Bad Boys: Ride or Die

When Bad Boys, the first installment of the Bad Boys franchise first hit theaters back in 1995, the popularity of the buddy-cop genre was raging with such hits as Die Hard With a Vengeance, Point Break, and The Last Boy Scout tearing up the box office. Even so, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence were able to bring a new energy to the genre with their own unique brand of bombastic chemistry and witty banter.

Fast forward nearly three decades and as many additional installments, the latest, Bad Boys: Ride or Die, is but a hollow echo. Despite some new elements and a modernized treatment, the film struggles under the weight of an anemic script and tired humor, ultimately delivering a mostly forgettable experience.

"this installment is likely to grind your gears"

Our favorite Bad Boys are back, but this time with a twist: Mike (Will Smith) and Marcus (Martin Lawrence) are now on the run from the cops. Following the death of Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano, The Matrix) in 2020’s Bad Boys for Life, Mike and Marcus find themselves trying to clear the captain’s name after he was unjustly accused of a lifetime of drug-related crimes.

As our heroes inch closer and closer to revealing the truth behind Captain Howard’s death, Mike and Marcus become wrapped up in the cartel with a $5 million bounty on their heads. Hunted by the cops, targeted by the cartel, and now with every gang on the street seeking a piece of the bounty… whatcha gonna do when everybody comes for you?

One of the strengths of the previous Bad Boys movies was the dynamic chemistry between Smith and Lawrence. They had that magical ability to riff off one another in a way that felt natural and was always funny. Unfortunately, Ride or Die reveals that even witty banter has a shelf life. With jokes and sight gags that rarely land, the humor feels old and tired. While there are occasional glimpses of the duo's former spark, it’s not enough to keep this thing off life support. Adding to the strain is the shadow of Will Smith’s controversial behavior at the Oscars a few years ago, which, fair or not, adds an awkward weirdness to the viewing experience.Bad Boys: Ride or Die

In addition, screenwriters Chris Bremner and Will Beall rely a bit too heavily on recycled action movie clichés, making their plot feel uninspired and a bit too familiar. How many times can we watch detectives Mike and Marcus take down yet another drug lord? Their narrative lacks any real twists or turns, making it a predictable slog from start to finish.

That said, Bad Boys: Ride or Die isn’t without its merits. The Miami setting is gorgeously shot, and brings a vibrant backdrop to the otherwise dull narrative. Some innovative filming techniques during action sequences provide a visual feast, even if the scenes themselves really go nowhere. Also starring Jacob Scipio, Melanie Liburd, Alexander Ludwig, and “Better Call Saul”’s Rhea Seehorn, directors Adil and Bilall successfully shift some of the load onto side characters, offering brief moments of fresh energy.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die is a disappointing addition to a once-vibrant series. It desperately wants to recapture that past glory but ultimately blows a head gasket on the way to its conclusion. Fans of the franchise may find enough to like, but for those seeking another shot of that edge-of-your-seat action and outrageous comedy, this installment is likely to grind your gears.

2/5 stars

Film Details

Bad Boys: Ride or Die

MPAA Rating: R.
115 mins
: Adil El ArbiBilall Fallah
Chris Bremner; Will Beall
Will Smith; Martin Lawrence; Vanessa Hudgens
: Comedy | Action
Miami's Finest Are Now it's Most Wanted.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Everybody relax, the fire's on the outside... now it's on the inside!"
Theatrical Distributor:
Sony Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 7, 2024
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: This Summer, the world's favorite Bad Boys are back with their iconic mix of edge-of-your seat action and outrageous comedy but this time with a twist: Miami's finest are now on the run.


Bad Boys: Ride or Die