“Bad Boys for Life” injected an unexpected but welcome dose of maturity into the “Bad Boys” movies, allowing the trouble-making duo of Miami Detective Lieutenants Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) to act a little more responsibly and even wrestle with the reality of their mortality and advancing age. The film also ended with a direct setup for the fourth movie, with Mike visiting his newly-discovered grown son Armando Aretas (Jacob Scipio) in prison and offering him the chance to redeem himself for his crimes by, one presumes, teaming up with him on some type of undercover operation. (And yes, the sequel’s whole father-son conflict was weirdly similar to the one between Smith’s character and his younger clone from 2019’s “Gemini Man.” Go figure.)
Although Sony has yet to confirm Scipio’s involvement, it stands to reason that both he and “Bad Boys for Life” co-stars Vanessa Hudgens, Charles Melton, and Alexander Ludwig — who played the whipper-snappers that made up the Advanced Miami Metro Operations (A.M.M.O.) team that worked with Mike and Marcus in that film — will be back for “Bad Boys 4,” along with Paola Núñez as their boss and Mike’s ex-girlfriend, Lieutenant Rita Secada. Elsewhere, Jerry Bruckheimer is already among the movie’s listed producers, as are Smith and Lawrence.
That brings us to the actual elephant room: After the long-overdue reckoning the entertainment industry went through in 2020 after decades of irresponsible depictions of police work and portraying fictional cops like Mike and Marcus cheerfully breaking the law, is it even possible for a property like “Bad Boys” to thoughtfully address those concerns without feeling like part of the problem? We will find out when “Bad Boys 4” hits theaters at some yet-to-be-announced date in the future.