You would need to be a darn idiot to imagine that Sony thought it had a great film in “Unhealthy Boys For Life.” It’s being launched smack dab in the midst of the cinematic wasteland that’s January, the month the place unhealthy films go to die with little fanfare, by no means to be heard from once more. Hell, even that Recent Pigeon of Bel-Air cartoon, “Spies in Disguise,” received launched throughout Oscar season. Actually you’d anticipate a little bit extra release-date love for the third entry of successful franchise that stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as reckless cops armed with comedic banter and oodles of collateral injury. In spite of everything, its predecessors had been launched in April and July, respectively, and had been each directed by Michael Bay. Bay’s conspicuous absence added to my suspicions that there was little studio religion on this characteristic.
Surprisingly, “Unhealthy Boys For Life” is nowhere close to as unhealthy as its opening day schedule would point out. It’s the better of the three movies, providing in some odd methods a corrective to the prior installments. In contrast to the unique, this one finds some depth in its feminine characters; not like the second, it’s not an exceptionally vile mishmash of “Freebie and the Bean” and “Scarface” whose working time felt roughly 600 hours lengthy. This time, Detectives Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowery (Will Smith) are extra conscious of how a lot collateral injury they do, even when the latter have to be continually reminded to mood his carnage. I didn’t purchase this “kinder, gentler Unhealthy Boys” shtick for one minute, however that doesn’t imply I used to be bored. When the climax begins laying telenovela-level melodrama atop the explosions and gunplay whereas overtly cannibalizing concepts from “Gemini Man,” I needed to admire the audacity of these selections.
The movie opens with that dashing Porsche sequence from the trailer, with Mike and Marcus using their regular disregard for innocents whereas participating in what seems to be just like the pursuit of the most recent Miami prison. Seems all of the stunts are in service to getting Marcus to the hospital for the delivery of his granddaughter. Now a grandfather—or a “Pop-Pop” as he calls himself—Marcus re-evaluates his regulation enforcement profession. In contrast to his hothead associate, he has a spouse and household and desires to spend extra time with them relatively than the lots of of criminals he’s been taking pictures. Within the phrases of a much better buddy cop image, Marcus realizes he’s “getting too previous for this shit.” Mike tries to vary his thoughts.
In the meantime, one thing is brewing in Mexico, and I actually imply “brewing.” A self-proclaimed bruja named Isabel Aretas (Kate del Castillo) executes a grotesque, “Silence of the Lambs”-style jail breakout, reuniting together with her son Armando (Jacob Scipio). It’s all a part of a plan to homicide the individuals who put Isabel in jail and her husband within the grave. A kind of unfortunate people is Det. Lowery, whom Isabel instructions her son to kill final “so he can undergo.” Castillo performs her position with most toughness, a lot in order that I want she’d simply gone after her enemies herself, however that entire witch character trait had me anxious that “Unhealthy Boys for Life” was going to embarrassingly do for brujería what Steven Seagal’s “Marked for Dying” did for voodoo.
Armando executes his mom’s needs and enemies whereas clad in motorbike gear straight out of “Gemini Man.” He violates her order of operations, nevertheless, going after Mike first. The sequences following this assault try and imbue the movie with some actual emotional stakes, and credit score have to be given to Lawrence for reminding us that he can convincingly navigate dramatic scenes. Screenwriters Chris Bremner, Peter Craig and Joe Carnahan use this plot improvement to sneakily insert a motive for the aforementioned minimization of collateral injury within the motion scenes, although relaxation assured, there’s nonetheless sufficient violence for a relatively hard-R score.
Followers of the collection will discover a couple of Easter eggs hidden all through. My viewers laughed heartily at one which, sadly, jogged my memory of one of many worst scenes in “Unhealthy Boys II.” Regardless of the 25-year span between this movie and the unique, a number of solid members additionally return. Along with Smith and Lawrence, the always-welcome Joe Pantoliano is again as Captain Howard, the screaming police chief whose agita is exacerbated by the recklessness of his greatest cops. He’s very humorous, as is Lawrence, who finds some contemporary notes within the display persona he’s been taking part in since he debuted in “Home Occasion.”
Lest I neglect that, like so many different latest motion films that includes older stars, this film offers us a crew of new-fangled youths whose data of computer systems bumps heads with the extra hands-on strategy of their elders. Right here, it’s AMMO, a brand new unit run by Mike’s previous flame Rita (Paola Nuñez) and that includes Vanessa Hudgens from “Excessive Faculty Musical” and “Spring Breakers.” Their use of drones and hacking is mocked by the old-fashioned cops, so it’s solely a matter of time earlier than AMMO is compelled to make use of precise ammo to get their jobs finished. Whereas AMMO prepares for battle, Rita and Mike generate some plausible rom-com sparks.
Maybe the one shock in “Unhealthy Boys For Life” is its want to embroil us in an emotional stake for Mike and Marcus. Not within the superficial, buddy-buddy, bromantic approach you’d anticipate, however in a sincerely earnest approach that’s type of off-putting whenever you bear in mind how Bay’s movies prevented any semblance of heat. Dare I say that administrators Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah steal a web page from the “previous man’s lament” playbook that buoyed “Ache and Glory” and “The Irishman,” and that Smith and Lawrence do their greatest to attempt to pull it off. I had a “an excessive amount of, too little, too late” response to those makes an attempt to totally humanize Mike and Marcus, however your mileage might differ right here. If nothing else, I appreciated the try.
What I didn’t admire was the ridiculous, Marvel-style post-credits sequence that units up a possible “Unhealthy Boys 4: The Return of Thanos” or one thing like that. What about all that speak of “one final time” between Mike and Marcus? We didn’t want this time, not to mention the following. However I digress. Whereas I’m marginally not recommending this one, I’ll allow you to in on a little bit secret: If this had been on cable at 3am, I’d watch the hell out of it.