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THE MOVIE GUY — The Bad Boys are back to bring nostaligia

"Bad Boys for Life”

Columbia Pictures

Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah

Rated R

2 ½ Stars

Quick. What do you remember about the 1995 movie, “Bad Boys?” I’m guessing that most people will recall that this Michael Bay action/comedy starred Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. I’m also guessing that most people won’t remember much about the story, the specific jokes or anything about the 2003 sequel.

All of which leaves me wondering why we needed a third film, but since Smith and Lawrence still make for a fun onscreen duo, “Bad Boys for Life” hits theaters this weekend and it turns out to be a fun little adventure that skates by on star power, plenty of pyrotechnics and more than a little bit of nostalgia.

The other question mark in this cinematic equation is Michael Bay, who gets a cameo moment in the film, but his many detractors will be thrilled to note that he is not directing this movie. Instead, we get two newbie directors fresh out of film school. Moroccan-born Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah get their shot in the director chairs, and they do a nice job of keeping things moving and letting their stars do the heavy lifting.

Okay, medium lifting.

Will Smith is not the movie star he once was, and Martin Lawrence’s career has all but fallen off a cliff lately, but the two men still have some nice chemistry and can fake their way through the action sequences. I was surprised at how effortlessly they pulled me into this quarter-century old story, which is a credit to their performing abilities.

That’s good, because the story isn’t anything special. This tale of the wife of a drug kingpin (Kate de Castillo) taking bloody revenge on the men who destroyed her narcotics empire is routine and filled with tired old action movie clichés. I will admit that there are some nice moments as our two aging heroes squabble with the younger officers in their squad, but it’s never notable enough to make you overlook the rest of the film’s problems.

The bottom line is that the film will work if you’re a fan of Smith or Lawrence, have a fondness for 90s action flicks, or just want to pass two hours with a mindless action flick. It’s not a blockbuster film by any means, but it does have some modest charm. I enjoyed much of the film, although it would never rise to the level of being a strong recommendation.

Columbia Pictures certainly hopes for strong audience word of mouth as they have already greenlit “Bad Boys 4.” Most people will roll their eyes at this news, but I wouldn’t mind another mild adventure with these charismatic, but aging, movie stars.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@sbgtv.com.