If you grew up in '90s, chances are you saw Michael Bay's first blockbuster movie Bad Boys and its sequel Bad Boys 2. The Bad Boys movies were massive successes and a third movie was only logical. Any plans for Bad Boys 3, however, seem to have been scrapped as Hollywood shifted interests from practical action movies to large-scale franchise tentpoles.
But after more than a decade, Bad Boys 3 was given new life when Sony confirmed the third installment, now titled Bad Boys For Life, will be directed by Joe Carnahan (Smokin' Aces, The Grey) and will see the return of Bad Boys' original stars.
But there's a catch: Bad Boys For Life will hit theaters on January 2018 instead of its promised 2017 debut.
Third Time's The Charm
Due to the delay for Bad Boys For Life, fans of the series voiced their concern, especially with the new release plan being set in a month notorious for being a graveyard for movies that lack studio confidence and support.
In an interview with Gizmodo, Joe Carnahan explained the third movie's delays and gave some updates. He also promised that Bad Boys For Life will be a well-made third installment and not an obligatory sequel.
Unless you’re Toy Story 3, usually third ones aren’t the strongest, and I think this one will be the strongest of the trilogy thus far... I’m a big believer in ‘Do the work at the script level until you’ve got something you know works.’ That everyone is happy with, the stars are happy with, the director is happy with, the studio is happy with.
Joe Carnahan emphasized that even if he'll be taking hold of a slightly aged franchise, he won't be chaining himself to Bad Boys' legacy. He promised that Bad Boys For Life will be a beast of its own.
There are obviously little things you want to tip your hat to but I think the danger is becoming this slavish ‘We have to check all these boxes... I’m always interested in ‘I know what has been done. What hasn’t been done?’ If not it’s just regurgitating old tropes and ideas and that’s not fun for anybody.
Getting To Know The Bad Old Boys
As popular as they may be, the Bad Boys movies are a product of their time. Rehashing the old formula will not work today. Fans coming back to the franchise when Bad Boys For Life finally hits theaters will be expecting the third movie to acknowledge changing times while staying true to its roots, and Joe Carnahan knows this.
There’s a lot of funny shit in this movie... there’s also a very mysterious, but tonally spot-on story that I think is kind of perfect for where we are in this day and age, where the guys are and reflectively, a very modern take on these guys. It’s kind of what becomes of Bad Boys when they’re not boys anymore.
The movie's stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence were Bad Boys' selling points and many deemed the franchise dead when Sony almost recast Will Smith - who was busy with Suicide Squad at the time - to make the movie's original 2017 release date. Joe Carnahan agreed with this sentiment and revealed that part of the movie's delays stems from his desire to make Bad Boys For Life as personal as possible.
Relationships don’t just happen. You have to cultivate them. You have to gain trust and encourage their own creative and artistic sensibilities... There’s only one Will Smith and one Martin Lawrence. You can’t replace those guys and I wouldn’t want to be involved if it wasn’t Will and Martin. They are that franchise.
Bad Boys may not be the most critically acclaimed example of its genre but it holds a special place in fans' hearts. As exciting as the upcoming third installment is, concerns over the long-delayed sequel's quality are reasonable. Carnahan promises fans that despite its delays, Bad Boys For Life will be worth the wait.
When you’re coming back after 15 years, you better come back with a home run ball...We’ve got a responsibility to make something that’s absolutely equivalent or exceeds what comes before. That’s a really important thing for all of us.
Old-School Is Still In
The Bad Boys movies are known for being some of the last old-school action movies that prioritized practical stunts and edgy humor over gigantic special effects laden set-pieces and an audience-friendly tone. At a time when almost every big action movie has something to do with superheroes, seeing the genre return to its grounded roots is a welcome breath of fresh air and gunsmoke for a generation that grew up watching the likes of the Terminator and John McClane.
Bad Boys is not the first set of action movies from the 2000s to harken back to the old days of the genre. Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables movies are good examples of this nostalgic callback. The difference between the two is that Bad Boys has a chance to succeed where The Expendables ultimately failed.
The Expendables 3 was seen as The Expendables' death knell when it lowered itself to a child-friendly PG-13 rating while also ditching its original cast of legendary action stars (aka the whole point of The Expendables) for a group of novices no one cared about. For many, The Expendables III was a betrayal of everything the action movie stood for. It alienated its core audience by trying to attract an audience who didn't get the genre's appeal.
Joe Carnahan has proven himself capable. Even if underappreciated, his talent for making gritty yet fun action movies is undeniable. With him directing and putting care into Bad Boys For Life, fans of the movies and the genre may finally get the gunslinging action movie they deserve.
Here's hoping that Bad Boys For Life will be more John Wick than The Expendables 3.