Bad Boys for Life (2020) Movie Review

Director: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah

Writer: Chris Bremner, Peter Craig, Joe Carnahan (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Alexander Ludwig, Vanessa Hudgens, Joe Pantoliano, Kate Del Castillo, Jacob Scipio

Plot: The Bad Boys Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are back together for one last ride in the highly anticipated Bad Boys for Life.


Tagline – Ride Together. Die Together.

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Absolute Blast

Story: Bad Boys for Life starts as we hit a new personal landmark for Marcus Burnett (Lawrence), he has become a grandfather, considering retirement once again, Mike Lowrey (Smith) doesn’t want him to retire and after he is shot in a drive by, by a vengeful Armando (Scipio) life flies by.

Mike wanting to hunt his attempted killer, must reluctantly work with a new department known as AMMO run by his ex-girlfriend Rita (Nunez) to learn who is behind this and why has he become targeted.

Thoughts on Bad Boys for Life

Characters – Mike Lowrey is still the playboy we know from the first two films, he actually even runs from the new baby showing he fear of commitment once again, he gets shot, only just surviving and comes back with hate in his blood, wanting to break every rule in the book, he must look into his own past to learn who his want to be assassin is. Marcus Burnett has become a Grandfather, now he wants to retire for good and after Mike’s shooting he follows through, only he is bored with his retirement and reluctantly helps Mike look into the case, getting all of the laughs along the way. Isabel is the escaped convict who has targeting Mike with her son doing her dirty work, she is known for believing in the dead, with her son willing to do anything for her. Armando is the son of Isabel who will do everything his mother askes him to, to get revenge for his father’s death, becoming the deadliest enemy that the bad boys have come up against

PerformancesWill Smith does take more of the centre stage this time around, but he does an excellent job, giving one of his best performances in years, if not decades. Martin Lawrence does steal the show here, he gets the laughs in every single scene, as the pair just have the chemistry producers pray to have on screen. Kate del Catillo makes for a great villain, being different to what we have seen before, while Jacob Scipio is wonderful as the deadly fighter, who will do anything for his mother.

StoryThe story here continues the adventures of the bad boy detectives in Miami, with one facing life of death and the other looking to his future away from the force. This might well be the most personal of the stories, the pair have been through. The continuing life growing situations Marcus goes through works wonderfully for the comedy side of the film, while Mike has a more intense storyline, which feels like it could be more for a vendetta based movie, even though he shows how the balance the law with the work. The story keeps us wanting to see the motivation behind why Mike is being targeted, while showing us just how the two senior detectives will need to embrace a younger approach to fighting crime.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action in this film is a nice mix of car chases, fight scenes and a big spectacle ending which continues to build up the stakes as the shoot out goes on. The crime side of the film doesn’t focus on the drug world this time, it is a criminal’s revenge mission against people they believed wronged them, which is different and nice to see. The comedy is the best in the franchise here with Martin Lawrence getting most of the laughs, while we do get a couple of generational laughs along the way too.

SettingsKeeping the film set mostly in Miami is good for the series, it is where the cops operate in, we do see them travel for the final battle, which is no different than the last one.


Scene of the Movie – Hotel fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel like a better story than one of Will Smith’s recent films.

Final Thoughts This is a blast, so much fun with Smith and Lawrence hitting out the park with their performances.

Overall: Most Fun at the Cinema This Year.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – Q – The Quake (2019) Movie Review

Director: John Andreas Andersen

Writer: John Kare Raake, Harald Rosenlow-Eeg (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristoffer Joner, Ane Dahl Torp, Edith Haagenrud-Sande, Katherine Thorborg Johansen, Jonas Hoff Oftebro, Stig R Amdam

Plot: In 1904 an earthquake of magnitude 5.4 on the Richter scale shook Oslo, with an epicenter in the “Oslo Graben” which runs under the Norwegian capital. There are now signs that indicate that we can expect a major future earthquake in Oslo.


Tagline – The Wave was only the beginning.

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Set Piece Disaster Film

Story: The Quake starts one year after the events of the Wave, Norway is remembering the tragedy, while preparing for any other unexpected disasters, with belief there could be an Earthquake in the near future. Geologist Kristian Eikjord (Joner) is still feeling guilty for the number of people who died, despite saving his family from the tragedy.

When one of Kristian colleagues dies looking into seismic activity, it brings he out of his research to follow up on the information he has received and now in the Oslo, his worst fears look like they might come true.

Thoughts on The Quake

Characters – Kristian predicted the tsunami in the Wave, he couldn’t save everybody, now he is still feeling the guilt of not saving everybody, now he believes there could be an Earthquake hitting Oslo, one that could take more lives, he wants to find evidence to prove this, even if it means he is becoming more distant from his own children. Idun is the ex-wife to Kristian who will give him chances when it comes to their children, but doesn’t want to forgive him for become distant from then in the past. Julia is the daughter that wants to spend time with her father, she is getting pushed away by his own guilt, she will be the one that needs to be rescued the most in the film. Marit is the daughter of the colleague, that starts helping Kristian with his research understand that his work meant something more and his death can’t be in vain.

PerformancesKristoffer Joner does return as does the most part of his family actors, he is the best performer in the film, with her desperation, while the rest of the cast don’t seem to get as much impact in the film.

StoryThe story in the film does follow the guilt of surviving a disaster and the fear another one could come, before it does hit showing the desperate actions of one man to try and save his family. The story does follow the same formula as The Wave, so we know we are getting into a debate between characters about whether it could happen or not, before the event, the event itself is big and the battle to survive likewise, even if certain parts of it are repeated. It does feel slightly too random that everybody else does just vanish after the quake as we solely focus on the four trying to figure out how to survive.

ActionThe action here does wait for the big event to happen, which is a big event and doesn’t hold anything back.

SettingsThe film does take us to a new location, a big city in Oslo, with the big disaster sequences happening within the skyscrapers, with so how dangerous they would be in an Earthquake.

Special EffectsThe special effects are used for the destruction sequences, which do look terrifying, it shows the pure amount of destruction a city will face and fires up the tension in the film.


Scene of the Movie – The Quake Hitting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Trying to survive in the quake is slightly too repetitive

Final Thoughts This is a nice sequel to The Wave, the disasters are still big and the determination to survive is the most important part of the film.

Overall: Big Disaster Movie.

Ground Control (1998)

Director: Richard Howard

Writer: Mark Shepherd, Robert Moreland (Screenplay) Talaat Captan, Robert Moreland (Story)

Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Bruce McGill, Kristy Swanson, Robert Sean Leonard, Kelly McGillis, Margaret Cho, Ruben Paul

Plot: A disgraced former air traffic controller is called back into service when the airport’s traffic control system malfunctions.


Tagline – No Radar. No Contact. No Control.

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Smart Thriller

Story: Ground Control starts as air traffic controller Jack Harris (Sutherland) loses one of his planes in an accident, with nothing being his own fault. Jack is out the game working on developing a video game in air traffic controlling when his friend T.C. Bryant (McGill) comes to him in need of help because of the workload thrown upon his team.

When Jack reluctant agrees to work for one night, he must face his past, even with hot shot new trafficker Cruise (Leonard) not wanting to work with him and rookie Julie (Swanson) willing to learn off Jack.

Thoughts on Ground Control

Characters – Jack Harris was once one of the best air traffic controllers in the business, he does suffer the nightmare of all the air traffic controllers have, losing a plane, turning to the drink to blame himself for what happened. He has turned to designing video games, but it talked into return on a business night, where he must finally face his own past and deal with the pressure once again. T.C Bryant is the friend of Jack’s who has turned to him for help deal with the added pressure piled onto him, he controls the team with his work, which sees him showing off his micromanagement skills. Julie is the rookie on her first night in the team, nervous at the start, Jack offers to help her, while Cruise is willing to put her under pressure. Cruise is the hot shot that gets through the day with his abilities that could make him the best in the business, his attitude has been the one thing that has always held him back, where he is the closest to a villain we have in this film.

PerformancesKiefer Sutherland was a strange choice for this role, when it comes to being in the controller persons, he is great to watch, but when it comes to the unsure nervous filled with regret side of the character he does seem slightly miscast. Bruce McGill, Kristy Swanson and Robert Sean Leonard are all great to watch in their roles in the film.

StoryThe story here follows one night in an air traffic control station which has had increased number of flights thrown onto them and the pressure forces the boss to turn to his old colleague to help even though he has been battling his own problems. This is a story that does come from a strange angle because instead of doing anything glorified or over the top, it simply just looks to focus on the pressure these teams will be facing while working on daily basis. We do have the incidents that will show how calm they need to be and how easily they can work to solve the problems they face and by the end you will find yourself gripped to what is happening.

Action/AdventureThe action involved in the film is mostly off camera, it follows what could happen with the planes during difficult decisions, while it does have an adventure tone through how Jack wants to overcome his problems.

SettingsThe film is set within the air traffic control station which shows us how close the team must work together for when the pressure grows.


Scene of the Movie – The last plane to land, it is an intense scene.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Sutherland doesn’t seem to fit the nervous unsure figure.

Final Thoughts This is a tidy thriller that does keep us guessing just to what will happen next with the pressure being piled upon the team, it does keep everything feeling realistic too by only showing the team at work.

Overall: Air Traffic Thriller.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – M – Miss Bala (2019)

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Writer: Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (Screenplay)

Starring: Gina Rodriguez, Anthony Mackie, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Aislinn Derbez, Matt Lauria, Damian Alcazar, Ricardo Abarca

Plot: Gloria finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength. Based on the Spanish-language film.


Tagline – Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Miss Congeniality 3?

Story: Miss Bala starts when makeup artist Gloria (Rodriguez) visits her friend Suzu (Rodlo) in Mexico only for a night out to end up with a shoot out and Gloria finding herself being dragged into the criminal world by Lino (Cordova) threatening to kill her and Suzu if he doesn’t help.

Gloria is also recruited by the DEA and she is caught in the middle of both worlds trying to decide what is best to do, while she just wants to keep her loved ones safe.

Thoughts on Miss Bala

Characters – Gloria is a simple make up artists that is always dreaming of getting higher up the business, she has friends both sides of the American border, which sees her visiting Mexico a lot, including seeing her best friend. She gets caught up in the middle of a shoot out and becomes the target for the Mexican cartel who want her to help them transfer across the border. She needs to do what she can to remain alive, whether it be illegal or not. Lino is the runner that has the ruthless gang that forces Gloria into working for him, he offers the most human emotions of the people trying to push her around. Jimmy is one of the connections on the American side, he believes there is a problem within the gang.

PerformancesGina Rodriguez does a solid enough job in the leading role, though it does seem like she doesn’t know this world is happening in her character. Anthony Mackie does feel more like a cameo that an important role in the film. Ismael Cruz Cordova is the best performer in the film

StoryThe story here follows a makeup artist that gets drawn into a criminal world where she is forced to complete illegal actions to make sure her friends are kept safe, while learning more about the corruption within the world she has been thrown into. This does show us how one person can be thrown into a world they know nothing about, while it also shows us just how the world is both corrupt and one that can swallow people whole if they don’t fight back in their own way. We do only learn what is happening through the eyes of Gloria, which helps keep certain parts more of mystery, though being a remake, it does seem to lose a big part of the story.

Action/CrimeThe action is just wild shootouts which don’t feel like they are as tactical as both sides think not being the most entertaining, while the crime world is everything people imagine the cartels to be.

SettingsThe film does show us just how close the two worlds could be despite being two different countries.


Scene of the Movie – Final shootout.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We have seen this story before.

Final Thoughts This is an unimaginative action crime that we have seen before, it doesn’t reach any levels of intensity which it should, with the performances just not making the film any better.

Overall: Basic Action.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2019 – G – Gemini Man (2019) Movie Review

Director: Ang Lee

Writer: David Benioff, Billy Ray, Darren Lemke (Screenplay)

Starring: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Douglas Hodge, Theodora Miranne, Benedict Wong, Ralph Brown

Plot: An over-the-hill hitman faces off against a younger clone of himself.


Tagline – Who will save you from yourself

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: By the Books Action

Story: Gemini Man starts when government assassin Henry Brogan (Smith) is looking to retire after his latest job, but his latest job might not have been as clean as he thought, with the target turning out to be a specialist not a criminal terrorist. With his government turning on him, he meets rookie DIA agent Danny Zakarweski (Winstead) who was assigned to watch him, when they are all burned, Henry and Danny go on the run.

Henry must use all his connections including Baron (Wong) to stay ahead of Clay Verris (Owen) and his latest project, Junior (Smith) a younger, faster version of Henry, only one that finds himself in a pawn in the bigger scheme.

Thoughts on Gemini Man

Characters – Henry Brogan is a government assassin, the best assassin, only now he wants to retire because he doesn’t want to make a mistake, which he saw nearly happen on his last mission, he finds himself targeted by his former bosses that want to eliminate any loose ends, he uses his skills to fight back and stay alive. Junior is the cloned version of Henry that is younger fast and trained to be just as good if not better than Henry, he never knew this about himself and now he is stuck in the middle of completing his mission or learning the truth. Danny is a young agent that started as surveillance of Henry, but ends up fighting next to him to remain alive. Clay Verris runs the Gemini Project, he has raised Junior to be his own son and will do anything to keep America safe from anybody he sees as a threat.

PerformancesWill Smith in the leading role or roles, here is trying his best to recapture the magic that once made him the biggest star in the world, sadly he just doesn’t seem to be able to play the serious action roles the way he can handle the funny ones. Mary Elizabeth Winstead does well in her supporting role, handling the action well through the film, while Clive Owen just becomes the typical villain he can do in his sleep.

StoryThe story here follows a former government assassin that gets burned when he tries to retire and now he must go on the run with the very man hunting him being his younger clone from a project he never knew was real. This does try to spin another way of doing the burnt assassin who wanted out only to see his employer coming after him. We have seen the double idea before too, so we lose the originality idea too. We do have a lot of go to one location before heading to the next after having an action sequence of some sort. By the end of the story we just do the basics to give us a chance at a new technology rather than a new story.

Action/Sci-FiThe action scenes are interesting to see, we do get a great chase sequence through Columbia, while the rest are all designed to feel a lot more deadly than the last one, while the sci-fi side of the film seems to follow the idea that clones could be the future.

SettingsThe film does use plenty of settings, with each being used to give us a new action scene and that is about it.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to put the two Will Smith’s on screen together, which at times don’t look as good as they should be.


Scene of the Movie – Columbia chase.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The story just seems too slow.

Final Thoughts This is just another action film that is trying too hard to be different and only ends up failing to capture the magic of an action film.

Overall: Simple Action Film.