Joe Carnahan talks BAD BOYS FOR LIFE; calls it "the strongest of the trilogy"

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Last week we heard the news that the long-in-development Bad Boys 3 – now titled Bad Boys For Life – is getting delayed again. And this is a good thing. We’ve had a number of blockbusters this year that totally didn’t live up to their hype, and with quite a few of them, they had release dates set in stone before even a single word of a script had been written. And the result showed in patchy screenplays.

Writer/director Joe Carnahan (The Grey, The A-Team, Narc) is not making that mistake with Bad Boys For Life. Speaking to i09, the filmmaker revealed the reason behind the film’s 6 months delay from its original mid-2017 release date was purely down to logistics – most notably star Will Smith’s commitments to Suicide Squad and other projects – but that he wasn’t willing to rush the script because of this.

“We couldn’t all get in a room, go through this thing and really ring it out… I’m a big believer in ‘Do the work at the script level until you’ve got something you know works.’ That everyone is happy with, the stars are happy with, the director is happy with, the studio is happy with.”

I’m all for that. It’s been 13 years since Michael Bay’s second Bad Boys movie, so waiting another half a year for a third is not big deal. But will the wait be worth it? As Carnahan himself recognizes, threequel’s are often the weakest in a franchise.

“Unless you’re Toy Story 3, usually third ones aren’t the strongest, and I think this one will be the strongest of the trilogy thus far. [It is] the strongest script of any of those movies. Hands down. In a walk over.”

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But what will this script be about? Bay already had Smith’s Mike Lowry and Martin Lawrence’s Marcus Burnett destroy most of Los Angeles and a whole wad of South America in their two action packed movies, so what new spin will Carnahan put on this? Well, for one thing, Smith and Lawrence are no longer one men anymore.

“There’s a lot of funny shit in this movie. And there’s also a very mysterious, but tonally spot-on story that I think is kind of perfect for where we are in this day and age, where the guys are and reflectively, a very modern take on these guys. It’s kind of what becomes of Bad Boys when they’re not boys anymore.”

Besides for Bad Boys For Life, Sony had of course commissioned a fourth film as well, which had many suspecting that this upcoming movie might be some kind of transitional sequel, where we would see the old boys passing the baton to the new boys. That’s definitely not the case, says Carnahan, as nobody except Smith and Lawrence can lead this series.

“There’s only one Will Smith and one Martin Lawrence. You can’t replace those guys and I wouldn’t want to be involved if it wasn’t Will and Martin. They are that franchise.”

Of course, there are a number of other fan-favourite elements in the franchise besides for Smith and Lawrence. And according to Carnahan you could be seeing some of them return for this movie… or maybe not.

“There are obviously little things you want to tip your hat to but I think the danger is becoming this slavish ‘We have to check all these boxes’. There aren’t these legions of people demanding your head because you didn’t bring back John Salley or you didn’t bring back Joe Pantoliano. I think you have to be careful with that. I’m always interested in ‘I know what has been done. What hasn’t been done?’ If not it’s just regurgitating old tropes and ideas and that’s not fun for anybody.”

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Recapturing the fun and chemistry of the original movies (hopefully without the bloat of the second film) is tantamount, as there is a massive legacy to live up to. And Carnahan is pretty confident that he’s done just that.

“When you’re coming back after 15 years, you better come back with a home run ball. And I really believe that’s what we have….We’ve got a responsibility to make something that’s absolutely equivalent or exceeds what comes before. That’s a really important thing for all of us”

I’ve been a huge fan of Carnahan’s work ever since I first discovered him on “Ticker”, one of the short films in BMW’s incredible 2001 ad campaign, and he definitely has all the tools to pull this off. Smith also just reminded the world in Suicide Squad that he can still be the charismatic action hero that once had him as the king of Hollywood. While Martin Lawrence… Well… Did I mention how good Carnahan and Smith is still doing?!

Bad Boys For Life is scheduled for release on January 12, 2018.

 

Last Updated: August 22, 2016

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