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‘Bad Boys for Life’ early reactions: Will Smith and Martin Lawrence nail it in their third buddy-cop flick

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Will Smith’s Mike Lowery and Martin Lawrence’s Marcus Burnett rocked 1995 as cops in Michael Bay’s blockbuster, ‘Bad Boys’. They teamed up again in 2003 for a sequel and after a 17-year hiatus, the two wise-cracking, comical buddy-cop duo are back for one last ride with ‘Bad Boys for Life’— and the flick has garnered positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a healthy 75% rating based on early reviews while the audience approval rating registered a whopping 95%.  The critic consensus reads: ‘Loaded up with action and a double helping of leading-man charisma, Bad Boys for Life reinvigorates this long-dormant franchise by playing squarely to its strengths.’

Variety’s Owen Gilberman gave it a thumbs-up saying “Will Smith and Martin Lawrence bring their A-game; they never let us feel like they’re going through the motions. The marks may be standard issue, but they hit them with fury and flair.” Seconding this was Washington Post’s Michael O’Sullivan who stated: “The good-natured tension and ribbing between the two old “boys” is still there — and still a bit old hat — but there is a new dynamic that juices the entertainment factor.” Roger Ebert called it the best of the three installments.: “It is the best of the three films, offering in some odd ways a corrective to the prior installments.”

New York Times handed the action flick a decent rating saying, “They get the job done — delivering a mildly enjoyable movie that committed fans of the franchise will rate a lot higher.” The third installment’s premise reads: “The Bad Boys Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are back together for one last ride in the highly anticipated Bad Boys for Life.”

‘Bad Boys for Life’ stars Alexander Ludwig, Anthony Molinari, Athena Akers, Carlos Guerrero, Charles Melton, D.J. Khaled, David Moretti, Derrick Gilbert, Emily Towles, Happy Anderson, Ivo Nandi, Jacob Scipio, Jaies Baptiste, Jennifer Badger, Joe Pantoliano, José Alfredo Fernandez, Joseph Velez, Kate del Castillo, Martin Lawrence, Massi Furlan, Melissa Kennemore, Nicky Jam, Paola Nuñez, Sharon Pfeiffer, Sidnei Barboza, Thomas Brag, Vanessa Hudgens, Will Smith.

‘Bad Boys for Life’ is running in cinemas near you.

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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Gemini Man’ On Amazon Prime Video, Where Will Smith Plays A Sniper On The Run From His Younger Self

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Ang Lee may have one of the most diverse resumes of any working director; the man behind Sense & SensibilityBrokeback Mountain, and Life of Pi has never shied away from the most daring of projects. Gemini Man, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, is no exception. The groundbreaking sci-fi thriller pits a sniper played by Will Smith against a clone of his younger self, and the technology is mind-boggling. Is Lee’s latest flick a bullseye? Or does it miss the mark completely?

GEMINI MAN: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

The Gist: Will Smith stars as Henry Brogan, a career sniper for the Defense Intelligence Agency. After a job nearly goes wrong, he makes the decision to retire, and soon discovers that this job may end up costing him his life. As he tries to settle into his retirement, he meets a boat rental manager named Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who is actually a DIA agent sent to surveil Henry. The two wind up connecting and at the center of something much bigger than either of them every anticipated. It turns out that Henry’s last hit – the one that drove him to retirement – was actually an innocent man, a scientist employed by an elite private military sector called GEMINI. Now that Henry knows the truth, he must be eliminated. After he saves Danny from being assassinated, she decides to help him, and the two of them make a run for it.

Henry easily thwarts many of the individuals sent to kill him, but his world is turned upside down when he’s finally hunted by someone with eerily similar skills to his own. To Henry’s horror, he soon comes face to face with himself – well, the cloned, younger, stronger, faster version of himself. In a brilliant (and unhinged) move, the government cloned Henry – the most efficient killing machine in the world – without his knowledge. Now that the real Henry is in their way, they (and the coldblooded Clayton Verris, played by Clive Owen) have sent the clone to take him out… and take his place. As Henry and his clone discover the truth about what they are a part of, things get bloodier and the stakes get higher, until they’re finally forced to make decisions that will change their lives – and the course of history – forever.

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: Gemini Man doesn’t try to reinvent the action movie wheel, and hits a lot of the same beats we’re used to seeing these days in franchises like Mission: Impossible and The Bourne movies, with a little of the doubles element from Looper tossed in.

Performance Worth Watching: Woof, these actors do the best they can with what they’re given, but there are very few standout performances in Gemini Man. And it’s a fantastic cast! Mary Elizabeth Winstead is one of my favorite working performers at the moment. Smith is great, per usual, as both himself and his clone, but it’s hard to know when the tears cried by his clone are real or computer-generated, and there’s still something just sliiiightly off about it all.

Memorable Dialogue: I gotta be honest. The dialogue in this movie was garbage. Even painful at times. I will concede that Smith’s performance helped sell some lines like “When I saw him, it was like I was seeing a ghost. Like every trigger I’ve ever pulled.” But for the most part, the conversations in Gemini Man are stilted, cliched, and generally lifeless.

Sex and Skin: Refreshingly so, this is not the kinda action thriller with crazy sweaty sexy scenes in between all the fighting. Or a giant age gap between a graying leading man and a fresh young ingenue. That is one point in Gemini Man‘s favor.

Our Take: Oh, I wanted Gemini Man to be good so badly! What a strange, soulless movie with so much squandered potential. The decision to shoot it at 120 frames per second (the typical movie is shot at 24!), creating a strange, hyperrealistic effect, one that makes you feel like you might be watching a video game play out. The film’s set pieces feel strangely underwhelming, the performances flat. And it almost makes the clone technology seem a little less convincing. This isn’t my biggest gripe with Gemini Man, but it’s certainly a large issue that might have helped it sing a little more as a thrilling, well, thriller.

A gimmick can’t keep a movie afloat. That’s the truth. And while it is totally exciting and mind-blowing to see how far technology has come, Will Smith and his clone aren’t able to make Gemini Man work on their own. The script is clunky and on occasion eye-roll inducing; the scenes that involve the discovery of the clone and his origins are genuinely painful to endure – it feels like stuff from an introductory screenwriting class. We don’t want to be spoon-fed. We can figure it out. And if Gemini Man had let us do a little more of the homework ourselves, it would be a much better movie. But instead, it decides to put on a dazzling light show that leaves you feeling pretty empty by the end, an entertaining but forgettable (and kind of terrifying?) glimpse of what the future of filmmaking may hold. The story, though? Well, there isn’t much of that here. And with a director and a cast like this, there are very few excuses for it.

It’s not that Gemini Man is offensively bad or particularly difficult to watch; it’s exactly the kind of movie you might let play on the TV while you move around the house doing other things, or choose if it’s free on an airplane. It’s passable. It’s fun. With a few tweaks, it could have been a great, mindless summer popcorn movie. But when there are top-notch, emotionally impactful action movies coming out by the handful these days, Gemini Man doesn’t come anywhere near making the mark. It just doesn’t have the heart.

Our Call: SKIP IT. While the technology and visuals are undeniably breathtaking, Gemini Man doesn’t really have a soul (or much of a script). It’s a real shame, because at its core, the concept is actually a pretty interesting one, but a gimmick can’t save a movie. While it may make acceptable airplane viewing fare, a few minutes of this film make it obvious that there’s a reason it was in development hell for two decades.

Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines and harboring dad-aged celebrity crushes. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.

Stream Gemini Man on Amazon Prime Video

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I Went Back To A Movie Theater For The First Time Since March, And It Was Weird

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Of course, this brought me to the concession stand. This was tough because I love my movie snacks. Ever since I was a kid, popcorn has been an intrinsic part of every movie visit. I could eat a four-course gourmet meal, and if I was seeing a movie afterward, I would still grab a small popcorn. But popcorn meant eating, and eating meant taking off my mask during the movie, something I wasn’t entirely comfortable doing. I felt like if I was going to spend two hours in a theater, the least I could do was keep my mask on. I compromised by grabbing a drink, I don’t drink much soda outside of the movies anymore, and knew I could slip the straw under my mask without removing it entirely. I brought my own reusable silicone straw to the theater with me to avoid unnecessary waste.

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NEWS WATCH: A New Super Hero Team Unites Against The King In Black with THE UNION

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A NEW SUPER HERO TEAM UNITES AGAINST THE KING IN BLACK!

Prepare to meet The Union!

THE UNION by writer Paul Grist (Judge DreddJack Staff) and artist Andrea Di Vito (Annihilation) will make its grand debut this December! When Knull and his symbiote dragons invade Earth, the Britannia Project, a top-secret program, will assemble a new team of British super heroes. The goal: to be an exemplar of what Britain can be…to show that we can overcome our differences, and work together to protect with a common purpose!

The Union is led by the beloved Britannia, the noble warrior-hero who has long stood as a beacon for all that is best and bright in these historic isles. But despite the Project’s best efforts, these heroes aren’t quite what they seem, and Britannia may have her work cut out for her!

In addition to Union Jack, readers everywhere will soon meet exciting new UK-based heroes such as:

The Choir, a victim of scientific experiments who became a living weapon with sonic abilities: whether that’s subtle sounds to disorient people’s brains, or screams that could knock over buildings! The most tragic member of the team, she finds it hard to trust others.

Kelpie, an ancient water demon who can turn her body to water and has control over water around her. Though she seems light and breezy, she may be the most volatile member of the team.

Snakes, the muscle of the team…but also the most mysterious. He’s a man of few words–probably because he’s a telepath to boot! People are uncomfortable around him. Is he a man to be trusted?

And of course, Britannia, one of Britain’s oldest heroes. She symbolizes all that’s bright and good about Britain. If she can’t whip these heroes into a team, no one can!

Don’t miss out on an exciting new chapter of Marvel when THE UNION hits stands this December! For more information, visit marvel.com.

THE UNION #1

Written by PAUL GRIST

Art by ANDREA DI VITO

Cover by R.B. SILVA

NEWS WATCH: A New Super Hero Team Unites Against The King In Black with THE UNION

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