Bad Boys and Bad Boys II director Michael Bay says the film’s threequel Bad Boys for Life needs to “get it going soon” or there will be no point in making the film. Released in 1995, Bad Boys was Bay’s introduction to feature filmmaking in Hollywood following six years of cutting his teeth on music videos for artists like Styx, Tina Turner, Lionel Richie and Meatloaf.
Starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as a pair of Miami narcotics detectives, Bad Boys marked the debut of Bay’s explosive directorial style for the moviegoing masses, and audiences responded with a tidy global gross of $141.4 million against a conservative $19 million budget. The success of the film was the beginning of a massive winning streak for Smith (who followed up Bad Boys with such blockbusters as Independence Day and Men in Black), and the demand for his services no doubt was in part to blame for why it took eight years before Bay was able to reunite with him and Lawrence to make Bad Boys II in 2003.
While the Bad Boys II earned more than $273 million globally (against a much bigger budget of $130 million), the production on Bad Boys for Life can’t find a way to come together, for whatever reason. Even though Sony Pictures is intent on making a third and fourth Bad Boys movie, No. 3 has been hampered by delays (it’s currently set for a November 2018 release and Bad Boys 4 has been moved to 2019) and the inability to keep a director (helmer Joe Carnahan left the film in March).
Bay, who is getting ready to release his last Transformers film at the helm, Transformers: the Last Knight, this week, is suggesting that the powers that be need find a way to get Bad Boys for Life done while it still makes sense to make the film. He explains his reasoning to CinemaBlend:
“Pretty soon they’re going to be old boys, okay? Pretty soon they’re going to be retired cops instead of active-duty cops. It’s taken a long time to get that thing going, and I’m not involved in getting it going. They should get it going soon, though. You could definitely get Martin and Will to be funny again — those were fun movies to do.”
Even though Bay is suggesting that he has no interest in directing Bad Boys for Life, he may end up being the only magnetic force to draw Smith and Lawrence back together to film the project. As a movie that helped define his career in Hollywood in many ways, Bay no doubt cares for the Bad Boys franchise; otherwise, he wouldn’t have made such a pointed statement about getting the third film made in the first place. Despite his detractors who object to his heavy-handed visual style, there’s no question Bay’s the right guy for the film. At this point in his career he wouldn’t be in it for the paycheck, but merely the passion of revisiting the material that he’s very familiar with, which is a huge plus.
With any luck, both Smith and Lawrence will be listening to what Bay has to say about the fact that both actors are aging. And quite frankly, both actors could use a hit. Lawrence’s list of credits has become relatively sparse since Bad Boys II, and Smith (apart from his supporting role in Suicide Squad) hasn’t had a bona fide hit since 2012’s Men in Black 3. Bad Boys for Life might not be a guaranteed success, but there’s no doubt that with Bay’s involvement, it would certainly grab a fair amount of attention.
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