HOLLYWOOD—Sometimes you can indeed have a sequel that could be better than the original. I cannot believe I’m saying that, but here it goes: “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” is better than the 1995 flick. The 1995 movie starring Martin Lawrence and Will Smith alongside Tea Leoni was iconic people, than you had the 2003 flick, than the 2020 flick during the pandemic and the franchise felt like it was losing a bit of steam.

Well “Bad Boys: Ride of Die” has injected the franchise with new life and I can totally see how it broke box-office records recently. We see Smith and Lawrence back, so many people were asking if Will Smith was cancelled after the Oscars slap heard around the country back in 2022. Of course not, publicly people will never look at him the same, but a good movie is a good movie and that is what we have here.

Detective Mike Lowry is marrying his physical therapist Christine, after the events of the last flick where he learned he had a son, he never knew about. Marcus (Martin Lawrence) has a near death experience that changes his perspective on life; he wants to live free and he thinks he is indeed invincible. Look, if you want laughs you’re going to get them with this movie and Lawrence has never been funnier. I mean his antics, the dialogue, is spot on and had me laughing on the floor.

The bulk of the narrative follows Mike and Marcus trying to clear the name of their former Captain Conrad Howard (Joe Pantoliano), who was killed in the last film, but his reputation is tarnished after it is revealed that he was working with the drug cartels and stealing money. This leads Marcus and Mike on a wild goose chase that ultimately brings them to Mike’s jailed son, Armando (Jacob Scipio), who has information on the person that Captain Howard was investigating before he was murdered.

That big bad is portrayed by Eric Dane. Dane does a solid job as the villain here who is a force to be reckoned with. However, it is the supporting characters that truly help this movie shine bringing levity and laughter when you least expect it. Vanessa Hudgens and Alexander Ludwig return as Kelly and Dom, who are fantastic casting. They just deliver wit and laughter without trying too hard. I love Tasha Smith taking on the role of Marcus wife, Theresa, who was previously portrayed by Theresa Randle. Smith knows funny people, and there is even a surprise cameo I didn’t know of comedian Tiffany Haddish that works.

“Bad Boys: Ride or Die” gives the audience what it wants which is action, more action, and epic action. There were more shootouts, explosions and car chases in this flick compared to the previous three movies combined. If you’re touting a movie as an action-flick, you know what I want to see: non-stop, over the top action and I got that and so much more, as well as a few nifty camera tricks courtesy of Will Smith himself.

Just putting it out there, you should expect a fifth installment in the “Bad Boys” franchise soon because this one is proof that people will go to the movies when it is a good movie, especially in the past few weeks, where I was asking myself if the notion of the summer blockbuster was a thing of the past. “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” has proven the theater is still the place to be.