January 23, 2020 – The third film in the Bad Boys series, dating back to 1995, finally has a decent screenplay to back its two charismatic stars, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, but it looks and sounds ragged, despite its $90 million production cost. Even at that, this appears to be a hit movie that should turn a profit.
Smith and Lawrence once again reprise their roles as Miami cops Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett, respectively. Joe Pantoliano reprises his role as stressed out Captain Conrad Howard. This chapter in the trilogy finds Lowrey as wild as ever, while Burnett, now a grandfather, wants to retire from the force.
A mysterious gunman named Armando Armas (played by Jacob Scipio of “We Die Young”) shoots Lowrey, nearly killing him, and kills other cops, a judge and others involved in law enforcement. Despite the work of a high-tech team of investigators, Aramando's identity remains a mystery, until Lowery recovers from his injuries and gets back on the case. Using illegal methods of investigation and interrogation, he uncovers a connection between himself and the mystery killer.
That connection is Isabel Aretas (played by Kate del Castillo) a woman that Lowery had an affair with years before. Aretas had recently escaped from prison shortly before the string of murders started. The murders, and his shooting, are all connected to her conviction. Aretas, Armando and Lowery are all connected, and Lowery has a hunch how this puzzle fits together.
A very unlikely string of events puts Lowery and Burnett back on the trail of Isabel Aretas and Armando in Mexico City. Burnett manages to persuade a major crime team to back them against a tough criminal gang protecting Isabel and Armando. The team is headed by Rita (Paola Nuñez) a by-the-book cop who somehow agrees to this illegal raid in another country.
This, of course, leads to a big battle with lots of bullets and explosions, a helicopter crash and a face-to-face confrontation between Lowery, Aretas and Armando where old grievances are aired and secrets are revealed. At the end, there is an intriguing scene during the credits that indicates an upcoming sequel. Reportedly, the sequel is already in the works, but whether it finally gets made or not probably depends on how much money this film makes.
The story is compelling and the acting is good, with Smith and Lawrence working so well together. I thought the cinematography and editing were ragged in this film, and I did not like the sound mix. Part of the sound problem was in the high volume setting of the local theater's sound system, which was turned up way too loud.
This has happened before in this particular theater (Studio City UW+ARQ) so it may not be the fault of the sound crew on this film at all. The volume may have been set for a big crowd (more bodies absorb more sound) when there were very few people watching the film at the time of day I saw it. I will give the film the benefit of the doubt on that.
This an entertaining film with strong performances by Smith and Lawrence. The story is compelling, while the jokes are hit and miss. Humor is an important part of the success of the first two films in this trilogy, and it seems to be playing a key role in the success of this film as well. This film rates a C+.
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