Review: 'Bad Boys: Ride or Die' isn't breaking any new ground

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in a scene from "Bad Boys: Ride or Die."

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in a scene from "Bad Boys: Ride or Die." (Frank Masi, Columbia-Sony Pictures via AP)

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Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

Growing up, my parents were a bit more liberal than most when it came to the movies they let my siblings and me watch. The best example I can give was when I was 6 years old. I was in kindergarten, and my father worked from home. Kindergarten was only half a day, which meant I put a bit of a damper on getting some alone time for my dad to sneak out to a theater to catch a more grown-up movie.

He wanted to see "Die Hard," and he actually had a buddy to go with him. Was I too young to see John McClane taking out bad guys at Nakatomi Plaza? Probably, but I loved it.

This context is essential when I tell you how vividly I remember my parents dropping my brother and me off at the now-forgotten South Towne Theater in April 1995 to see "Bad Boys." Yes, I was only 11 years old. Still, my brother and I loved watching Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett keep the colorful streets of Miami safe.

Fast-forward nearly 30 years, and Mike and Marcus are back for the fourth installment of the franchise, "Bad Boys: Ride or Die."

I'm older than 11 now, and these movies, while nostalgic, don't have the same appeal. I don't know that I hated "Ride or Die," but it's not exactly a good movie. That said, I wasn't expecting it to be.

Here are some reasons "Bad Boys: Ride or Die" is not worth your time and why I still kind of enjoyed it.

The 'Bad,' as in bad

It's overly formulaic

If you've seen the first three "Bad Boys" movies, I'll give you a reason you don't need to see this one: You've already seen it three times.

As I sat in my seat waiting for the movie to start, I tried to remember which movie was which in the franchise. I realized I was mixing the movies into one and couldn't distinguish what happened in which film. Then "Ride or Die" started, and I had the distinct feeling I had seen this all before.

The villains' names and the reason behind Mike and Marucs's beef with these particular drug dealers change, but everything is pretty much the same. Granted, formulas of the same plots over and over have worked well for many franchises. Are any of you familiar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

I get the idea of "if it isn't broke, don't fix it," but it gets a little boring. There are some nuances in "Ride or Die," but even those have been done, more or less, in the earlier movies.

Not all the jokes land

This franchise is supposed to give us thrills and laughs. There are a few thrills here and there, some fun action sequences, and some funny moments. In fact, the movie had me laughing out loud more than once. But when the jokes don't land, they don't just stumble; they crash and burn.

Some of the gags and one-liners were so forced that I couldn't help but cringe. Martin Lawrence certainly has some comedy chops, but the insane and inane rants don't always work. Will Smith can't decide if he's too cool for jokes or is the funny one in the relationship.

The 'Bad' as in good

It's entertaining

"Bad Boys: Ride or Die" has the aforementioned problems, as well as some terrible acting, ridiculous character motivations and hollow characters, but it had one thing going for it: I was actually fairly entertained.

I wasn't enthralled for the entire hour and 55 minutes of the movie, but I did walk out having had a good time.

Enough action and jokes do land and I wasn't constantly checking my watch, hoping the bad boys could wrap up this case so I could get home. Also, at just under two hours, it's a movie that doesn't overstay its welcome like so many other movies today that close in on three hours for no good reason.

What parents need to know

I do not judge what you let your kids see or not see. Not to mention, my parents were great parents who taught me some wonderful things and provided a loving home. That said, I can't recommend dropping your 11- and 14-year-old off at the theater to enjoy a matinee of "Bad Boys: Ride or Die."

The movie earned its R rating with language and violence. I don't need to get into specifics but, suffice it to say, there is plenty of both.


To each their own, but "Bad Boys: Ride or Die" is not a must-see in my book. If you've enjoyed the others, you'll probably have fun because it's more of the same. If you've never seen one, I'm not sure this is where to start.

The movie has its moments, but they are not enough to warrant a trip to the theater.

"Bad Boys: Ride or Die" is officially rated R for strong violence, language throughout and some sexual references.

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John has grown up around movies and annoys friends and family with his movie facts and knowledge. He also has a passion for sports and pretty much anything awesome, and it just so happens, that these are the three things he writes about.


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