It is hard to believe 13 years have passed since the release of Bad Boys 2; the ultra-violent, aggressively un-PC action/comedy box-office smash that was hailed back in 2003 as (depending on your point of view) either an all-time high or a toxic low for the careers of Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, and director Michael Bay. The intervening years have seen Bay transition to Transformers features, Smith embarked on a series of increasingly low-grossing would-be franchises and dramatic roles and Lawrence pile up two more Big Momma’s House sequels.

Now, the series and the original stars appear poised to reunite, with action specialist Joe Carnahan all-but confirming on Twitter that he will step into Michael Bay’s shoes as director of Bad Boys 3.Carnahan has been circling the project for over a year, and is already known to have taken a pass at the screenplay. His near-confirmation of coming onboard to direct came in the form of a Tweet showing pre-visualization of a freeway action sequence, presumably from the feature.

Update: Carnahan tweeted a followup pre-vis image two days later:

While Carnahan is known among hardcore action fans for brutally-violent features like Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane, Narc, Smokin’ Acesand Stretch, he’s only been entrusted with a big-budget blockbuster once, in the form of the 2010 reboot of The A-Team. That film won praise for its comedy camaraderie and over-the-top action sequences, but was a surprise letdown at the box office. Since then, the director has won critical praise for the Liam Neeson wilderness-survival drama The Grey and has kept busy as a sought-after helmer for action-heavy TV dramas like The Blacklist and State of Affairs.

At present, nothing is known of the plot for Bad Boys 3. The original two films followed the adventures of a pair of Miami police detectives and lifelong friends, one a smooth, independently wealthy ladies’ man (Smith) and the other a perpetually-exhausted, short-tempered family man with a wife and troublesome children. A subplot in the sequel involved Smith’s character being romantically involved with the sister of Lawrence’s character, a storyline which could potentially translate into a significantly different relationship between the two men when audiences re-join their story.

It is also unknown what new energy Carnahan might bring to the proceedings. The Bad Boys films are often cited as a distillation of Michael Bay’s stylistic preferences, often indulging in patriotic and military iconography, elaborately-staged stunt sequences, and high-contrast color aestheticBy contrast, while Carnahan is known for his unflinchingly nasty violence and grim storytelling, stylistically he’s known as something of a chameleon: Smokin Aces and Stretch are glossy and colorful, while Narc and The Grey are more sombre, deliberate affairs. It remains to be seen whether he will try to ape Bay’s signature style from the previous films or chart a new course. At one point production plans were said to involve two sequels shot back to back, but it is unclear if that remains the case.

Screen Rant will keep you updated on Bad Boys III news as it is made available.

Source: Joe Carnahan (via Twitter)