Saturday, December 2, 2023
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Bad Boys Review

Whilst the pairing of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence has worked wonders for many audiences around the world, I can’t help but ponder the appeal of it all. Answering the question of what I would do if indeed the bad boys did come for me, this Michael Bay action classic didn’t do much for me at all. I had expected a good bit of action, some clean fun that would play on the buddy cop charms it was so clearly made in mockery of, but Bad Boys, if anything, leaves a sour taste on the mouth and an expressionless, bland palette for the eyes to ogle at throughout its predictable, bland story.

A predictable story would absolutely be forgivable if the action made up for it. Bad Boys is a bit boring in that area, with the few shootouts and explosions on hand presented to us in that typical Bay style. It’s not my thing, I’m all for explosions and shootouts, but I need just a tiny bit of investment in the characters. Whether they’re piping up with some cheesy one-liners like John Matrix in Commando, or just generally likeable such as John McClane in Die Hard. With Bad Boys, I just never felt all that attached to Smith or Lawrence at any point, nor did I fully latch onto their buddy-cop chemistry. They’re by far on the lower end of buddy cop action-comedy.

The Lethal Weapon and Rush Hour series provide great examples of how this chemistry should play into not just the chemistry of our leads, but also into the story at hand. Bad Boys presents a drug kingpin, a moment to get the girl, and plenty of explosions dotted in throughout. Nothing out of the ordinary ever rears its head, and Bay’s direction makes sure everything comes together in as predictable and drawn-out a fashion as possible. Actually, Bay’s direction is probably the best part of the film, with his comparatively humble budget showcasing flickers of ingenuity within his craft. If it weren’t for such a bland and forgettable cast of characters then the slower-paced moments within this film would be, at the very least, bearable.

Bad Boys certainly has its audience, and I completely understand why exactly many would love this sort of film, I’m jealous of those who do since they’re able to latch onto some redundant chemistry and forgettable supporting characters. Still, the few relatively memorable moments are always dragged down by the annoying leads and their “chemistry”, which boils down to poorly scripted insults and the occasional teary-eyed moment. I think I’ll just stick with Bay’s outing in The Rock for the time being, especially since that feels like the far more interesting of the two films.

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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