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Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Content Caution



In Theaters


Home Release Date




Bob Hoose

Movie Review

Life and death.

Those states of being aren’t, frankly, things that we often dwell on.

I mean, sure, everyone is aware of the fact that we’ll all die someday. But it’s the someday part of the equation that helps us focus on other things. And that’s particularly true for Miami detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett.

These two cops have been partners and putting their lives on the line for decades now. And focusing on the fact that they may get hit with a stray bullet or a speeding vehicle at any moment will only make them hesitate, potentially at the wrong time.

But both of these guys are still thinking pretty hard about life and death these days.

Mike just got married, for instance. And having a loved one he could lose or leave behind if he makes the wrong choice has left him unsure of himself. He’s even had stressful moments lately that amount to a panic attack in the heat of gunfire.

Marcus, on the other hand, is thinking about life and death from a totally different perspective. While celebrating at Mike’s wedding, Marcus had a heart attack and died. He was literally dead and gone for a while there.

And in that space of time—while the paramedics were shocking him with a defibrillator and hustling his body to the hospital—Marcus saw visions. He saw his life (and past lives) flash before his eyes, and he met with Capt. Howard, a beloved officer who was recently murdered. 

Marcus came back from that experience with a new zeal for life. Not only did the good captain encourage Marcus to relish the family and loved ones he has, but he assured him that he couldn’t be killed. It wasn’t yet his “time.”

So while Mike is becoming overly cautious, Marcus is ready to charge into gunfire with no fear at all. As you might expect, that isn’t a good balance for cops facing danger. And the fact is, Marcus and Mike need all the balance they can get right now.

You see, someone is setting up the deceased Capt. Howard as a corrupt cop. There’s incriminating evidence spilling out and Mexican drug cartel money in the mix. The bad boy cops are the captain’s only defenders. And before you can sing, “Whatcha gonna do?Mike and Marcus are being stitched into the frame up, too.

The FBI is after them. Their own police force has them on its radar. And there’s a gangland bounty on their heads. Who’s behind all this? And why is it happening now? 

Mike and Marcus haven’t got a clue, but they’ve got to lay low, dig in and find out what they can.

After all, this has now become a matter of life and death.

Positive Elements

Mike and Marcus have their obvious flaws, but they’re both men who will readily make self-sacrificial choices in an effort to help others and defend Capt. Howard’s reputation.

Mike’s son, Armando, is a former drug dealer and convicted killer. But even though there’s no love lost between the father and son, Mike still moves to protect Armando when he chooses to help in their investigation. And in time, Mike’s influence helps shift Armando’s attitude. The hardened young man makes his own self-sacrificial choices in an effort to save an innocent girl and “make his life worth something.”

Eventually, Mike, Marcus, several of their fellow officers, and Marcus’ nephew (Reggie) all put their lives at risk in an effort to protect the innocent, save hostages and foil a deadly plot.

Spiritual Elements

After dying and seeing his “visions,” Marcus gives the things he saw spiritual significance. Marcus says he witnessed several reincarnated “lifetimes,” and he adds that he and Mike have been soulmates who maintained a bond throughout them all—including one in which Mike was a mule and Marcus was his owner.

Sexual Content

We see lots of bikini-clad young women on a beach and other women in various stages of undress (including one wearing only pasties and panties) in a men’s club. One of Mike and Marcus’ fellow male officers walks around shirtless.

After his near-death experience, Marcus jumps out of bed and walks up to the roof of the building in an open-backed hospital gown. We see his bare backside. And he lifts his gown and exposes himself to people on the street below (off-camera).

Marcus passionately kisses his wife. Mike and his bride kiss during their wedding ceremony. There are a number of verbal sexual gags in the dialogue mix, including some rather raw quips about oral sex.

Violent Content

There is lots of visceral violence on tap here. We see several major shootouts between Mike, Marcus and various groups of killers with high-caliber weaponry. People get stabbed, riddled with automatic gunfire and sent falling from heights. Gunmen and vehicles ignite after being hit with Molotov cocktails and drone-launched bombs, resulting in massive explosions.

A fight takes place in a military helicopter that ends up with police officers being shot at point-blank range and the pilot having his throat slashed. (An explosive is also detonated within the helicopter.) As the craft spirals toward the ground, the surviving occupants struggle to gain control as they’re thumped forcefully around in the cabin. They crash, and only three people survive.

A man is hit by a crashing sea plane, the plane’s propeller shreds him as it smashes toward the camera.

Several people get shot in the forehead with pinpoint, long-distance head shots. A man is attacked by several assailants in a prison yard. He batters them with heavy weights, spattering gore as he goes. He then ends his defense by jamming a shiv into an attacker’s eye. Similarly a young Marine must defend two innocents from a dozen or more heavily armed assailants. He batters the baddies; breaks limbs; and shoots the men in the chest and face. They’re all dispatched in a deadly ballet.

There are numerous one-on-one fights as well. Armondo, for instance, faces off with a large man who slashes his arm and face with a blade and drives the weapon down into his shoulder as they batter one another. In the end, he survives but is bleeding profusely from open wounds.

Alligators attack humans. In one case, several beasts tear into a man that unfortunately falls into the water near them. A 16-foot alligator attacks a screaming man, and it’s implied that the man is devoured. Several different women are manhandled about by male assailants. And in one case a woman is punched in the body and face and slammed head-first into glass panes.

A couple of guys, including Marcus, are shot while wearing bullet proof vests. We see several scenes of someone being tortured. In one instance we see his fingernails being bloodily ripped off with a pair of pliers. Several people are murdered with up close execution-style gunshots to the temple or chin.

Marcus keels over with a heart attack. We see paramedics repeatedly attempting to shock him back to life.

Crude or Profane Language

Profanities zip as quickly as ricocheting bullets in this script. The dialogue contains nearly 60 f-words, joined by 45 s-words, 16 uses of “a–,” and a handful of uses each of the words “h—,” “b–ch,” “d–n” and “b–tard.”

God’s name is misused three times in combination with the word “d–n.” There are numerous references to male and female body parts.

Drug and Alcohol Content

People drink champagne at a wedding. In a video recording, Capt. Howard mixes a cocktail of Pepto-Bismol and Scotch and drinks it. One guy drinks a beer he pulls out of someone’s refrigerator.

Other Negative Elements

Mike and Marcus steal a change of clothes. And then they steal a truck. (Both thefts are done while the two are on the run from police and well-armed killers.) There are several jokes made here about racism.


Bad Boys: Ride or Die will likely resonate with longtime fans of this buddy cop franchise, which was relaunched back in 2020 after a 17-year hiatus. It’s fueled with all the stuff they’ll expect in these pics, from character-driven goofy humor to quick-paced, peel-back-the-story-layers heroic action.

Still, fan for the series or not, it’s a bumpy, R-rated ride. This film is jam packed with a bludgeoning onslaught of nasty language and explosively deadly violence that includes bloody kill shots and torture scenes.

Family audiences? They should jump in their car and ride … very far away.

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Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.