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The ‘Bad Boys for Life’ Exit Survey

The return of Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett (and Reggie!) means the very-welcome return of Miami vice, Joey Pants, and overly loud and dramatic shootouts. Here’s what the Ringer staff thought about the surprisingly triumphant return of a dormant franchise.

Sony/Ringer illustration

It’s been nearly two decades since we last saw Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett tearing up Miami in a Bad Boys movie—so long that we sort of forgot how much we missed them. Friday’s release of Bad Boys for Life certainly jogged our collective memory, as Will Smith and Martin Lawrence finally teamed up again. After the family reunion, the Ringer staff answered a few questions.


1. What is your tweet-length review of Bad Boys for Life?

David Lara: Mike Lowrey’s one-night stand with a witch comes back to haunt him. Literally, that’s the movie.

Shea Serrano: I missed Mike and Marcus a bunch. I’m glad they’re back.

Sean Yoo: If this movie had half as many slow-mo montages, helicopter fights, and mentions of its own title, it would have been an amazing movie. But instead we’re left with a Bad Boys that uses the same old tricks over and over again.

Andrew Gruttadaro:

I SAID WHAT I SAID!

2. What was the best moment of the film?

Yoo: Martin Lawrence’s long bit on warlock babies and witch sex. (I can’t believe I just typed that sentence.)

Lara: It’s a tie between the AMMO team singing the Bad Boys theme song and Marcus interrupting Mike’s story about Isabel to say, “You had unprotected sex with a witch?!”

Gruttadaro: The conversation when Mike (played by Will Smith) was begging Marcus (Martin Lawrence) not to retire and saying stuff like, “Hell nah I haven’t lost a step” and “I need this.” It felt like I was watching Will Smith try to convince Martin Lawrence to be in Bad Boys for Life. It was a really nice moment of self-awareness for Smith, an actor who’s been weighed down by a sheer lack of it for years now.

Serrano: The best moment was when Marcus asked Mike if he got a witch pregnant. The second-best moment was the Reggie cameo in the hospital. I was so happy to see him. I actually and loudly said, “Oh shit! Reggie!” when he popped up. And I greatly appreciate that the first time we see him it’s from behind his head, just like it was in Bad Boys II.

Columbia Pictures

3. What was your least favorite part of the movie?

Yoo: Did we really need a Michael Bay cameo and a wedding toast during which everyone there said the title of the movie?!

Serrano: When Captain Howard died. That hurt my feelings a bunch. I know they had to do that because they needed a reason for Marcus to unretire, but, man. Man.

Lara: RIP, CAPTAIN HOWARD.

Gruttadaro: Sometimes this movie got a little too close to infringing on Fast & Furious’s turf.

4. Who is the MVP of Bad Boys for Life?

Lara: The MVP of Bad Boys is family.

Serrano: As in all things, Will Smith is the MVP.

Gruttadaro: It’s Martin Lawrence, who hasn’t lost a step despite appearing in only three movies in the past 10 years. If he’s not as funny as he is in Bad Boys for Life, the movie is DRASTICALLY worse. (Lawrence also stole the show in 2019’s The Beach Bum; can the Martinassaince start already?)

Yoo: Martin Lawrence got a vote from me every time he said the words “Oh shit!” Which means he outscored the competition by 400 votes.

5. So, basically everything in Bad Boys for Life happens because Mike Lowrey has a son he doesn’t know about—to what extent do the plots of these movies matter?

Lara: They don’t. The next one could be called Bad Boys Afterlife and Marcus and Mike could be hunting ghosts, and I’d still watch it.

Gruttadaro: Mike needs to be driving a car fast enough to make Marcus shit his pants—it does not matter where they’re driving to.

Serrano: They matter about 20 percent. Mostly we’re all there in the theater just to see Mike shoot at people and yell at Marcus while Marcus makes jokes and almost throws up.

Yoo: Me when you asked whether the plot matters in Bad Boys:

6. Who had the better cameo: Michael Bay or Reggie?

Gruttadaro: While I did love the narcissism of that Bay cameo, I can’t explain the volume with which the theater erupted when the audience saw Reggie. Everyone loves that guy.

Lara: Reggie is the only right answer.

Yoo: Reggie by a mile. The man has served our country and is beginning his new life with a beautiful family; Michael Bay just made us sit through 6 Underground.

Serrano: I loved the Michael Bay cameo—it’s always neat to see movies high-fiving themselves like that—but Reggie was entirely unexpected. He wins here.

7. Which other Hollywood star should’ve made a cameo in Bad Boys for Life?

Yoo: You’re going to shoot a movie in Miami and not have Mr. Worldwide there? I was shocked Pitbull was not featured in this movie.

Lara: If they got DJ Khaled to play a butcher/gangster, they should have gotten Rick Ross as a bouncer at the club or something.

Gruttadaro: Dwyane Wade, playing himself, but dating the Bad Boys universe version of his wife, Gabrielle Union, whom Mike dated in Bad Boys II. Actually nevermind, forget I published this thought on a website—I’ve got a screenplay to get to work on!

Serrano: Listen, it seemed pretty clear with the end-credits scene that the Bad Boys franchise is angling to make itself an alternate to the Fast & Furious franchise. So I guess let’s go ahead and throw Vin Diesel in there just to make things a little bit spicy.

8. Are you more Bad Boy or more AMMO, and how does your answer make you feel?

Columbia Pictures

Gruttadaro: I know I’m much closer to being a Bad Boy, particularly the one who pukes all the time. I accepted this state of washed-ness long ago.

Serrano: I don’t figure I’m either of them, and that breaks my heart.

Lara: My age is AMMO but my heart is Bad Boy.

Yoo: …….

[Takes a deep sigh.]

…..

Bad Boys for life ...

9. Is this the end of the Bad Boys saga?

Gruttadaro: I have about 60 million reasons to think that it is not. Bring on the BBEU (Bad Boys Extended Universe).

Yoo: It seems as though they’re going to turn AMMO into a Fast & Furious–type action movie crime fighting squad; plus, there’s this.

Serrano: Of course not, duh. Nor should it be. Let’s crank out another 10 or 12 of these Michael Bay–style Bad Boys movies. I’m always trying to get as many of those scenes where they show a plane flying over everything as I can.

Lara: This is just the start of the Bad Boys universe with Mike’s son; I bet we get one 20 years later with Marcus’s grandchild.