’t regret spending the $5 for my discount Tuesday ticket. The biggest problem I have with the fourth Bad Boys film is that it’s tired, it’s trying way too hard, and it feels like extremely lazy writing and acting. 

Why Bad Boys Works

will smith

When I saw the first Bad Boys movie, I was a huge fan of both Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. I also love buddy cop movies. This one checked all my boxes.

Oh, it’s also set in Miami, and the director, Michael Bay, did an excellent job of showcasing the beauty of this magnificent city. The chemistry between Mike Lowrey (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) was fun, engaging, and inherently watchable. 

Mike is a rich, playboy who has chosen life as a Miami Police Department detective out of a sense of honor and righteousness. Marcus is a working-class detective with a family to support, living in a cute three-bedroom house in the suburbs with his strong-willed, sharp-as-a-whip wife and their small kids. The bad boys have been friends and partners for years, and their dynamic is an engaging one; Mike has a huge ego and acts the playboy part and Marcus is the put-upon goofball.  

The Premise Is Played Out

Bad Boys ride or die

By the fourth film, these bad boys are exhausting to watch. The premise of the film is highly implausible. Mike apparently now has a kid, a grown man who is a killer for a cartel, locked up in a max security prison. Mike and Marcus’ captain is now dead (because Mike’s son killed him), and is posthumously being set up to look dirty by some corrupt members of the government. Mike has to get his kid out of jail to ID the corrupt guys, and Marcus has to help him. 

Bad Boys Gone Bonkers

Bad Boys

But wait! Marcus has a heart attack on the dance floor, has a vision of the afterlife, and is now convinced that he can’t die. He also spends the entire movie telling Mike about their past lives and their eternal status as soul mates. The bad boys have gone bonkers.

Again, I was entertained enough to be shaking my head in the theater in disbelief that these movies are still being made, but I wouldn’t recommend it to most moviegoers. There are better films to see. Give Shyamalan’s daughter a chance.  

Nostalgia Isn’t Enough

Bad Boys ride or die


I give Bad Boys: Ride or Die points for the sake of nostalgia and for reminding me how beautiful Miami is. I’d also love to see Martin Lawrence do more, with a writer and director who could better utilize a man of his comedic talents. I could do without another Will Smith appearance for a while.