Bad Boys 4 Puts Will Smith on the Wrong Side of the Law

The (bad) boys are back in town.

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys: Ride or Die
Frank Masi/Sony Pictures

Ten years ago, it was impossible to imagine a Bad Boys movie without Michael Bay in the director’s chair. The franchise was never perfect under his watch (no Bay film is), but he brought a bombastic energy to the films that proved impossible to look away from.

Bad Boys For Life, the third installment of the buddy cop franchise, aped Bay’s house style where necessary, but directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah were mostly driven by ‘90s nostalgia, deeply silly Miami-set antics, and the still-crackling chemistry between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. It wasn’t exactly the reboot we wanted, but Smith and Lawrence belong to a generation of actors who can do no wrong on screen, so it’s hard not to be a little excited for another adventure.

This summer, the dynamic duo returns for a fourth Bad Boys film. Unfortunately, it doesn’t boast as clever a title as “Bad Boys 4Ever,” but Bad Boys: Ride or Die doesn’t care much for wordplay. Instead, Adil & Bilall, as they bill themselves, are more concerned with teaching these old dogs new tricks. Ride or Die represents a first for the franchise: Smith and Lawrence’s reckless detectives are now fugitives on the run.

Ride or Die picks up where Bad Boys For Life left off. Mike (Smith) and Marcus (Lawrence) are still kicking ass and taking names in the 305, occasionally with the assistance of their much-younger hit squad, AMMO. Mike’s estranged son Armando (Jacob Scipio) is serving time in prison, but not for much longer. When the late Miami PD captain Conrad Howard (Joe Pantoliano) is framed for collaborating with drug cartels, Mike and Marcus find themselves on the wrong side of the law. If they want to clear Howard’s name — and keep their own reputations clean — they’ll have to team up with Armando and hunt down the enigmatic bad guy (Euphoria’s Eric Dane) working in the shadows.

Ride or Die is aiming to be a comeback on multiple fronts. Its predecessor was one of the few films that won big in 2020, thanks in part to its pre-pandemic release. But the intervening years have been tumultuous for Smith, whose reputation took a major hit after the 2022 Oscars, and for Adil & Bilall, whose last film, Batgirl, was unceremoniously killed by Warner Bros. on the cusp of release. All three could use a win.

Thankfully, Ride or Die is getting a proper theatrical release, so we can all tune in to Smith and Lawrence’s zany antics on the big screen. It’ll be just like old times... except now they’re both vigilantes and eligible for AARP membership.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die hits theaters on June 7.

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