top of page
  • Young Critic

Bad Boys Ride or Die

The latest in this franchise continues to float thanks to its duo's charisma



The Bad Boys films have become an inexplicable franchise. What was once a charming, if dated buddy cop flick, has just delivered its fourth entry. After re-energizing the franchise after nearly 20 years with Bad Boys for Life (2020), Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return once again as the bickering duo in Bad Boys: Ride or Die (2024).

 

Bad Boys: Ride or Die finds our titular rebellious Miami Police Detectives, Mike (Smith) and Marcus (Lawrence) entangled in a conspiracy where their old, deceased mentor Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano) is framed as corrupt. The two old friends must evade the authorities and criminals alike to clear their friend’s name.

 

Ride or Die is helmed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who delivered a box office hit with the previous Bad Boys for Life. El Arbi and Fallah delivered some much-needed modernization and maturity to the Bad Boys franchise in the previous entry, without losing the essence of the characters or a sense of fun. They also brought a new visual aesthetic that involved inventive cinematography and fight choreography, updating the Michael Bay style of the older films. Nevertheless, Bad Boys for Life struggle with problematic portrayals of cops and Latino stereotypes. These issues have plagued the series from the beginning, and thus it was disheartening to continue to see simplistic illustrations of all Latino characters as criminals, or the callousness of showing abusive and erratic police behavior getting rewarded. Ride or Die, thankfully, sands down these edges even more, humanizing a Hispanic anti-hero and toning down the endorsement of authority misused for laughs. In fact, El Arbi and Fallah evolve their central characters into themes of mental health and spirituality. The result is an improvement on Bad Boys for Life, exploring the friendship between these two characters.

 

This evolution of characters particularly works for Marcus. Lawrence is given a comedic twist to play with in this entry, as his character overcomes his existentiality, which helped deliver the best laughs and running gags in the series. Smith carries his usual charisma, but his character is forced to confront an emotional fragility that clashes with his macho attitude. These developments add depth and complexity to the main characters.

 

Ride or Die rightly knows that viewers come to these films, not for the character work, but the action and quips, which are impressive, if predictable and feature some stunning choreography and cinematography. The performers do begin to show their age, however, as inventive stunts are cut around them and a choppy editing seeps whenever they are on screen.

 

In the end, Ride or Die is an improvement on the previous film and franchise’s toxic masculinity, introducing a more mature and reflective actioner. However, Ride or Die never transcends the generic action flick, with a forgettable plot, villain, and stakes. The entire affair is saved from generic obscurity thanks to the chemistry between its two veteran stars who help deliver a blandly entertaining time.

6.2/10

Comments


About Young Critic

logo 4_edited.jpg

I've been writing on different version of this website since February of 2013. I originally founded the website in a film-buff phase in high school, but it has since continued through college and into my adult life. Young Critic may be getting older, but the love and passion for film is forever young. 

Review Library

Tags

bottom of page