‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’ Will Make You Slap Happy

Smith and Lawrence still have it and so does this giddy sequel

Whatcha gonna do about a franchise that not only refuses to die but gets better with age?

“Bad Boys: Ride or Die” is silly, frantic and doesn’t apologize for any leaps in logic. It’s also impossible to hate and showcases the enduring power of chemistry.

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have it. Period. That makes the fourth film in the franchise undeniablely fun (and woke free).

BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE – Official Trailer (HD)

Mike and Marcus (Smith and Lawrence) are back on the beat and life is good in sun-drenched Miami. Mike has finally settled down and the boys live it up at his wedding ceremony.

Then Marcus has to make things difficult by having a heart attack mid-dance sequence. That leads to an existential comic thread that mostly pays off and intersects with the main storyline.

An over-the-top villain (Eric Dane) wants to frame the Boys’ late boss (Joe Pantoliano) for a cartel-related crime conspiracy. It’s up to Mike and Marcus to make sure that doesn’t happen, but they end up being framed for murder in the process.

Confusing? Not really. The story here is less complex than most action comedies, and directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (“Bad Boys for Life”) keep everything running like a well-oiled film franchise.

Supporting players add spice to the menu. Action sequences pop on command, with the directors’ knack for loopy camera work giving the film a visual identity.

And there’s always Smith and Lawrence to make us grin. Their bond is so effortless it puts the audience at ease. It’s old friends, cracking wise, eager to spend time with each other.

We’re lucky enough to join them.


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The screenplay has little in the way of outsized wit or imagination. It’s formula filmmaking that leaves the audience in good hands.

Yes, our leads are both in their 50s and age is often top of mind. That adds a richness to “Ride or Die” that we didn’t think was necessary.

It is.

The Boys know life is fleeing and how precious a brotherly bond can be in troubled times. It’s an undercurrent of grace that lets the cartoonish action breathe.

“Ride or Die” has no time for woke bromides. The story offers damsels in distress along with tough female cops like one played by Vanessa Hudgens. Our Boys don’t apologize for their heroics, and no one is announcing their pronouns out of the blue.

Even a throwaway sequence involving hillbilly racists plays like comic farce, not a “teachable moment.”

This is Smith’s first populist movie since “The Slap,” and “Ride or Die” evokes that moment in a way that’s so rooted in Mike’s character that you might not even make the connection until you’re leaving the theater.


The saga dates back to 1995, but there’s an ’80s vibe to the proceedings. You could almost see a crossover with Eddie Murphy’s “Beverly Hills Cop” franchise, where star power and car crashes are the order of the day.


Let’s see what else these middle-aged Bad Boys can do next.

Hit or Miss: “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” shows some franchises get better with age.


  1. No one wants to see Will Smith anymore. No one who enjoys this kind of movie wants to go see somebody who is such a beta male.

  2. Is there a road back for Will Smith after his self-destruction in striking Chris Rock? Yes, especially if he goes full 100% ANTI-WOKE. I’ll give this movie a try, but at home.

  3. Same person who claimed The Acolyte was feminist propaganda and Godzilla x Kong was just stupid. No hypocrisy here

    1. Read the review for Acolyte, and the other review done by an entirely different person. No hypocrisy here and you don’t know what you are talking about.

    2. The Acolyte is feminist garbage, a lesbian couple give birth to THE FORCE (yes it’s a friggin female baby) in episode 3, pronouns are used in episode 4. Wake….ahem…woke up groomer. But hey, if you like that, go for it. Just know you’ll probably be alone with that one.

      Godzilla X Kong was stupid, stupid fun but still stupid.

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