Bad Boys Ride or Die brings back the nostalgia and thrilling action of the beloved franchise, staying true to its roots.

“Bad Boys: Ride or Die,” the fourth installment in the iconic Bad Boys franchise, helmed by Belgian duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, manages to be a rollercoaster of extravagant action and high-energy sequences. Picking up the mantle from Michael Bay, who still lingers as a producer and occasional cameo, Adil and Bilall stay true to the franchise’s maximalist aesthetic.

From the outset, “Ride or Die” exudes a sense of high-budget, visually arresting production. The film is laden with expensive set pieces, from explosive car chases to chaotic shootouts, ensuring that every frame feels lavishly crafted, albeit not always innovative. It’s a feast for the eyes, even if it lacks the narrative depth or emotional engagement one might hope for.

The film’s plot centers around Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence), the dynamic Miami detective duo. Their chemistry remains the backbone of the franchise, providing both comedic relief and a sense of camaraderie that keeps the story grounded. However, “Ride or Die” seems more interested in spectacle than substance, often sidelining character development for the next big action sequence.

Despite this, the movie embraces its identity as a B-movie with A-list production values. Adil and Bilall infuse a sense of self-aware schlock that distinguishes their work from Bay’s sometimes overbearing pomposity. This willingness to revel in the absurdity and lean into the more ludicrous aspects of the plot gives “Ride or Die” a unique charm, even as it parades a series of clichéd set pieces.

Cameos from familiar faces like Joe Pantoliano’s Captain Howard, Tiffany Haddish, DJ Khaled, and even Michael Bay himself add a layer of nostalgia, though they sometimes feel like distractions more than essential story elements. These appearances are more about eliciting a quick “did you see that?!” reaction rather than contributing meaningfully to the narrative.

One notable drawback is the film’s reliance on outdated racial stereotypes for humor, a misstep that feels particularly jarring in an otherwise slick production. This choice undermines some of the film’s more genuine comedic moments and feels out of touch with contemporary sensibilities.

“Bad Boys: Ride or Die” culminates in a series of bombastic set pieces, including a hypnotic shootout on a military helicopter and a chaotic finale at a deserted Florida theme park. These sequences are thrilling but ultimately reinforce the film’s preference for style over substance.

As for the future, Adil and Bilall have expressed interest in taking the franchise international, potentially setting “Bad Boys 5” in various global locales. This expansion could inject fresh energy and new comedic dynamics into the series, provided it retains the core chemistry between Smith and Lawrence.

In conclusion, “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” is a visually impressive, action-packed ride that stays true to the franchise’s roots. While it doesn’t break new ground, it delivers enough thrills to satisfy longtime fans, positioning itself as a worthy, if not outstanding, continuation of the Bad Boys legacy.

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