I've said it before, and I'll say it again - nowadays, there's at least one hidden gem that can be found within the deep, dark pit that is the January/February dumping zone. They tend balance it out with the high ranking Oscar stuff, saving big releases for the Summer and Holiday seasons.
Here we have a title that probably should have sucked, just based on what it is - a third title that no one was really asking for, cranked out 15+ years too late. Plenty have failed before, so why should this have been any different? But I'll be damned if they didn't grasp at our nostalgia and fully succeed.
Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) come speeding back into our lives, and we welcome them with open arms, not realizing how much we actually missed them - Mike ever confident in his driving skills, while Marcus reluctantly goes along for the ride, on the edge of vomiting all over that sleek interior. The perfect scene to snatch us back up after 17 years.
After a bit of fun chaos, we find out Marcus has a newborn grandchild, and during a celebration, Marcus mentions retirement. This pretty much goes against Mike's thoughts of being partners forever, representing their mantra - "we ride together, we die together, bad boys for life". Before they know it, their friendship is tested, when a case very personal to Mike pops up, and Marcus refuses to get back into things, and become the family man he wants to be.
There's actually quite a bit that happens in between all that, I'm not gonna lie, but this is one of those movies that's full of interesting surprises along the way. In its own way, even for a 'Bad Boys' movie, things get pretty deep here. It was actually a great film for developing both Mike and Marcus, as it peels back some never before seen layers to them.
In case you might be wondering about it being too Michael Bayish, not to worry. This one is directed by the fairly green team of Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (here credited as Adil and Bilall). They must have been good fans, 'cause they did a bang up job here. There's just enough Bayishness, maintaining the fun, popcorn action movie that it should be. But it also tells a good story that moves things along with these two characters, as they start to deal with things like retirement, and family a little more than usual.
What more can I say? If you were a fan of the first two movies, you'll probably get something out of this. I might recommend rewatching them before going in, as well, just because of how things unfold here. I found it referring back to them more than I expected, and I hadn't watched either of them in years. I also think you'll get more out of Mike and Marcus' character development here, 'cause they do still play their respective characters very well. All in all, this was a pleasant surprise that I certainly did not see coming.