Bad Boys, bad movies, right? Not so fast. While the 1995 original and its 2003 sequel, both Michael Bay action flicks, have low Tomatometer scores, the new third installment is apparently pretty good. Bad Boys for Life, which is not helmed by Bay but reunites stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, is receiving rave reviews for a number of reasons, including its injection of heart into a 25-year-old franchise with a long-delayed second sequel. Smith and Lawrence’s chemistry, some thrilling spectacle, and a lot of laughs don’t hurt, either. In fact, this third helping is supposedly so good, you’ll want fourths.

Here’s what critics are saying about Bad Boys for Life:


ISN’T THIS JUST A CASH GRAB?

Bad Boys for Life is a welcome surprise that shows a series willing to change with the times.
– Matt Goldberg, Collider

This second sequel sincerely asks viewers to care about the inner lives of these two emotionally stunted cops… [and] it somehow pulls it off? (I’m as shocked as you are.)
– Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence bring their A game, never letting us feel like they’re going through the motions.
– Owen Gleiberman, Variety

HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO THE FIRST TWO MOVIES?

The anticipated sequel… basically celebrates everything that worked about the first two Bad Boys movies.
– Sean O’Connell, CinemaBlend

It may not be as raw as Bad Boys, but it’s more human. It may not be as operatic as Bad Boys II, but, well, neither was “The Ring Cycle.”
– David Ehrlich, IndieWire

This new installment… is decisively the best of the trio; it actually has a heart, or what passes for one in a gigantic, slam-bang industrial enterprise like this.
– Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

Bad Boys for Life lands somewhere in the middle, retaining the ridiculous action of Bad Boys II while discarding the go-for-broke mentality in favor of a story about the importance of family.
– Matt Goldberg, Collider

It’s a lot less egregious than Bad Boys II. (Low bar.)
– Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

(read more reviews at rottentomatoes.com)