Bad Boys: Ride Or Die Review


  • Martin Lawrence & Will Smith bring charm & chemistry, holding the film together.
  • Story connections & swift pacing make the film engaging.
  • The action is decent, but lacks stakes & can be overshadowed by silliness.

Once again directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (collectively known as Adil and Bilall), Bad Boys: Ride or Die is a crowd-pleaser. It’s a film you have to watch with the right audience, or else some of the humor won’t land. As a sequel that builds on what came before, screenwriters Chris Bremner and Will Beall do a great job pulling on a story thread that hasn’t been explored, while tying it seamlessly to Bad Boys for Life. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are just as sharp as ever, and their onscreen chemistry continues to hold the film together.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die still very much sensationalizes the police without much criticism beyond the rogue dirty cop. Their representation hasn’t changed much in the media in recent years. But as a continuation of a franchise that has been around since the mid-90s, Bad Boys 4 at least proves that having multiple sequels doesn’t mean the end of a franchise’s storytelling creativity. Detectives Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) and Mike Lowery (Smith) have experience and friendship on their side after they’re labeled fugitives after Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano) is framed, with only each other to rely on.


Where To Watch Bad Boys: Ride Or Die – Showtimes & Streaming Status

The Bad Boys franchise is back with another Will Smith and Martin Lawrence movie. Here’s where to watch Bad Boys: Ride or Die in theaters or at home.

Will Smith & Martin Lawrence Still Make A Great Onscreen Team

Bad Boys: Ride or Die would be nothing without their exchanges

Bad Boys: Ride or Die would just be another middling, forgettable action movie if it wasn’t for Smith and Lawrence’s incomparable camaraderie and banter. One of the best parts of the Bad Boys franchise is how it’s continued to explore Marcus and Mike at different stages in their lives. It would be easy to stick to the status quo and leave things unchanged, but life moves forward and so, too, do the characters. Adil and Bilall highlight a decades-long friendship, framing it as being just as integral to the characters’ survival as their families.

Smith and Lawrence capitalize on that without losing their comedic timing. They’ve got charm and they know it. Their witty exchanges hold the film together through its most audacious escapades. Theirs feels like a lived-in relationship, and it’s satisfying to watch them fighting together, still as loyal as ever, in this next chapter of their lives. Ride or Die also centers Marcus and Mike’s families — biological and extended, as is the case with Rita (Paola Núñez), Kelly (Vanessa Hudgens) and Dorn (Alexander Ludwig) — as much as their friendship. And it’s nice to see how their support system has grown.

Smith and Lawrence capitalize on that without losing their comedic timing. They’ve got charm and they know it. Their witty exchanges hold the film together through its most audacious escapades.

The film can be ridiculous at times, and even occasionally silly, but the filmmakers don’t let these moments linger too long before moving on. The pacing is sharp and slick, but it leaves moments for the relationships to flourish. It isn’t just an action-packed, high-octane flick; Ride or Die’s got heart and style to go along with it. Often, I was content to simply watch Marcus and Mike banter about Marcus’ love of candy as I was to watch them fight the villain, McGrath (Eric Dane). Sometimes the former was more satisfying than the latter.

And while Mike’s relationship is certainly less realized because of how little time we spend with his wife, Christine (Melanie Liburd), the actress does a good job with the very little she’s given. It’s not always enough to believe just how much Mike loves her, and his relationship with his son, Armando (Jacob Scipio), is far more intriguing, but the bare-bones context of their relationship is enough to work within the framework of the story. Armando, who Mike is trying to get out of prison, gets a redemption arc that works because the film doesn’t hit us over the head with it.

Bad Boys: Ride Or Die’s Action Sequences Are Serviceable

Adil and Bilall employ video game aspects to the action

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence look at each other while holding their guns in Bad Boys Ride or Die still

Ride or Die’s action scenes are exciting in and of themselves, though they’re nothing to write home about. They get the job done, but there is one particular scene that is a standout among them. It involves Marcus and Mike shooting at their assailants, with the perspective shifting to look like a first-person shooter game. There’s a fun moment when they also switch guns while in that first-person perspective and it’s a highlight, as is the final showdown between Mike, Marcus, and McGrath.

The action heightens the story, but there are only so many instances where there are actual stakes. While Captain Howard’s death in Bad Boys for Life was shocking, there’s never a moment in Ride or Die where I was scared anyone was actually going to die. Of course, killing off a great character in every installment is not the way to go, and it loses much of its impact if that were the case, but a bit more close calls would have elevated the sense of danger the characters were clearly in throughout the film.

And yet, Bad Boys continues chugging along with Ride or Die. Watching the sequel reminded me a bit of the Fast and Furious franchise — it tries to go bigger than before, while also maintaining its core relationships as a key to its success. Considering Bad Boys: Ride or Die focuses a lot on Marcus and Mike’s relationship, and their ties to their extended family, it’s not hard to imagine Smith and Lawrence could return for another adventure in Bad Boys 5. But I’m okay with the franchise ending with this film, though; it’s been a good run.

Bad Boys Ride or Die Movie Poster

Bad Boys: Ride or Die is the fourth installment in the action-comedy film series starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. The series centers on hard-boiled Miami detectives Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett, who take on dangerous drug kingpins and thwart dangerous schemes as they attempt to stop the circulation of illicit drugs in their city.


  • Martin Lawrence and Will Smith are still great together, with plenty of charm and chemistry
  • The story nicely connects to previous films and the pacing is swift
  • The supporting cast deliver, and the story is personal enough to maintain interest

  • The action is fine, but not amazing
  • Some of the cameos are distracting
  • The film can be too silly at times

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