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Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come … back … for you?

That’s the question some might have been asking themselves upon hearing that there would be a third installment in the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence buddy cop action comedy “Bad Boys” series. With 17 years having elapsed since the last entry, would this latest offering work? Would the high-octane rapid-fire profane chemistry of the two leads hold up? What about the new directing team of Adil and Bilall? Would they be able to fill the explosion-and-bikini-filled shoes of action auteur Michael Bay?

Do we need another “Bad Boys” movie?

Ultimately, the answer is “no” – and that’s OK. We don’t need another “Fast & Furious” movie. We don’t need another Marvel/DC movie. We don’t need another cartoon musical. But they’re still fun, and that’s what “BBFL” is. It’s fun. A lot more fun than it has any right to be, in fact.

This film is a throwback to a different era of action movie, one anchored and elevated by the still-strong comedic dynamic between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. It somehow manages to simultaneously acknowledge and ignore the passage of time, a look at two guys coming to terms with the realities of aging while ALSO still clearly being far and away the coolest dudes in the room. It’s ridiculous and sublime and unexpectedly honest, close to the best-case scenario for a story that’s been gathering dust for nearly two decades.

Published in Movies
Tuesday, 15 October 2019 20:37

Battle of Wills – ‘Gemini Man’

Anyone who’s paying attention realizes that we’re moving into a post-movie star realm of cinematic entertainment. The vast majority of movies are IP-driven – the franchise matters more than the star. It’s the classic Johnny Bravo conundrum writ large – it’s all about who fits the costume, and with the current state of CGI … anyone can fit the costume.

There are a few leftovers from previous eras who are still hanging around to some extent – your Cruises, your Pitts, those sorts – and a couple of new guys (well, just one if we’re being real – congrats, The Rock!), but that’s about it.

Will Smith is one of the holdovers, someone who has been using raw charisma to dominate the big screen for going on a quarter-century. He is one of the scant handful of people out there to whom the descriptor “movie star” can still be applied, despite a … let’s just call it a questionable body of work. But hey – he’s still a movie star, right? And what could be better than a blockbuster movie featuring Movie Star Will Smith?

How about TWO Will Smiths?

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 29 May 2019 11:47

A ho-hum new world – ‘Aladdin’

We can all agree that Disney more or less rules the cinematic landscape at this point, yes? We don’t have to like it, but there’s no denying the company’s omnipresence on our screens. The Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars movies have definitely filled the coffers to overflowing, but those films are far from the only moneymakers in Big Mouse’s stable.

Another high-impact trend for Disney is the onslaught of live-action remakes of their beloved animated films. They’ve been having success with that formula for a few years now, but 2019 sees them really pushing the envelope.

The latest is “Aladdin,” a remake of the beloved 1992 animated film. It’s perhaps the boldest maneuver yet, considering the iconic nature of both the movie as a whole and of the performance by Robin Williams as the Genie in particular. Basically, we’re left to wonder why (hint: the answer is money – it’s always about the money).

This new film – directed by Guy Ritchie (I’m as surprised as you are) and featuring Will Smith assuming the bright blue mantle of geniedom – had the look of an utter disaster early on. And while it turned out to be considerably better than that, it only succeeded in being … OK. Not terrible. Not great. Just OK. And that bland meh-ness is maybe the worst place it could have landed; we’re left with a movie that is almost defined by how unnecessary it feels.

(Of course, it also did nine figures at the box office opening weekend, so what do I know?)

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 11:22

‘Collateral Beauty’ pretty terrible

Once upon a time, Will Smith was one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood, part of that small cadre of actors who could bring big box office through little more than the virtue of their name. Will Smith was one of those guys.

Sadly, he is definitely not that guy anymore.

Published in Movies
Friday, 05 August 2016 09:47

'Suicide Squad' goals

Latest DC effort can't quite pull it together

There's no disputing that when it comes to making the leap from comic book pages to the big screen, Marvel has got it all over DC right now. For any number of reasons, Marvel and its Avengers have basically worked out a way to delight fans and critics alike.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 11:38

Where the son don't shine After Earth'

Smith's father-son project bland, boring sci-fi

Nepotism is a major part of the entertainment world; the world in general, really. You'd have to be nave not to understand that. It's just the way things work. Sometimes, someone is going to gain an advantage in his or her career simply by virtue of shared DNA. Most of the time, it isn't that big a deal. A cousin gets a PA job, a nephew gets a few lines of dialogue, that sort of thing.

On the other hand, occasionally you get 'After Earth.'

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 30 May 2012 13:48

Men in Black 3' surprisingly strong

Will Smith's screen return has humor and heart

When I initially heard about 'Men in Black 3,' I didn't think much of it. It's summertime; of course there are going to be blockbuster sci-fi/action sequels. That's just how it works. But when I sat down to actually watch the movie, something obvious only just then occurred to me.

I have never reviewed a Will Smith movie.

His last film was 'Seven Pounds,' released in 2008 (well before my published film criticism began). Despite the fact that Will Smith is (I think) still considered one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, he hasn't opened a movie in four years.

Published in Movies
Thursday, 24 May 2012 01:01

Celebrity Slam - May 23, 2012

It's been one of those weeks here at Celebrity Slam. Most of the time, we're lucky enough to get two or three items that really demand the full treatment. However, sometimes, the spotlight-seekers and mouth-breathers manage to mostly behave like functional human beings for a seven-day stretch.

Therefore, we're looking at a quick hits-type column for this edition. We hope to get back to our regularly scheduled in-depth scorn and mockery next week. Thank you for your patience.

Published in Celebrity Slam

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