Bad Boys for Life has continued to stand up box office victories, proving to be both a critical and audience favorite. The third in the Bad Boys franchise, Bad Boys for Life reunites Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, but Bad Boys and Bad Boys 2’s manager, Michael Bay, didn’t return to the next installment. Though the directing team Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, credited as”Adil and Bilall,” helmed the franchise’s latest release, Michael Bay’s worldview and politics nevertheless predominate Bad Boys for Life’s plot and artistic sensibility.
Bad Boys for Life follows Mike Lowery (Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Lawrence), two Miami narcotics detectives who are pursued by a mysterious figure from Mike’s past. As the narrative unfolds, the detectives discover that the spouse of a cartel leader is currently trying to assassinate everybody involved with carrying down the cartel and Mike. Joining the Bad Boys is an elite group of Miami officers called AMMO (Advanced Miami Metro Operations), that comprises a younger, tech-savvy set of operatives.
Even though it’s true that Adil and Bilall don’t direct exactly like Bay — the sequences of their actions are somewhat more comprehensible as well as the plot includes a couple of curved character arcs — Bay’s stamp is still around Bad Boys for Life. Particularly from the film’s connection to violence and gender, Bad Boys for Life apes Bay’s societal and political standpoint, one which is on full display in the first two Bad Boys movies.
Michael Bay Justifies Violence
Michael Bay’s action sequences are shot at magic hour with the language: 360 pans, slow movement, and majestic shots, and chaotic, explosive. That Bay makes violence look cool is not unique in the action genre. The same could be said of these volatile and brutal strings in Mad Max: Fury Road and the comic book stylings of The Avengers; wholesale murder looks balletic in John Wick. While the design of Bay is unique – there’s no fireball too big to get a Michael Bay film – his aim is comparatively common: to create his action scenes spectacular and fun.
What sets the use of violence of Bay besides other action movies is. His films’ veneration of violence is compounded by his plots, which never matter violence because of the solution to all the characters’ problems. From the initial two Bad Boys, there isn’t any sense that Mike and Marcus could peacefully solve the conflict, along with the movies catapult into the explosive third action without pause; Bad Boys 2 even ends with an invasion of Cuba. Back in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, the diplomats are relegated into MacGuffins – unformed characters whom the epic military officers must shield. His mockery of diplomacy carries more than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Where the Obama government futilely attempts to negotiate with the Decepticons.
Contrasted with Baby Driver, a movie that has just as much spectacle and enjoyable, but in which the principal character actively resists violence during, the point becomes evident: Michael Bay’s films justify violence on a visual and character level. And his choice to generate violence the only solution that the characters consider is pervasive throughout his filmography.
Michael Bay Connects Violence To Sex And Masculinity
Michael Bay believes violence is sexy. The allure of violence is developed in his films’ visual language. Throughout his work, including the first two Bad Boys movies, he shoots scantily clad women and explosions — and men considering explosions — with the same lingering low-angle respect. In his early work, Megan Fox’s Mikaela Banes at Transformers is shamelessly sexualized.
Paralleling gender and violence isn’t fresh, but in Bay’s movies, the sexiness of violence is expressly uncritical. Take another movie that explores the connection between violence and sex, David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence. Following Edie (Maria Bello) confirms her worst suspicions about her husband’s (Viggo Mortensen) ago, the two engage in rough and almost-grotesque sex on a sidewalk that contrasts with the mutual, playful love-making during the film’s first action. Later, Edie pushes her husband away, and in the subsequent scene, she slams the bathroom door closed behind her, leaving her husband with the realization that his abusive past forever damages their marriage. For a short moment in Cronenberg’s movie, violence was indeed hot, but maybe not in a lasting way.