Bad Boys: Ride or Die (2024)

Bad Boys: Ride or Die (2024)

2024 R 115 Minutes

Action | Thriller | Crime

After their late former Captain is framed, Lowrey and Burnett try to clear his name, only to end up on the run themselves.

Overall Rating

7 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • d_riptide

    d_riptide

    7 / 10
    Putting aside how annoying it is that “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” didn’t get the “Bad Boys 4 Life” title, this fourth installment is the closest we’ve gotten to seeing a live action Grand Theft Auto film in god knows how long and if you want me to be honest? This was a hoot to watch in the theaters.

    Mostly.


    Props to Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah for staying the course that made the previous film such a surprise. Passionate, committed to the bit and aggressively propulsive with enough kinetic energy to go around, they inject the screenplay with a playful relish that’s hard not to resist.


    Michael Bay’s freewheeling, messy, frenetic style from the previous movies is once again carried over but thankfully condensed and lightened to where it still fits the presentation, but you can tell that desire to emulate what worked before to the point of exacerbation keeps poking through just a little bit. Setting-wise, there’s enough variety to go around but it’s heavily sterile with the production design and save for one helicopter sequence and the amusement park near the end, none of the environments really pop. Contrary to what others might say, I actually like how the tone continues to relish in its heightened mid-2000's vibe and atmosphere and despite the experimental cinematography being a little distracting, there’s an obvious twitch in manic energy that matches the directors efforts and the editing is mostly on point too.

    Lorne Balfe’s score is one that I unfortunately won’t be able to remember tomorrow; the soundtrack is memorable but despite his best foot forward, it only succeeds at being fine. It doesn’t really resonate with me.

    Action-wise, it’s nothing all that special; just a bunch of shootouts and fisticuffs that should get old really quickly…..and yet they somehow remain hypnotic throughout. You can quickly tell the exponential leap in terms of scale that each of these scenes have and thankfully, there’s no erratic or distracting cuts or edits here that elicit motion sickness on the same bar as Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. It can still be a little distracting but the film knows you’re here for the action and they do their damnedest not to screw it up.

    It honestly makes me more annoyed of what their Batgirl film could’ve been, had Warner Bros hadn’t been such dicks.


    You can tell the cast are having as much fun as they can with this, even the few that are strictly going through the motions. Chemistry between them remain as infectious as ever but Will Smith and Martin Lawrence continue to steamroll over everyone, dismal characterization and dialogue aside. And special shout-out to Dennis Greene who plays Reggie who walks away with the most applause worthy scene of the entire movie, maybe even the series as a whole (You know what I’m talking about).



    The plot looks and sounds like your typical GTA storyline: someone close to the protagonist is falsely smeared for corruption, they try to find out who did it only to get framed themselves, and in doing so, take the time to further reflect on themselves while trying to unscrew the screw-up. Its video game-esque structure resembles more of a Pursuit Force title in the most flippant manner possible and while yes, it’s strictly standard issue, it still adheres to a mostly archaic blueprint that keeps in tow with the previous line of movies……in the ways that matter at least. Integration of existential visions and a LOT of Fast & Furious-isms rear their donkey from the unbridled action to the initial meshing of “family” does betray the inner mechanisms of a script hinting at a more calculated, tired downgrade, a retreat to more safer, fertilized pastures.

    At least, Bad Boys can sort of get away with it since these movies started out as a little over-the-top to begin with and the manageable pacing of its near 2 hour runtime condenses all its craziness to where it never overstays its welcome.



    When the script really comes alive though is when it follows through on the seeds planted in the previous film in regards to Mike and Marcus’s morality and shifts in character. It’s weird seeing their dynamics shift and reverse after seeing them both be stuck in place for the past 29 years and you can argue the emotional undercurrent driving this film is strictly surface level as both Mike and Marcus’s struggles are mostly played for jokes; you’d be right on the first half but you’d need to convince me on the other. That being said, it’s the only semi-important narrative that has a thread to follow through on from previous movies, challenges the characters with emotional stakes and has an identifiable buildup and payoff that works.

    It was never going to win an award for best portrayal of mental health but the effort is clearly there and Will and Marcus play on those struggles to the best of their abilities.



    Just like the previous films though, the runtime can come off pretty bloated and you can feel the length of that in certain scenes, plus a few of the narrative pieces are pretty easy to parse with little buildup to carry over that emotional resonance the way other scenes do. Also, the first act begins in the most semi-rushed manner possible and they didn’t even try to make the antagonists all that interesting or hide the telegraphed villain twist near the end of the second act.

    Basically, double the issues of the previous films with less balance between them and more smoke and mirrors barely succeeding in hiding them.




    Normally, I wouldn’t consider myself entirely influenced by the environments I’m in but I will say I was glad to be in that theater experiencing this throwback. Bad Boys for Life is still my favorite of the series but I can settle for this being second or third best.