Bad boys, bad kids, watcha gon na do when they come for you– and you wish to run but you’re likewise pretty worn out, and maybe your knees sort of hurt?
Twenty-five years after Will Smith and Martin Lawrence initially put their buddy-cop regular onscreen, a third installation go back to discover them facing down midlife, with varying degrees of grace. Martin’s Marcus can’t wait to retire and enjoy telenovelas in his bathrobe all day; even Smith, with his Gemini genes, isn’t immune: his continuous playboy Mike has secretly started dyeing his goatee.
But, as franchises with nearly half a billion dollars in the bank tend to do, Miami’s finest have returned– this time trading in director Michael Bay, who helmed the 1995 original and its 2003 sequel, for the young Belgian duo Adil el Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who are most likely even more economical, and seem to be similarly in love with surges.
Thankfully for them, a good part of the plot involves blowing things up: buildings, helicopters, people. The movie is constantly at its best when it lets the chemistry between its 2 costars breathe; when it does not, it’s primarily interchangeable with any other quick, furious thriller that passes through the multiplex.
As the story opens, Marcus wants out, ready to live a life of leisure and grandbabies, and Mike does not wish to let him go; neither of them gets to choose their fate when an one-time Mexican cartel leader (Kate del Castillo) jailbreaks, and after that employs her homicidal boy (Jacob Scipio) to assist eliminate individuals who put her there. Catching them both methods accepting the assistance of Mike’s one-time admirer (Paola Nuñez) and a SWAT group of bright-eyed millennials that consists of Vanessa Hudgens, Riverdale star Charles Melton, and Vikings‘ Alexander Ludwig.
It’s all ridiculous in that extremely Michael Bay method (he really makes a small, winky cameo early on), and in some minutes truly thrilling. It’s likewise gleefully, almost cartoonishly violent– piling up bodies as delicately as Call of Duty, and letting the cam stick around while they bleed.
Which is all expected; banter and bullets is the action-movie MO, and the duo at the center of it barely seem to have to stretch to spread their bickering appeal on thick, particularly in a terrific, absurdly comic scene on an airplane. By the shock-and-awe climax, however– when whatever however the goatee pretty much goes up in flames– other things have worn thin.
At one point, a God-fearing Marcus even attempts to lead his more hot-blooded partner to greener pastures: “We have actually been bad kids,” he pleads. “Maybe it’s time to be good guys.” “Who wishes to sing that tune?” Mike retorts. And so rather, they go on singing the one we know. B–