Bad Boys for Life has been one of those long-gestating sequels that seems to be finally getting underway. Writer/director Joe Carnahan (The Grey, The A Team) was previously hired on by Sony to take on this sequel to Bad Boys and Bad Boys 2 - which originally featured Will Smith and Martin Lawrence and director Michael Bay at the helm. Despite various delays (most likely related to Smith's schedule), Carnahan seems to have been hard at work in bringing these bickering Miami narcotics cops/friends/bad boys back to the big screen.
Various pieces of information on the development of a Bad Boys 3 have been in the news over the years, as it's an action series that is both exciting (due to Bay's explosions and action filmmaking) and generally likable thanks to the chemistry between Smith and Lawrence. Bad Boys 2, in particular, may not be called out for its high quality, as far as critical praise goes, but it does have enough of a following for fans to want more (not to mention insane action). Based on a new interview, it seems Carnahan knows he has a duty to deliver something special for those who have waited.
In an interview with Collider, Carnahan talked openly about what he's been up to concerning Bad Boys For Life and what the fans can expect. While confirmations have only been made via quotes, the way he spoke confirms that Smith will be heavily involved (many have questioned if a new director also meant getting new stars). Carnahan even offered information about the relationship of working with Smith and the many rewrites of the film's script:
“It’s been a pretty centralized process. I’ve been writing this thing for the better part of a year. And at times, Will and I have discussed this too, it’s nice to drop back and just worry about the directing part of it and have people come to you, so that you don’t burn out completely. We know we have to satisfy X, Y, and Z, let me take a shot at this, and see if it comes back and see if you like it, see if it works. In that respect, Will’s been wonderful and a lot of fun, and always a willing participant, always welcoming… It’s a constant search for making it better and better and better. And I applaud that, that’s a hell of a trait to have, because he could be the other way, like whatever, but that’s not his style.”
Carnahan also spoke about the chemistry between Smith and Lawrence, as that is actually what interested the director most. He states:
“It’s a very grounded, as much as it can be, Miami narcotics/robbery/homicide cops [story], two lifelong friends, these things are all appealing to me. That and knowing and doing something that I thought would be interesting, that would be an interesting challenge. Because those other films are Michael Bay’s and if you’re gonna come in you really gotta take it, you really gotta own that franchise. I came at it from a screenwriter’s standpoint and wrote my own version of the story, which is always exciting and fun. That’s what it was, being able to, as a writer, put my own spin on that world, more than anything else.”
There was also talk about creating new villains for the series, during Carnahan's Bad Boys 3 discussion with Collider:
“It wasn’t challenging [coming up with the antagonist]. It should’ve been. You’ve got all these years in the game and you’ve made all these enemies, you’ve accumulated all this, so in that respect it would be easy. But I don’t wanna say anything else because I don’t wanna ruin the delicacy of who our antagonist is, because I think it’s very cool. It’s not one person. It’s a multi-headed hydra, I’ll say that. It works beautifully.”
Lastly, Carnahan spoke about the film's potential R-rating, which has been key for the series. He states:
“I think it’s gonna be R. I don’t think we’re trying to make a PG-13 version of Bad Boys. We haven’t discussed the rating, but both the other films were R-rated; Deadpool made $800 million globally and was an R-rated film, the new Wolverine is R-rated. I think these things don’t factor it, my theory is people gravitate more toward R-rated films than PG-13, I think the PG-13 thing is betwixt and between now. It’s not fundamentally rooted in any metric where you can go, ‘Okay, we can prove that this had success because it was PG-13.’ Look at the Matrix trilogy, that was wildly successful and they were all R-rated films. Unless things change, I think we’re making a Bad Boys film and that’s an R-rated movie.”
One thing to keep in mind is how Bad Boys 2 did come 8 years after the first film. While this sequel has nearly doubled the amount of time found in the last break, there could be something to say in regards to looking at how action filmmaking has changed from the '90s to the early '00s and into the '10s. Carnahan's credits have certainly allowed him to dip his toes into different kinds of action (from Narc to Smokin' Aces) - so while Bay may be busy with Transformers movies and personal projects, it could potentially be great to team up Carnahan with producer Jerry Bruckheimer for a new kind of explosive fun.
Best of all is the potential of another ride through the streets of Miami, while Smith and Lawrence argue with each other in hilarious ways. Ideally the film also tones down some of the "Bayhem" found in the more ridiculous moments of Bad Boys 2, but at the same time, what else would audiences really want with another film like this? (Well, more Joe Pantliano, but what else?) Everyone will find out in the near future, but it will surely lead to a lot of gun fights and yelling, at least.
- Bad Boys for Life (2020) release date: Jan 17, 2020