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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Rondina

Bad Boys: Ride or Die Review

Bad Boys: Ride or Die returns with Miami's finest duo on the run. How does the fourth installment stack up? My full review.

After 2020’s Bad Boys for Life left me with mixed feelings about the franchise's direction, Bad Boys Ride or Die was a big surprise in all the right ways. The latest instalment in the long-running series does an excellent job of blending the best parts of the films that came before it. Ride or Die delivers exactly what I hoped: a high-octane combination of action, comedy, and the right amount of space for the leading duo to shine.

"Ride or Die delivers exactly what I hoped: a high-octane combination of action, comedy, and the right amount of space for the leading duo to shine."

Mike Lowrey (played by Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) return for their most explosive and fun ride yet. Let’s hit the sun-soaked streets of Miami and explore what makes the fourth time the charm for the Bad Boys.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die Details

Release date: June 7th, 2024

Director(s): Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

Actor(s): Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Paola Núñez, Eric Dane, Ioan Gruffudd, Jacob Scipio, Melanie Liburd, Tasha Smith, Tiffany Haddish and Joe Pantoliano

Run time: 1 hour 55 minutes

Genre: Action / Comedy / Thriller

Content Rating: Rated R

Welcome Back to Miami

The film opens with a hilarious car chase sequence through the streets of Miami, setting the tone for the rest of the movie. The banter, action and laughs all hit the mark, if not going a little over the top. Mike and Marcus are tearing through the streets in their series staple Porsche late for an event. Things quickly spiral out of control for the two, and they end up accidentally thwarting a convenience store robbery.

This is a sidebar to the main plot, where, later on, detectives Lowrey and Burnett are embroiled in a scandal that threatens to tarnish the legacy of their beloved former captain, Conrad Howard (Joe Pantoliano). When Howard is posthumously accused of involvement with a Mexican Cartel, the Bad Boys are out in full force to clear his name.

The plot thickens as a setup turns our heroes into fugitives, forcing them to operate outside the law they swore to uphold. With the help of “AMMO,” an elite tactical squad, including the sharpshooter Kelly (Vanessa Hudgens) and tech genius Dorn (Alexander Ludwig). The unit’s former head, Rita Secada (Paola Núñez) has been promoted to Captain of the Miami PD. Together, they embark on a mission to unravel the conspiracy that stretches across the city and many levels of the force.

 

The villainous McGrath (played by Eric Dane) stands in their way, with even bigger players pulling strings from the shadows. Amidst the chaos, Mike’s son Armando Aretas (Jacob Scipio) and their extended family are caught in the crossfire.

 

As the Bad Boys race against time, Mike’s new love interest, Christine (Melanie Liburd), and the relentless US Marshall Agent (Rhea Seehorn) add layers to the unfolding drama. Fans of Better Call Saul will instantly recognize Seehorn from her brilliant portrayal of Kim Wexler in the Breaking Bad spin-off series. Her screen time is short-lived, but her role is impactful, and having Seehorn on the big screen for a few critical plot points is great.

Direction and cinematography steal the show

Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah have upped the ante with ambitious and meticulously executed set pieces. The action is relentless, and the stakes have never been higher as our heroes face off against a new breed of criminals. There are instances in many of the action sequences that are seriously elevated thanks to the bold artistic direction.

"There are instances in many of the action sequences that are seriously elevated thanks to the bold artistic direction."

Gunfights in art exhibits bathed in black light, otherworldly visions of the afterlife and unique camera perspectives really bring the action to intense, more interesting frontiers. With high-speed chases, an excellent cast, explosive action, and the series’ trademark humour, Ride or Die is constantly entertaining.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die – It’s all in the family

What truly sets Bad Boys: Ride or Die apart is its big, goofy heart. Amidst the chaos, there’s a genuine exploration of friendship, family, and loyalty. None of this gets too serious, and when it treads into cringy territory, it's brought back to Earth with some great action or hilariously timed moments; it never takes itself too seriously. Smith and Lawrence bring depth to their characters, showing that even the toughest bad boys have vulnerabilities.

"Smith and Lawrence bring depth to their characters, showing that even the toughest bad boys have vulnerabilities."

Both are anchored by mental and physical ailments they must overcome, along with defeating the “bad guys.” The banter is as sharp as ever, with comedic moments that land perfectly (and some that miss entirely). I laughed out loud on many occasions, and the delivery between Smith and Lawerence is fantastic. While the plot may tread all too familiar ground, the execution makes Ride or Die a thrilling watch.

Final Thoughts on Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Overall, Ride or Die is a highly entertaining and excellent return to form for the franchise, delivering an action-packed experience. Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah explored the series’ legacy while pushing the action and characters into new territory with style and more substance.

"It’s a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously but delivers seriously entertaining cinema."

Smith and Lawrence once again prove that their dynamic partnership is the beating heart of the Bad Boys saga, bringing a blend of humour, action, and emotional depth to the series at an all-time best. Ride or Die is a must-see for action aficionados and those looking for a good laugh. It’s a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously but delivers seriously entertaining cinema.


I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Bad Boys: Ride or Die, it’s a thrill ride that is worth taking.


Special thanks to Sony Pictures for the advance screening of the film for the purpose of this review.

 

About the Author - Matthew "Dapper Tux" Rondina

Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Along with being the Managing Editor of dappertux.com, he has bylines with Best Buy, Cineplex Entertainment, Mobile Syrup and Walmart. Follow Matthew’s gaming + tech adventures on Twitter, Instagram and join in on the fun!

 

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