A Forgotten 90s Eddie Murphy Movie Is Now Available On Netflix

A rare gem of an Eddie Murphy movie is streaming on Netflix!

By Apeksha Bagchi | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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The Eddie Murphy starrer buddy comedy Life has often been credited as an underrated film that never got the appreciation it deserved. Released in 1999, the film was critically panned and was also a box office disappointment. But no matter what the figures and reviews say, the film has garnered a cult following of sorts in the years since its release. And if you are one of its ardent advocates, now is the time to binge Life again as the film has finally debuted on Netflix.

Life saw Obba Babatunde as an elderly convict, Willie Long, narrating the life story of his friends, Ray Gibson (Eddie Murphy) and Claude Banks (Martin Lawrence) while their bodies are being buried. Back in the early 1930s, the duo was wrongfully convicted of a murder committed by one Sheriff Warren Pike. Unable to prove their innocence, the two friends are sentenced to life and spend decades in a prison camp. Apart from the hard labor they were subjected to, they also faced many difficulties like bullies in the form of fellow inmates and jail guards. They make several attempts to escape, but are always apprehended. 

eddie murphy martin lawrence life

After years in prison, Ray and Claude eventually end their friendship over a misunderstanding. They don’t speak for over three decades until 1972 when they finally reunite and make amends. After getting a chance to prove their innocence and failing again, Martin Lawrence’s character concocts a new plan for the escape- to fake their death by setting up a fire. But after spending more than 60 years of his life in prison, Eddie Murphy’s Ray is less than willing to go through with it. So, do they finally get their happy ending? Does Ray agree to Claude’s plan? Does this plan of theirs result in similar fates astheir former schemes? Well, Life is finally on Netflix, so it’s time to binge it and find the answers!

The Eddie Murphy starrer was one of those rare films which were heavily panned by critics but majorly appreciated by the viewers. At the time of its release, various publications penned rather negative reviews and criticized everything from its plot to Eddie Murphy as well as Martin Lawrence’s acting skills. The New York Post labeled the prison dramedy’s script to be “muddled” and commented that it “seems to have gone on a hunger strike for humor.” JoBlo called the plot of the film to be rather “unimaginative” while Entertainment Weekly criticized Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence’s failure to inject humor into the plot as they only succeeded at being “rowdy showmen.” Everything from the film’s score to its failure to adhere to the years it was depicting has been highlighted as Life’s major flaws. 

But as stated earlier, the film has garnered a cult following since its release in 1999. Contrary to the increasingly bleak critic reviews, the audience mostly has only positive words for the Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence film. The audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are bubbling with praise for the film’s “interesting” plot, the solid chemistry between its lead cast, the perfect balance between humor and relaying the subtle messages hidden in its plot, etc. Many have also expressed their disbelief over the 50% critics score the film holds on the platform and defended its reigning status as a classic.. 

eddie murphy life

At 60, Eddie Murphy is rejuvenating his career as one of Hollywood’s best comedy stars. Murphy recently started filming an untitled Kenya Barris film, which is set to be a comedy in which he will star alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lauren London, Jonah Hill, Mike Epps, Nia Long, Bryan Greenberg, Sam Jay, Molly Gordon, Deon Cole, Rhea Perlman, and David Duchovny. 

The actor was recently seen in Amazon Prime Video’s Coming 2 America, a sequel to 1988’s Coming to America. According to Amazon, it was the first film since March 2020 to have the best opening weekend on the streamer. As per Nielsen, the film was the first Prime Original to ace the company’s charts. Given the fact that Life wraps up with an open-ended conclusion and is regarded as a cinematic gem today, who knows? Maybe it will be the next classic Eddie Murphy flick we will soon revisit with a sequel!