BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE Review

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence Return for a Fourth Round in the Franchise and Continue to Deal with the Challenges of Aging in a Young Man's Game.

IN A VIOLENT NATURE Review

This Experimental Slasher Flick puts Audiences Literally In-Step with the Killer and Features Some of the Most Gruesome Deaths in the Genre's History.

FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA Review

Director George Miller Returns to the Wasteland with a Full-Fledged Epic that Balances the Titular Character's Story with the Bombastic Vehicular Mayhem.

KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Review

This Latest Installment in the Planet of the Apes Franchise isn't Necessarily Bad, but is Probably more of a Forgotten Chapter in the Franchise Mythology.

THE FALL GUY Review

Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt Kick-Off the Summer Movie Season with a Big, Fun, and Funny Action-Packed Adventure that Fully Delivers on its Promises.

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A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE Review

Some movies are good because they achieve exactly what they set out to do, some movies surprise because they rise above their own genre estimations, and others are just rock solid all-around because everything happened to align in just the right way at just the right time. I would love to say A Quiet Place: Day One falls into that last category or even into the second which is where the two previous films in this franchise nicely settle, but director Michael Sarnoski - the latest filmmaker to be promoted directly from small indie to giant blockbuster - has crafted a film that, despite maybe having more ambition, ultimately scrapes by on achieving its main objective. 

Odds are, much of this isn't the fault of Sarnoski as this franchise studio film crafted at the hands of a fresh-off-the-circuit filmmaker reeks of boardroom tinkering in even the slightest of ways. The combination of insert shots interrupting what are otherwise more precise sequences, the sheer number of focus pulls seemingly used to guarantee easier transitions in editing, and the shoddier special effects used to fill out the frame whenever the shot goes too wide (this was shot entirely on a backlot set in London, not New York City) not only signal a certain kind of approach but an apprehension about whether or not this was the right move with the right franchise. Whether true or not, this kind of mentality ultimately resonates in the production quality of the film - and deflated my excitement for what this chapter might offer when as much became apparent - yet the script still manages enough individual moments of creativity and tension to entertain if not necessarily captivate.

BAD BOYS: RIDE OR DIE Review

It’s nothing new for a Bad Boys movie to have an overly convoluted plot and too many side characters, but what has remained consistent is how each movie somehow manages to not let those things detract from the centerpiece chemistry between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Four years is the shortest amount of time between sequels in this franchise thus making the latter two films feel as equal in weight as the impressive debut and chaotic classic that is Bad Boys II. Why Bad Boys III didn’t come out in 2009-2010 and why we converted to confounding subtitles rather than sticking with the already established roman numerals I will never understand, but here we are with two very distinct halves of the Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett saga. 

In truth, it would be hard to mess one of these movies up and fortunately all the key ingredients are present with Bad Boys For Life directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah returning in full "Bayhem" mode employing (and deploying) as many drones to shoot the film as Alexander Ludwig's character does to shoot the bad guys. Screenwriter Chris Bremner returns while Aquaman and Justice League scribe Will Beall joining him to fashion a story around the next phase in Mike and Marcus' already illustrious careers after seemingly working through all the late-stage personal and professional conflicts these two would have encountered as aging lieutenants. 

This is where the real challenge of the film lies though, as up to this point each Bad Boys film was capturing these characters at very different stages of their lives and careers, but as a direct sequel to "For Life" this not only deals in many of the same themes, but picks up certain plot lines directly and carries them through. There isn't anything wrong with this approach from a high-level perspective (though I hope they don't wear out their welcome because this is the only viable franchise both are currently clinging to) but as you get into the weeds of what matters on a story-level one can feel the straining to both find new layers for Smith and Lawrence to explore with these characters while also seemingly trying to set-up the future of this franchise in two successors who have ever met one another and whose chemistry - the necessary chemistry that allows these movies to elevate themselves above other, traditional police procedurals - is untested.