Ride or Die Movie Review

Ride or Die Movie Review

Ride or Die Movie Review

Bad Boys: Ride or Die movie poster

Further proof that my beautiful girlfriend has set her standards too low: in addition to dating me, she also enjoyed the so-so Bad Boys: Ride or Die a lot more than it deserves.

Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, and directors Adil and Bilall return for a fourth entry in the now decades-long franchise, and the results are about the same as we experienced with the 2020 sequel Bad Boys for Life: some amusing humor, some entertaining action, and a cheesy story that doesn’t bring things together in a satisfying way.

Props to this latest Bad Boys movie for putting a major heart attack into its opening minutes just to repeatedly land a running joke. And there are other funny bits scattered throughout–often tied to Marcus’ desire to have forbidden food and sweets (a black jelly bean moment stands out)–that evoke a laugh.

But two movies in, Adil and Bilall, who for some reason like to operate on a first-name-only basis, have not quite found the right balance between action and humor, seriousness and stupidity. While generally entertaining, Bad Boys: Ride or Die (like its predecessor) is inconsistently funny, not as action-packed as it could be, and overly ridiculous to its detriment.

Most fault lies in the screenplay, by Chris Bremmer (who co-wrote the last one) and Will Beall (who co-wrote the insultingly dumb Aquaman, a movie that also suffered from being overly ridiculous). The comedy generally relies on the charisma of the two leads, and both actors try a little too hard to generate laughs (nonetheless, kudos to Lawrence, an actor I often find obnoxious, for nailing his part). The action, while good, lacks stakes because everything else feels surface level and slapdash.

The relationship between Mike and Marcus feels more caricature than sincere at this stage, and the many new and returning characters come off as B-grade versions of the bloated cast from the Fast and Furious series–which in itself is a low bar. Worse, the story is pretty dumb and how it is executed is even dumber; no one involved seems to care about making a legit great movie here. How the movie handles Mike’s assassin son (Jacob Scipio) is especially egregious and eye-rolling. 

And that’s the frustrating part: I liked a lot of the pieces, but Adil and Bilall fail to achieve synergy. It’s annoying to see a movie like this settle for less than what it could be, in large part because the writing just isn’t up to code.

Still, Bad Boys: Ride or Die has plenty to enjoy. There are some really good action scenes, and fans of the franchise just looking for a good ride won’t be as critical as me. And that brings me back to my girlfriend: I’m glad she liked it, and I’m glad she likes me, but maybe one day she’ll discover she set the bar too low. In life and in film.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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