(directors: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah; screenwriters: Chris Bremner, Will Beal, based on the characters by George Gallo; cinematographer: Robrecht Heyvaert; editors: Asaf Eisenberg, Dan Lebenthal; music: Lorne Balfe; cast: Will Smith (Mike Lowrey), Martin Lawrence  (Marcus Burnett), Vanessa Hudgens (Kelly), Alexander Ludwig (Dom), Joe Pantoliano (Captain Howard), Melanie Liburd (Christine), Eric Dane (James McGrath), Jacob Scipio (Armando), Rhea Seehorn (Judy), Paola Nunez (Rita), Tasha Smith (Theresa), Tiffany Haddish (Tabitha), Loan Gruffudd (Lockwood), Quinn Hemphill (Callie), Dennis Greene (Reggie), John Salley (Fletcher); Runtime: 110; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Doug Belgrad, Jerry Bruckheimer, Chad Oman, Will Smith; A Sony Pictures Releasing release of a Columbia Picture; 2024)

“A forgettable action thriller.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A forgettable action thriller, filled with trash talk, shoot-outs and high-speed chases, that’s co-directed by the Belgians Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (“Rebel”/”Black”). The script by Chris Bremner and Will Beal is formulaic and routine. This is the fourth installment of the popular buddy comedy that started in 1995, and is as bad as the other versions–but nevertheless should appeal to its critic-averse fans.

The rule-breaking detectives Mike Lowery (Will Smith) and partner Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) are in their fifties and work for the Miami Police Department (who in real-life have a forced retirement policy at 50). In an early scene Mike marries Christine (Melanie Liburd), while best man Marcus passes out during a heart attack but fully recovers and vows to be a better cop and not eat junk food (a vow he soon breaks while in a candy store).

The buddies come to the aid of their late boss, Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano), who after his death is framed for taking bribes and being part of the Romanian mafia. This is done by a mole in the department to divert attention from suspected police corruption.

While working to clear the Captain’s name, the boys find themselves on the wrong side of the law and the cartel, and go on the run.

The boys are up against a formidable villain (Eric Dane), and run with the silly plot until it runs out of gas. At least the action scenes, such as the shootout aboard a military helicopter and a crowd-pleasing romp at an NRA encampment, are well-choreographed. Though overlong, the popcorn film moves at a brisk pace and is over before you may remember Michael Bay once directed these irrelevant films.