‘Bad Boys : Ride or Die’ Gives Summer a Slight Boost (Review)

by | Jun 6, 2024


Despite a half-baked story, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence once again deliver the goods at a much-needed time.

It’s hard to ignore the summer box office and be disappointed with where things are now. After a solid spring that was spear-headed by Dune: Part Two and Godzilla x King: The New Empire, universally liked films The Fall Guy and Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga both underperformed at the box office in recent weeks. And while there is a debate for those two movies not exactly being summer tentpoles, the fact that both films featured recognizable stars and quickly vanished shortly after their releases is a slight concern. Summer is the perfect time of the year for many to go to the movies; after all, it’s an easy escape to beat the heat. And thankfully, despite what you may think of him offscreen for wrongfully slapping Chris Rock and then giving a lame apology just before he began promoting his next movie, Will Smith is back, along with Martin Lawrence, in Bad Boys: Ride or Die to hopefully revive the sluggish summer at the movies. While the fourth entry about everyone’s two favorite Miami police offers features a familiar story that is what it is, it’s hard not to be entertained throughout its runtime, thanks to its two main stars. 

Bad Boys: Ride or Die finds Miami’s finest trying to clear the name of their former captain, who is now deceased and can’t defend himself. With their former captain now having “links” to the cartel, Mike (Will Smith) and Marcus (Marin Lawrence) investigate to clear their beloved captain, even if that means being wanted by law enforcement. 

Based off the short plot description, you can probably guess how all three acts in the film will play out. In addition to that, the featured antagonists are as standard as they come, and you can see any “twist” coming from a mile away. When you combine the plot, the antagonists, and the “shock and awe” of reveals, Ride or Die sounds exactly like any police procedural on network television. The difference here is that this franchise always has delivered in two areas that elevate these films and why they’re beloved by millions: its two charismatic stars and ramped up action set pieces; you could argue the action in these films helped inspire the Fast & Furious franchise back with its first film in 1995. And add in a little visual flair from directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who directed the predecessor Bad Boys for Life, and you’ve got a product with plenty of appeal, despite some areas feeling cut and dry. 

Summer needs a jolt. And sure, this buddy cop sequel in a franchise that has spanned almost 30 years doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any means. But there’s just something about watching two stars in Will Smith and Martin Lawrence back and as good as ever as these Miami cops with their banter that delivers laugh-out-loud moments along with thrilling shoot-em-up action that doesn’t get old or stale like the day-old hot dog Marcus eats in the opening of the film.  Hopefully, these Bad Boys help start the weeks ahead at the movies with a smooth ride rather than have us ask studios, “Whatcha gonna do?” going forward to get people back to the movie theaters. 


(out of five stars)