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Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reprise their roles as Miami detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett in Bad Boys for Life, the latest installment in the action-packed franchise, which is set to hit theaters Friday.
It’s been 17 years since Bad Boys II was released, so the stars and execs behind the third film dished on what fans could expect.
“If you just do a copy, then people aren’t going to be as interested. You have to continue the evolution of these characters … in this case, we really wanted to explore the emotion, the conflict between these two characters who are much older. That is what makes the movie fresh compared to the other ones,” co-director Adil El Arbi told The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
El Arbi and co-director Bilall Fallah took over for Michael Bay, who helmed the previous two films. They noted that fans could still expect the same explosive action that drew them to the original pics. “The movies were a product of their times and we wanted this movie to be a homage to the ’90s, so this nostalgia that you don’t necessarily have in those other two movies, that’s something new that you see in this one,” added El Arbi.
Bad Boys for Life finds the film franchise’s law-enforcement duo at odds with each other about giving up their dangerous lifestyles. Marcus (Lawrence) wants to retire to care for his grandson, while Mike (Smith) still tries to live up to his fearless reputation. But when a cartel mob boss targets Mike, the pair embark on one last mission.
“Old school and new school — that becomes a conflict, so that’s why I feel like this is the perfect timing to do Bad Boys III, because time had to pass to actually tell a story about how it’s time to retire from doing whatever you’re going to do. You can’t be a bad boy anymore,” co-star Paola Nuñez said.
The rest of the cast also felt the timing for the third film was imminent. “Of the movies I’ve done where people walk up on the street and say, ‘Hey, man, when are you going to do another one?,’ Bad Boys is the one. Nobody is asking for Pursuit of Happiness 2,” Smith said.
Although nearly two decades have passed since Smith and Lawrence appeared onscreen together, the castmembers reiterated that the chemistry between them is still as entertaining as before. “It’s always been fantastic. They have a real magic together and an appreciation and joy for the craft,” said Joe Pantoliano, who reprises his role of Captain Howard.
Smith and Lawrence, who arrived at the premiere by racing down Hollywood Boulevard in a blue Porsche, stopped at a stage and joined social media star King Bach and musician Nicky Jam to hype up the crowd. The pair also expressed their appreciation in a speech, thanking their fans for their years of support before walking the red carpet.
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