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‘BAD BOYS FOR LIFE’ REVIEW: WORTH THE WAIT

Tina French

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Directors: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah

Writers: Chris Bremner, Peter Craig, Joe Carnahan

Stars: Will Smith, Alexander Ludwig, Vanessa Hudgens, Martin Lawrence, Joe Pantoliano

Running Time: 2h 3m / Classification: Rated R


The third installment of the Bad Boys franchise just hit theaters worldwide and let’s just say, it’s been a long time coming!

The last time audiences followed the adventures of officers/ best friends Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) was in 2003 when Bad Boys II was released. Michael Bay directed that sequel which grossed $273 million worldwide.

Bad Boys For Life follows the duo as they reunite once again when a mysterious assassin (played by Jacob Scipio) murders multiple people involved in an old police case. Lowrey is also gunned down but he survives. After six months of hospital recovery, the officer is eager to find the man who put him there. Burnett is not on board at first. He vowed to leave his violent ways behind if his best friend pulls through. But when their beloved police captain takes a hit, uncle Mike and now pop pop Marcus (his daughter gives birth to a boy in an earlier scene, and Reggie is the father!) team up one last time to put end to the wave of homicides and to take down whoever is responsible.

The film co-stars Vanessa HudgensAlexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Paola NúñezKate del CastilloNicky Jam, Bianca Bethune and Joe Pantoliano.

The chemistry between Smith and Lawrence is undeniable and carries a lot of the movie. Their sense of humor and special bond translates well through their characters. All of it feels authentic. The jokes are not overexaggerated or forced, just enough to make you enjoy them. You will laugh at them trolling each other and will be touched by their I-always-got-your-back-type friendship.

The action sequences in this latest installment are more lucid than in its predecessors. Slashed throats, bullets penetrating torsos, point-blank shots to the face – directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (who are best known for directing the TV series Snowfall) did not hold back. Demolished buildings, burning helicopters, shoot outs, explosions, high-speed car chases – action junkies will be satisfied.

At some point in the movie, the Bad Boys team up with a younger, elite team called AMMO (which stands for Advanced Miami Metro Operations). The tech-savvy youngsters are clearly juxtaposed to Lowrey and Burnett who are used to handling things the old way. Their constant clashing finds its resolve when the agents face the mastermind behind the series of killings. Her name is Isabel Aretas (played by Kate del Castillo) and she has a bone to pick with Lowrey. We learn that many years ago, even before the Bad Boys, Lowrey was on an undercover mission that resulted in him putting the “only woman he ever loved” (Isabel) in jail. And… here we are introduced to the plot twist (we will keep it a secret for now), which felt a bit forced but definitely a surprise. Its placement is kind of a necessary step to unveil the hidden secrets, evoke an emotional response on Lowrey’s part, and, ultimately, conclude the storyline (specifically, for Bad Boys For Life, not the entire franchise). The after-credit scene suggests there might be a Bad Boys 4 coming.

Bad Boys For Life is entertaining and action-packed. Its been 17 years but it’s like they never left! If you are a fan of Bad Boys and Bad Boys II, then you will enjoy this third (but apparently not final) installment.

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Eddie Murphy Returns as Axel Foley in ‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F’

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Eddie Murphy Axel F

Eddie Murphy reprises his role as the iconic Detective Axel Foley in the new action-packed trailer for ‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.’

After a nearly 30-year hiatus, Eddie Murphy is back as Axel Foley in “Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.” The new trailer reveals that Foley returns to Beverly Hills to investigate the untimely death of a long-time confidant and to protect his daughter, whose life is in danger. Along the way, he teams up with a new partner, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and reunites with old friends Billy Rosewood (Judge Reinhold) and John Taggart (John Ashton).

Eddie Murphy Returns as Axel Foley in 'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F'
‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F’ /Netflix

In addition to Eddie Murphy and the original cast members returning, the new installment introduces some fresh faces to the franchise. Taylour Paige joins the cast as Axel Foley’s estranged daughter, Jane, a criminal defense attorney in Beverly Hills. Kevin Bacon stars as the Beverly Hills Police Department’s captain, Grant.

Eddie Murphy Returns as Axel Foley in 'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F'

‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F’ /Netflix

First introduced to audiences in 1984, “Beverly Hills Cop” quickly became a massive hit, thanks to Murphy’s charismatic portrayal of Axel Foley, a street-smart Detroit cop who finds himself in the luxurious and unfamiliar territory of Beverly Hills. Two sequels followed, in 1987 and 1994.

Eddie Murphy Returns as Axel Foley in 'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F'

‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F’ /Netflix

‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F’ is directed by Mark Molloy and written by Will Beall, Tom Gormican, and Kevin Etten. The action comedy is based on characters created by Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie, Jr., with a story by Beall. Jerry Bruckheimer, who has been involved with the franchise since its inception, produced the fourth installment.

The film is set to launch on Netflix on July 3, 2024.

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Jeffrey Wright and Ilfenesh Hadera Join Denzel Washington in Spike Lee’s ‘High and Low’

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High and Low

In a highly anticipated collaboration, acclaimed actor Jeffrey Wright and Ilfenesh Hadera have joined the cast of Spike Lee’s upcoming film, ‘High and Low.’ The film, described as a reimagining of the classic Akira Kurosawa thriller, also stars Denzel Washington.

Known for his roles in films like ‘Basquiat,’ ‘The Hunger Games’ series, and ‘Westworld,’ Jeffrey Wright was most recently nominated for an Academy Award for his performance in American Fiction. His ability to embody complex characters and deliver powerful performances makes him a perfect fit for this new Spike Lee joint.

The upcoming film will mark a reunion for Hadera and Washington, who co-starred in ‘The Equalizer 2.’ The Godfather of Harlem star also previously collaborated with Lee on his acclaimed Netflix series ‘She’s Gotta Have It,’ based on his classic 1986 film and his movies ‘Chi-Raq’ and ‘Oldboy’.

‘High and Low’ also marks the fifth collaboration between Lee and Washington, who previously worked together on ‘Mo’ Better Blues,’ ‘He Got Game,’ ‘Inside Man,’ and ‘Malcolm X.’ Washington’s performance in ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ was also released by A24.

The film is being developed and produced by A24, a production company known for its slate of thought-provoking and award-worthy films. It is described as a thriller and an English-language reinterpretation of Akira Kurosawa’s 1963 crime thriller, which told the story of a shoe executive who was in the middle of a complex corporate takeover when his plans were derailed by the accidental kidnapping and ransom of his chauffeur’s son instead of his son.

The film will begin production this month, with a theatrical release before its global launch on Apple TV+.

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‘Becoming King:’ A Behind-the-Scenes Look at David Oyelowo’s Journey to Portray Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In ‘Selma’ (trailer)

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Becoming King

Paramount+ released the trailer to ‘Becoming King,’ a documentary that chronicles the emotional and transformative journey of David Oyelowo as he took on the monumental task of portraying the legendary civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in the critically acclaimed film ‘Selma.’

David Oyelowo in Becoming King. Photo Credit: Jessica Oyelowo/Paramount+

Directed by Jessica Oyelowo, the actor’s wife and partner in Yoruba Saxon Productions, the documentary features behind-the-scenes footage, intimate home videos, and interviews with the cast and crew of ‘Selma.’

Seven years in the making, ‘Becoming King’ offers a close look at Oyelowo’s dedication to the historical project and its impact on his life and career. From the meticulous research that went into recreating the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery marches to the emotional toll the role took on the NAACP Image Award-winning actor, the doc is a deep dive into the making of a modern cinematic masterpiece.

Key Art for Becoming King, streaming on Paramount+, 2024. Photo Credit: Paramount+

The film is included in Paramount+’s Black Voices Collection and will launch this Monday, February 19, for Black History Month. 

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