Directed by Adil & Bilal (Adil El Arbi & Bilal Fallah)
Written By Joe Carnahan, Peter Craig & Chris Bremner
Story By Peter Craig & Joe Carnahan
Based on original Characters Created by: George Gallo
Cinematography: Robrect Hayvaert
Editor: Dan Lebental & Peter McNutley 

Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Joe Pantoliano, Kate Del Castillo, Jacob Scipio, Paola Nunez, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Nicky Jam, Theresa Randle 

Marcus and Mike have to confront new issues (career changes and midlife crises), as they join the newly created elite team AMMO of the Miami police department to take down the ruthless Armando Armas, the vicious leader of a Miami drug cartel. Now let me start off by saying I have seen all of these films in the theater. In fact I survived a mini mall riot when the first film was soo out at our local theater in Brooklyn. Over the years the films have come at different stages of my life and have meant a lot. As they are a kind of male bonding. Experience and shows the power of Friendship and your own chosen family.

It’s a film I have bonded with over the years with a bunch of my close friends. So I hold the franchise and it’s Motto close to my heart. Also as a film that has black leads kicking ass and are funny, stylish, smooth and dangerous. It is a franchise that is cool and gives off a degree of pride.

It took 17 years but the sequel finally happened. Even if it didn’t need too. Excited it did. While i can applaud this film for going with a more darker tone as far as material. It feels a little more grounded compared to the last film and in general this film is less operatic and epic as the films had become.

Which is probably due to Director Michael Bay not only skipping out on this film as director (but making a cameo being in one of his own dizzying camera shots) but also while his name is on it Producer Jerry Bruckheimer also not actively producing the film. Truly marking the end of an era. Michael Bay doesn’t even produce this movie (though he is scheduled to produce the next one)

So that this film is on some new ground with most of the same players. Bringing it into a new era. Though acknowledging the age of the stars. Which is why they bring in some new blood in the form of a techno swat team titled AMMO. All of whom seem to be here to be the new jacks and bring the detectives into the next era and also seem bound for a kind of spin off. The ammo crew while nice eye candy aren’t given much to do but be back-up though that is their purpose and to give women some Stake in the action and be just as tough and bad-ass

As by the end of the movie the film seems to hint at either the next installment or producing it’s own mythology and spin-off’s kind of like the FAST & FURIOUS franchise.

Now there is plenty to nitpick about here (like exactly what division are they with Robbery? Homicide? Both?) I will say while the film Is funny it doesn’t feel as strongly comedically based as the previous films. Though still not as funny as previous films.

While Martin Lawrence is here making a comeback starring in a film after a long break or retirement like his character. He is probably comfortable enough to make movies when or if he wants to. Here he is a full co-star but seems really here more for comedic relief more than anything. Who gets to see some action once in awhile and as a comedian he is truly gifted not only with humor but his physicality. Which is limited here somewhat.

Will Smith truly creates a character with mike Lowery because even though his characters in other movies are charismatic and smooth. His character here is more street smart, Physical and definitely more of a racy rated R character then he usually plays. Though each lead actor get’s top billing this is the first time Will Smith’s name is billed over Martin Lawrence. As this film deals more with his character and also Smith produced this film.

Both actors, Like their characters are starting to show their age and here the movie depends on them and their chemistry. As the storyline works and is ok for the action beats but after an early incident which sidelines one of the characters. The movie spends time with both characters but they are apart and for at least 1/3 of the film and that is what we really as an audience come to see. So they feel sidelined and while the film keeps the audiences interest. It’s like a romantic comedy as we wait for them to reunite.

The film truly goes haywire in the third act but the third act is also what redeems the movie and where it seems to come alive. It is also where it gets it’s most ridiculous. That starts to bring back the pleasant memories of BAD BOYS 2. In the way that it goes over the top in all manners.

The action set pieces are memorable and impressive but it feels like new franchise directors Adil & Bilal are trying too hard to emulate the other films. While trying to set their own style here. Which while not as big or colorful this film is more stylish and hip. It also allows to continue in the finale taking place on foreign soil.

This film also has what the other films lacked, more believable drama and conflict. This film also is noteworthy for an original character making a return and another one leaving the franchise.

While this film works I Hate to say it but these films need Michael bay he left his signature and the new directors do an ok job but they aren’t as strong and seem to try to do the same. Though they lack the definition and let’s face it general glee and tackiness that Michael bay brought to the franchise. Making the films feel more like an action fantasy of sorts. Never feeling quite real or believable but fun. As he created action legends for a new generation ones that were more urban and always fresh.

Not as down and dirty, It feels at times like a copy or an imposter trying to emulate the other films. Also The running time is felt and feels longer then The actual running time.

Though I can say here it feel more like the film is Playing for keeps. In the end not my favorite but satisfactory. It’s the third favorite of the series. Though this One works i can’t wait for the sequel. Hopefully for not as long.

Grade: C+

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