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Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Bad Boys for Life (4K Blu-ray) (2020)

Bad Boys for Life (4K Blu-ray) (2020)

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Released 29-Apr-2020

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Comedy None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2020
Running Time 123:59
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Adil El Arbi
Bilall Fallah
SONY Pictures
Universal Sony
Starring Will Smith
Martin Lawrence
Vanessa Hudgens
Alexander Ludwig
Charles Melton
Paola Nuñez
Kate del Castillo
Nicky Jam
Joe Pantoliano
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Lorne Balfe

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS-X
English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1 (1509Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (1509Kb/s)
Spanish DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (1509Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 2160p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Sony phones and cameras prominently appear
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    17 years after the heavily criticised but still enormously entertaining Bad Boys II, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence finally return with 2020's long-delayed Bad Boys for Life. With Michael Bay stepping away for this sequel, Belgian directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah enter the fray, aided by screenwriters Chris Bremner, Peter Craig (The Town) and Joe Carnahan (Narc). Rather than a stale, lazy rehash of established franchise tropes, Bad Boys for Life gives the brand some life-saving reinvention, introducing unexpected storytelling maturity while also taking the narrative seriously for once. It's definitely a Bad Boys movie, as the new filmmaking team maintain the franchise's longstanding proclivity for violence, profanity, bantering, and other masculine virtues, but this third instalment is more good-natured and likeable, thanks in large part to Bay's creative departure. The result is a welcome and refreshing surprise, surpassing all reasonable expectations with confidence.

    After Miami detective Marcus Burnett (Lawrence) witnesses the birth of his first grandchild, he begins growing weary of his age, and plans to retire. But Marcus' partner, Mike Lowrey (Smith), is not ready to retire or settle down, refusing to acknowledge his age despite needing to dye his grey goatee. Meanwhile, when criminal Isabel Aretas (Kate del Castillo) breaks out of prison with the help of her son, Armando (Jacob Scipio), she begins planning her revenge for the death of her cartel kingpin husband. Under orders from Isabel, Armando begins targeting the officials who were responsible for bringing down the Aretas cartel, including Mike. When Mike survives an assassination attempt, he wants justice, seeking to convince his blustery boss, Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano), to let Miami's "Bad Boys" find out who tried to kill him. With Marcus back in action for one last ride, the pair join up with AMMO (Advanced Miami Metro Operations), a new tech-driven police taskforce led by Mike's ex-girlfriend, Rita (Paola Nuñez).

    As much fun as it is, story was not a primary (or even secondary) concern for Bay's Bad Boys II, which concentrated more on comedic vignettes, savage bloodletting, and over-the-top action mayhem. But with Bad Boys for Life, the story - while still relatively familiar - is surprisingly thoughtful and character-based, which demonstrates that this is not merely a lazy cash-in. This third instalment is about age, with Marcus seeking to retire and live peacefully with his family, while Mike is determined to live in the moment, continuing to gun down bad guys and sleep with random women for as long as possible. Astutely, the screenplay gives the pair actual dimension, with Mike and Marcus forced to confront their mortality, perceptions of faith, and the consequences of their actions. Additionally, the world has changed considerably since Bad Boys II, with modern law enforcement evolving towards non-lethal weaponry and tech-heavy investigative methods; thus, the titular pair's reckless, trigger-happy ways are no longer tolerated. Bad Boys for Life heavily leans into this dynamic, as Mike and Marcus reluctantly try to adapt to AMMO's modus operandi, though they never balk at the prospect of a violent shootout.

    Fortunately, Bad Boys for Life continues the series with an MA15+ rating, which allows for impactful violence and salty dialogue. Uproarious comedic moments pepper the movie, including snappy banter and recurring jokes, in addition to some welcome fan service, most notably in the form of two cameos that will have fans grinning ear to ear. However, while Bad Boys for Life earns big laughs, the tone is more dramatic on the whole, with a real sense of peril and higher stakes than ever. The tonal shifts are not always successful, and the complex story machinations mean that it's not as purely fun as Bad Boys II, but the material's sincerity is a massive advantage, serving to elevate this sequel above more run-of-the-mill action films. In addition, with a generous $90 million budget at their disposal (which is still less than Bad Boys II's goliath $130 million price tag in 2003), directors Adil and Bilall adeptly put their own aesthetic stamp on the production, with a style that's influenced by Bay, but without his extreme idiosyncrasies (i.e. no shots lingering on female body parts, and intense over-editing). Action sequences are coherent and frenetic, while the visuals are unfailingly slick throughout, thanks to Robrecht Heyvaert's polished cinematography. Luckily, the production relies on old-fashioned stunt-work and practical effects as often as possible, which gives the action more immediacy. Additionally, with such a comparatively modest budget, the action is not ridiculously over-the-top like a Fast & Furious flick. This restraint is a real benefit, as it's a thrill to witness grounded yet stylish action set-pieces in a cinematic climate dominated by superhero blockbusters. Another strength is Lorne Balfe's score, which resurrects the recognisable Bad Boys theme and pleasingly accompanies the selection of hip-hop tracks that pepper the soundtrack.

    The main appeal of the Bad Boys flicks is Smith and Lawrence, who once again bring their 'A' game to the material - it's a joy watching them on-screen. Despite the 17-year gap, the pair slip back into their roles with confidence, maintaining a razor-sharp, witty rapport which keeps the movie compelling in between the action scenes. Smith and Lawrence proficiently handle the more dramatic material as well, which makes their respective characters feel surprisingly real. Furthermore, one of the most legitimately surprising aspects of Bad Boys for Life is the AMMO crew. Bringing in a new-age generation is such a trite cliché which rarely works, but smart casting and writing renders them a pleasing asset; the AMMO squad is charming, and share a fun dynamic with their elders. Alexander Ludwig is a particular standout as the tech guy with a dark past, while Charles Melton ably holds his own trading sharp banter with Smith. Hell, even Vanessa Hudgens (late of High School Musical) is more tolerable than expected. Meanwhile, it's great to see Pantoliano back in action as the long-suffering captain, and his scenes with Smith and Lawrence are a constant delight. Also effective are the villains - Jacob Scipio and Kate del Castillo come across as genuinely threatening and sinister, instead of perfunctory.

    It doesn't break any new ground in the genre, and it is a tad too long, but Bad Boys for Life is a consistently entertaining and confident continuation of the fan-favourite franchise, showing that some long-delayed sequels genuinely get it right. Admittedly, devout Bad Boys fans might have preferred a juvenile, over-the-top, gleefully offensive follow-up in the same vein as Bad Boys II, but such a sequel would only deliver more of the same. Instead, Bad Boys for Life displays surprising franchise growth; for once, there's heart to complement the rousing action sequences and comedy, and it feels less mean-spirited that its immediate predecessor. It is also a satisfying watch for audiences who miss the bygone action genre heyday, when big-budget action flicks leaned into their adult rating. Be sure to stick around for two additional moments during the end credits: there's a scene which sets up Bad Boys 4, as well as an extra joke.

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Transfer Quality


    Bad Boys for Life debuts on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray courtesy of Universal Sony Home Entertainment, who present the hit action-comedy in HEVC/H.265-encoded 2160p, framed at its theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1. As outlined in my review of the Blu-ray, cinematographer Robrecht Heyvaert captured the movie on a variety of digital cameras, including the Sony CineAlta Venice and the Arri Alexa SXT, and it was reportedly finished with a 2K digital intermediate - though some sites are reporting the movie to be native 4K. Whatever the case, Bad Boys for Life looks stunning in UHD, thanks in large part to the outstanding High Dynamic Range grading and the solid use of wide colour gamut. Sony only use a dual-layered BD-66, but since the disc is free of extras and there aren't two dozen audio tracks competing for space, the results are more than sufficient - the movie is mastered with an average video bitrate approaching 48 Mbps. The 1080p Blu-ray looks great, but this 4K disc is on another level entirely, exhibiting improved textural tightness, superior sharpness and gorgeous HDR-enhanced colours. For videophiles and Bad Boys fans alike, this is a knockout.

    As stated in my review of the Blu-ray, Bad Boys for Life looks very "clean," with scarcely any noise or grain - consequently, "grain haters" will absolutely adore this one. The instances of noise remain fleeting and subtle (including some shots in the mansion-set climax), and look even more refined thanks to the 4K encoding and higher bitrate. Despite mixed information about whether or not the film was completed at 4K, it frequently looks like a native 4K title, as the level of fine detail on display is mind-blowing. No matter the lighting conditions, close-ups and even medium shots look dazzling, precisely revealing every intricacy on skin and fabric. Even full shots and wide shots appear sharp and precise, as opposed to muddy or soft. The HDR grading noticeably improves shadow detail, especially during the nightclub scene at the 70-minute mark as well as climactic battle. Highlights are also improved, thanks to the HDR and improved video codec. Sharpness never falters, as the transfer effortlessly resolves the smallest intricacies in most every shot, including hairs and whiskers. Admittedly, some of the green-screen effects look a tad obvious at times, but the improved colours and dynamic range do improve such shots compared to the Blu-ray.

    As ever, it's the HDR and WCG that really makes Bad Boys for Life soar on 4K Blu-ray. As to be expected, the disc is only encoded in HDR10, though the movie is streaming on iTunes in Dolby Vision HDR, for those interested. The colour palette looks undeniably flat in 1080p, which is something I did note in my review of the Blu-ray, but everything is rectified through the incredible HDR grading which renders this disc demo material for the format. The colours leap off the screen, with healthy skin tones and gorgeous saturation. Black levels are superior throughout, with deep, inky blacks and impressive image depth, while lights in aerial shots of Miami at night look deeper and truer. Just see the aerial shot at 67:32, which feels like you're looking out a window. During daytime aerial shots, the water looks lush and blue, and the landscapes look colourful and enticing. Moreover, the HDR gives more vibrancy and depth to the neon colours and the explosions, doing justice to the exceptional cinematography. Furthermore, the HDR improves highlight detail on harsh light sources, with skies looking firmer behind characters and outside windows. This is particularly beneficial for the Michael Bay-inspired low angle shots of characters exiting vehicles or standing up; there is so much more dynamic range. See the wedding scene, too, as specular detail is restored as light reflects off the water, while an early wide shot of Isabel and Armando on a balcony in Mexico City displays so much more dynamic range compared to the Blu-ray, it's a night-and-day difference.

    I could keep raving about this disc all day, but, suffice it to say, it looks sensational and I have no complaints. I noticed some very slight banding during the opening company logos, but this is nothing new - it appears to be a source-related shortcoming, as opposed to an encoding error. Apart from this, there is no trace of any video artefacts or encoding anomalies - it's an immaculate encode no matter the environment or lighting, and it's difficult to imagine Dolby Vision or a higher video bitrate could substantially improve the image. Bad Boys for Life looks better on home video than it did at the cinema, thanks to the HDR and WCG. This movie was made for Ultra HD.

    Many more subtitle options are included on this 4K disc. The English and English SDH tracks appear to be well-formatted and free of errors.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Whereas the Blu-ray only offers a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, this 4K disc provides an object-based DTS:X upgrade (with a DTS-HD MA 7.1 core), which is sure to delight audiophiles. The disc also contains additional foreign language tracks, including DTS-HD MA 5.1 tracks in German and Spanish, as well as a Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. As usual, though, I concentrated solely on the DTS:X track for this review. In a nutshell, it's a stunning track from top to bottom, displaying a bit more dynamic range and even improved low-frequency effects compared to the Blu-ray. As ever, I only have a 7.1 set-up and therefore cannot assess all aspects of the object-based track, but I was consistently impressed with the audio nevertheless. Thanks to the lossless encoding, the track is pristine from start to finish, exhibiting superb clarity, frequent dynamics and top-notch subwoofer activity, and it'll give your home theatre equipment a great workout. First things first, there are no issues with prioritisation, as the dialogue is comprehensible in every environment and during the most frenetic of action sequences. I did notice that the dialogue is not quite as clear when Rita talks to Mike on the balcony at the 30-minute mark, but that appears to be a shortcoming of the original on-set recording.

    The surround channels frequently come alive to deliver ambience as well as the music (both the songs and Lorne Balfe's excellent original score), and the track's dynamic range never seems lacking. Unsurprisingly, the mix really comes to life during action set-pieces, such as the gunfight at the 41-minute mark - as the sequence unfolds, sounds of gunfire, ricocheting and bullet hits are isolated to certain speakers, with frequent separation and panning effects. Likewise, during the climactic shootout in the mansion, sounds of gunfire, as well as flames, come from all around, making for an immersive watch. This is an aggressive audio mix, to boot, with low-frequency effects to underscore each gunshot and explosion - just see the outstanding film's car/motorcycle chase, or the explosion as the helicopter crashes during the climax. LFE is apparent whenever somebody is hit with a bullet, resulting in a blood spray, and the music also frequently engages the subwoofer. When Jenkins (Booker Grassie's accountant) hits the ground after being tasered at 64:03, there's noticeable LFE. Engine roars also engage the subwoofer, sounding deep and impactful. I was unable to detect any encoding anomalies, as there are no sync issues, drop-outs, hissing, popping, or anything else.

    In terms of the track's dynamic range, subwoofer impact and clarity, it's absolutely flawless from beginning to end.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    No extras are available on this 4K disc. They're all housed on the accompanying 1080p Blu-ray.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Aside from differing language options, 4K discs worldwide are virtually identical. As of writing, there are no additional special features on any edition around the world.


    Bad Boys is one of my all-time favourite action franchises, and I've watched the first two movies more times than I can count. Bad Boys for Life does not disappoint, as it continues the series with renewed energy and creativity, while delivering the type of exciting action and laugh-out-loud humour that we come to expect from these movies.

    As great as the Blu-ray looks, the 4K Blu-ray is even better. The technical presentation is truly amazing, with superb 2160p video and outstanding DTS:X audio. This is the definitive way to experience Bad Boys for Life on home video. Throw in the standard Blu-ray with a nice selection of special features, and this one comes highly recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Saturday, May 02, 2020
Review Equipment
DVDSony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationSamsung Series 7 HT-J7750W
SpeakersSamsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up

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