Same old same older

Mick Ferris
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Bad Boys: Ride Or Die (15, 115 minutes)

What can you do when the crowning moment of a long career also happens to be the exact point where it all comes crashing down over your head?

The fourth installment of the now almost 30-year old franchise was already in development when Will Smith’s “Slapgate” incident happened at the 2022 Oscars ceremony, but Sony could very easily have pulled the plug on the entire project in the wake of his fall from grace.

However, money talks in Hollywood like nowhere else and with 2020’s Bad Boys For Life making well over four times the $90million it cost to make, Smith’s past prodigious box office pull earned him a stay of execution at the very least.

But this film is going to be the first acid test of just how much his faux pas (bit of an understatement there) is going to translate to box office takings.

As witnessed with the Lethal Weapon films, by the time you get to number 4, the formula is well and truly embedded, stale some would argue. Smith and Martin Lawrence’s buddy cops are intrinsically the same as they have always been. Mike Lowrey (Smith) even seems to be driving the same Porsche 911 he had in 1995, but at an age where most detectives would have been living on their police pensions, Mike and his partner Marcus Burnett are still zooming around the streets of Miami dealing with drug bosses.

Even a heart attack on Mike’s wedding day can’t stop Marcus, who after a meeting with the spirit of their dead captain in the netherworld is back at work without a single day off sick.

When deceased Capt Howard (Joe Pantoliano) is framed for working with the drug cartels, the duo are determined to clear their friend’s name and, in a complete suspension of disbelief twist, recruit Howard’s killer, Mike’s imprisoned son Armando, to identify who took out the contract on their boss.

Cue video game type shootouts, car chases, explosions, a plane crash and a 16ft albino aligator.

It’s loud, it’s brash and it’s the same old same old with Smith doing his usual Will Smith and Lawrence chewing up the scenery at every opportunity, gurning his way through almost two hours of wisecracks and spiritual enlightenment.

Nothing remotely original here and incredibly silly – the sort of throwaway single page storyline stuff that used to get spewed out in the 1980s as soon forgotten Eddie Murphy vehicles.

Except this comes with a nine-figure price tag and the uncertainty about whether time is up for Mr Smith.

RATING: 5/10

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk

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