Bad Boys: Ride or Die – Even less would have been too much

FILM REVIEW – After the infamous incident at the 2022 Oscars, it makes sense for Will Smith to retreat to the safety of the well-known Bad Boys action-comedy franchise. But can we still enjoy his boundless charisma and usual blend of humor after he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars?


After all, Bad Boys (1995) was the film that turned him from a sitcom actor into a movie star. With an open shirt in a pulsating chase scene, this was the moment Will Smith skyrocketed to fame. It was a weak callback to 80s buddy-cop films but with two Black leads – Smith and comedian Martin Lawrence – and a massive explosion budget. Smith’s womanizing Miami narcotics officer, who was trying to recover a stolen heroin stash, had the usual comedic timing paired with the least tangible quality: star power.



Hollywood Reloaded: An Avalanche of Sequels


Two unnecessary but profitable sequels followed. Post-9/11, Bad Boys II (2003) ended with our heroes reenacting the Bay of Pigs invasion and seeking refuge at Guantanamo Bay. The belated third entry, Bad Boys for Life (2020), tried to modernize the macho cops. The gay jokes disappeared; our heroes now respect women and encourage therapy.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die follows roughly the same formula but in an even more clumsy manner: tiresome comedic elements, weak jokes, fluctuating quality action scenes, and the continuation of an absurdly melodramatic story poorly integrated into the third film. Smith’s smart-ass cop inexplicably harbors fatherly feelings for a psychopathic, estranged son (Jacob Scipio) who previously led a Mexican drug cartel. In this fourth installment, Scipio joins Smith and Lawrence on the run after their late captain (Joe Pantoliano) is accused of corruption.



Bad Boys: Ride or Die – The Weakest Thriller Yet


The action-thriller plot of Bad Boys: Ride or Die is riddled with illogicalities, idiotic exaggerations, and overused clichés, which weigh it down like heavy ballast, even for viewers accustomed to average crime dramas. The depiction of police and political corruption is so childish and unbelievable that it would have been better left out. One corrupt character’s revelation screams predictability and his explanations seem lifted from nine other B-movie action thrillers.

Perhaps the clumsy screenplay would be less bothersome if at least the jokes and Will Smith’s typically faux-suave banter hit the mark, but most drew only a few awkward chuckles during the screening, if that. The once politically incorrect, sexist jokes have been completely neutered, leaving only Martin Lawrence with bulimia and junk food jokes, along with a tiresome subplot where his character “enlightens” others with idiotic, esoteric ramblings.



Attempts at Emotional Beats


The film tries to tug at the heartstrings: Lawrence convinces Smith to perform a touching duet of their theme song, and Scipio’s character embarks on a redemption arc. The latter could work if Jacob Scipio were not such a terrible actor.

The entire film screams a lack of ambition. Will Smith gets slapped a few times towards the end, which might be his own redemption story. Though he’s not slapped by Chris Rock, viewers understand that the frequently depicted anxiety attacks are meant to reflect Smith’s own desire for redemption. However, this “apology” two years after the Oscar scandal is uninteresting; Smith should apologize to us with a much better film next time.

-Gergely Herpai “BadSector”-




Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Direction - 5.2
Actors - 5.4
Story - 3.6
Visuals/Music/Sounds/Action - 6.6
Ambiance - 5.2



Bad Boys: Ride or Die fails to even match the lowest bar set by its predecessors: it’s weighed down by illogicalities, weak clichés, and exaggerations. While Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s characters retain their charisma, the weak jokes and absurd melodramatic plot make this the weakest entry in the series. Watch it only for nostalgia, but don’t expect too much.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines - including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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