Rated Greg’s 5 Favorite Movies of All Time
- Bad Boys
- True Romance
- Dazed and Confused
- Raising Arizona
April 8th, 1995. WHAT A TIME. Bill Clinton was President. OJ was on trial. Madonna’s Take A Bow was the #1 song in the country. The Ed O’Bannon-led UCLA Bruins were NCAA champions. Dylan McKay was off the wagon. And Rated Greg saw what would become his favorite movie of all time, Bad Boys, at the Beltway Plaza AMC 8 with his friend Jordan. The prefect blend of sensational action and hilariously crude banter, quite frankly this 5th grader didn’t know this style of filmmaking was allowed. I mean, how can you watch this without wanting to run through a wall?!
Fun fact. On LeBron’s HBO talk show The Shop, recent guest Will Smith tells a great story about his wardrobe in the scene above. Director Michael Bay was adamant that Smith be shirtless during the chase. Smith, understandably, thought that was absolutely ridiculous and felt it made more sense to, you know, have clothes on. After arguing about it for a while they eventually compromised with the unbuttoned shirt. That’s showbiz, baby!
1995’s Bad Boys gave Rated Greg a high that he’s been chasing at the movie theater ever since. I imagine it’s the same feeling my Mom had the first time she heard the Beatles, or Donald Trump had the first time someone retweeted him. Other great action movies have come and gone (including Bad Boys II), but the original Bad Boys will always be #1 in my heart.
Fast forward 25 years, Will and Martin are back at it in Bad Boys For Life. You might have noticed that this film was not included in my most anticipated for 2020. It wasn’t an oversight, for I have to keep my guards up for what I hold precious. Will Smith is 51 years old after all. And Martin Lawrence 54. What would this look like? Are they still running around Miami arguing over car etiquette and pulling the same shenanigans? Remember that time they stuck up the convenience store? How are they not in jail yet?
But age actually wasn’t what worried me the most. If anyone can pull a Cruise and still do viable action well into his 50’s it’s Will Smith. And Martin never had to do any of the heavy lifting in that department anyways. What worried me the most was the absence of director Michael Bay, the Phil Jackson to Will’s Michael and Martin’s Scottie. The chemistry of the two leads essentially went hand in hand with Bay’s exceptional eye for action flare (and unbuttoned shirts). The former music video director burst on the scene with his very first feature film in Bad Boys and he has remained far and away the best director of action sequences ever since. While round 3 was of course offered to him first, Bay opted to take a reported 150 million dollar deal from Netflix instead. Hard to blame him. But without Bay I just wasn’t sure if this would work nearly as well as the first two films in the franchise. It’s like seeing Aerosmith only to find out they replaced Joe Perry with a Jonas brother.
So is Bad Boys For Life, all these years later, any good? You know what? Bad Boys For Life is still pretty good! It’s not gonna blow your mind like the first two, but it’s still an above average action movie in 2020. Think a step above the most recent Fast and Furious movies, but a step below the most recent Mission Impossibles and John Wicks. What Bad Boys For Life most has going for it is the humor. This is probably the funniest version of Mike and Marcus, but it comes at the expense of diluted action that is just…. fine. Unironically “6 Underground,” the movie Michael Bay made for Netflix instead of Bad Boys 3, has absolutely STUPENDOUS, Bad Boys style action but the attempts at humor throughout the film are quite embarrassing. Bay, Will, and Martin really prove to better than the sum of their parts if you made a Venn diagram of the two films.
After seeing Bad Boys For Life, it’s pretty clear why Columbia decided to return to this saga. The third film was never meant to be swan song for Will and Martin, but rather a reboot to turn the Miami police department into it’s own Fast and Furious type franchise, with a bunch of fresh, young, dick swinging characters of eclectic cultural backgrounds (pitch – Give us a spinoff featuring Vanessa Hudgens’ character called Bad Girls). It’s undeniably calculated, but if that’s what it takes to get the original Bad Boys back on the screen bickering with each other I’m fine with it. We Ride Together, We Die Together. Bad Boys For Life. Grade: B–
PS – I say this about a lot of movies, but this one especially needs to be seen at the theater, preferably a packed theater. I typically avoid loud, enthusiastic, sold out crowds, but having companions to enjoy the many callbacks to the first two films significantly levels up the experience of Bad Boys 3.