Find the best for your family

See what's streaming, limit strong violence or language, and find picks your kids will love with Common Sense Media Plus.

Join now

Bad Boys for Life

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Bad Boys for Life Movie Poster Image
Violent, crude buddy-cop "threequel" is chaotic, tired.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 123 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Mixed messages. Characters who try to be non-violent are encouraged to bring more violence, without consequences. And characters who are already violent are shown to be "cool." Fatherhood is sometimes a catalyst for people to try to do better, but other times it's used as a joke or as a gateway to more violence. The main story is revenge-based.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters are likable and offer Black representation on screen, but they're also unapologetically violent and crude and never face any consequences. Even their family-like bond seems stretched thin now.


Lots of intense, over-the-top action violence. Guns (including a high-powered sniper rifle) and shooting. Blood spurts, pools of blood. Character impaled by metal spike. Car drops on character's head. Dead bodies. Car chases and crashes. Helicopter crash. Fighting and punching, beating with blunt objects. Character's hand hit with a hammer. Stabbing. Explosions and fire. Video of violent shooting uploaded to the internet and played over and over. A man fights with a woman, throwing her down.


Some sexual humor and/or sex-related talk. Ogling/objectifying women in a nightclub. Images of a "telenovela" on a screen include a couple shown in bed (under covers). Mention of "blue pills."


Constant strong language, with frequent use of "s--t" and "f--k," (including "motherf----r"). Also "bulls--t," "a--hole," "ass," "a--hole," "bitch," "d--k," "dumbass," "balls," "stupid," and a use of the "N" word.


Mention of Uber. Sony logo shown on a camera strap. Nissan mentioned and shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking in bars and at celebratory events. A supporting character is shown snorting cocaine and acting "crazy." Minor characters are drug dealers.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bad Boys for Life is the third movie in the Bad Boys series, which stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as violent, bickering Miami narcotics detectives. This one takes place 17 years after Bad Boys II, and it's just as noisy and busy as the others. Expect lots of over-the-top action violence, with guns and shooting (including a high-powered sniper rifle), blood spurts, dead bodies, fighting, hitting with blunt objects, stabbing, explosions/fire, car chases and crashes, and more. Constant strong language includes countless uses of "s--t" and "f--k," as well as other words (including a use of the "N" word). Women in a club are ogled/objectified, and there's some crude sex-related talk, mostly played for laughs. Characters drink on social occasions and at celebrations, and a supporting character uses cocaine. The main story is based on revenge, and there are mixed-to-problematic messages about consequence-free violence.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDom2020 January 22, 2020

This is the best movie that i have ever watch it has allot of action

It was a great movie it has allot of action, and some parts will make you laugh, but eome parts of the movie has a little bit of bad words. So i will come and s... Continue reading
Adult Written byreefstephanie January 19, 2020

Bad Boys turned Good Guys

Too PC, ramper room action, baby toy safe, millennial take over, technology over run, crying drama, life time channel nonsense. Nothing will compare to the firs... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byYesmam January 19, 2020
Teen, 14 years old Written byMoviewatcher07 January 16, 2020


It’s good watch it

What's the story?

In BAD BOYS FOR LIFE, Miami narcotics detectives Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) have been partners for 25 years. But when Marcus becomes a grandfather, he starts thinking about retiring. Meanwhile, Mike, who wants to keep being a cop, is shot by a mysterious assassin. While Mike recovers, Marcus promises God that he won't bring any more violence into the world. Mike decides to go after the shooter himself, but the captain (Joe Pantoliano) pairs him with a new, young team of computer specialists (Paola Nunez, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, and Charles Melton). Before long, Mike finds a clue to the villain's identity -- and it has something to do with his own dark past. For the final showdown, Marcus realizes he can't let his old partner down.

Is it any good?

Coming nearly two decades after the last entry, this third buddy-cop continues with the series' same kind of cluttered, noisy filmmaking, but now it's accompanied by a sense of pained weariness. Belgian filmmakers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah take over for original director Michael Bay but continue with his chaotic style -- i.e. the logic of a scene doesn't matter as much as how big it is. It's often exhausting trying to follow the haywire chronological and spatial logic of the action in Bad Boys for Life, as characters move through space and time at different rates, depending on what the plot needs.

As for the "boys," they're now in their 50s, and Lawrence in particular looks like he's in physical pain most of the time, as if he can barely move. His comic timing is off, too: His profanity-laden zingers have lost their sharpness. The rest of the characters are so thinly drawn that they're lucky if they get a single character trait. (Poor Hudgens' character has none, except for a bleach-blonde cornrow hairstyle.) Smith at least proves he's a pro by selling a few of his one-liners and soul-searching speeches, but even he can't keep the phrase "for life" from sounding like a punishment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Bad Boys for Life's violence. Is it designed to thrill or shock? How did the filmmakers achieve this effect? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • How is sex talked about in the movie? Why is it done with humor? What values are imparted? What would the effect be if it were discussed seriously?

  • Two of the characters try to be non-violent but are encouraged back into violence. Are there consequences for these actions? Is violence seen as a good thing?

  • How does the theme of family (or bonds of friendship) run through this series? What are the positives and negatives of these relationships?

  • Are these law enforcement characters positive role models in any way? Why or why not?

Movie details

For kids who love buddy cop movies

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate