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How the 'Bad Boys' franchise is saving Will Smith's career

The collaboration with Martin Lawrence was a box office success

How the 'Bad Boys' franchise is saving Will Smith's career The collaboration with Martin Lawrence was a box office success

As the fourth chapter of the Bad Boys saga hits theaters on June 13, which in the nineties helped bring Will Smith to the forefront, one must wonder if really, two years after the infamous Oscar incident, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has ever asked himself whatcha gonna do? To quote the song that has accompanied the franchise since '95, started by director Michael Bay. Typically, for Oscar winners, the doors of Hollywood suddenly swing wide open, even more than before - as do the budgets that need to be revised and increased if you want an Oscar holder in your stable. For the Best Actor of King Richard, however, it was the opposite. Although it is always difficult to remember the movies that win the Oscar and which actors win the award, maybe even confusing some categories, the iconic moments are what remain etched in collective memory. The selfie and the pizza distributed in the hall with Ellen DeGeneres hosting, the envelope mix-up of Moonlight and La La Land, Ryan Gosling's pink and glossy performance (with Slash on guitar) of I’m Just Ken for Barbie. Among them all, waking up a semi-sleepy audience on the night of March 27, 2022, was the loud slap that Will Smith planted on the face of his (supposed) friend and colleague Chris Rock - and we challenge anyone to remember the winning film as Best Picture that year without looking it up.

@badboysmovie Very compelling. #BadBoys Bad Boys Ride Or Die In Theaters June 7 - Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Let's reconstruct the scene. The comedian takes the stage, begins a short monologue, and in a brief span of time manages to anger the actor from The Pursuit of Happyness with a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, about her alopecia problem, comparing her to Demi Moore’s G.I. Jane from 1997. So much so that the star gets up, walks to the stage, and slaps him. The reaction is immediate. Not from Rock, who remains shocked and incredulous, but from the entire audience, both in the hall and online. Was it real, was it not? Was it prepared or improvised? Today it is believed that it was a completely spontaneous gesture, as evidenced by the discomfort in Smith's speech when shortly afterward he received the Academy's highest award, in which he brings up family, his wife again, the need to protect his loved ones at all costs, and, to cap it all off, even God. And it also showed how, in the two years that followed, the actor's presence on the scene has gradually diminished. The good that came of it was apparently the saving of a marriage, even though shortly after Jada Pinkett Smith published her memoir Worthy, in which she reveals not only the lights and secrets of her relationship with the star, but also her affair with singer August Alsina, discovered thanks to her son.

The "holy slap," according to the woman, put a stop to many doubts and made her realize that she and Will Smith would never separate. What stopped, however, was the actor's career, who shortly after saw the Netflix sequel of the fantasy-thriller Bright slip out of his hands and another film, Fast and Loose, also set with the platform, although rumors had it that the project was already on its last legs after the director David Leitch left. Not to mention the bad publicity (or lack thereof, which is even worse) for his dramatic role in the slavery film Emancipation - to his defense, the Apple TV+ film was not snubbed because of the Oscar incident, but because it was inherently pretty bad. If Hollywood and its surroundings turn their backs on you, the only solution is to throw yourself into what they surely like: franchises. Stretching the broth is the favorite hobby of an industry that knows how to give us many amazing imaginary universes, but when it finds the right path, it thinks it can follow it for another ten, twenty identical films. If with Men in Black the direction had totally changed with International in 2019, with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones replaced (poorly) by the duo of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, the right path was to continue on the Bad Boys track, already returned in 2020 with the third For Life and continuing with the same directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah in Ride or Die. And the dear old bad boys from Miami have no intention of dying.

@hugogloss Ele é ator, ele é camera man, ele é TUDO! Will Smith compartilhou um vídeo incrível nas redes sociais mostrando o processo por trás de uma cena de ação em “Bad Boys: Até o Fim”. O longa chega aos cinemas no dia 6 de junho e só pelo trechinho, já deu pra ver que promete, hein?! (: @Will Smith) #WillSmith #BadBoys #Movie som original - hugogloss

While the summer box office appears as a desolate wasteland, the same Wasteland in which Furiosa: a Mad Max saga found itself with a catastrophic box-office return compared to expectations (and an investment of $168 million), Will Smith's return alongside Martin Lawrence makes an unexpected boom, grossing $104 million in its first weekend, surpassing the $100 million budget. Nothing better could have been asked for. The impressive thing, however, is that Bad Boys: Ride or Die has revitalized the saga's health. Crazy, absolutely disconnected in the direction that changes continuously, among video game-style subjective shots, dream sequences, and extreme close-ups that box in the characters' faces, the film by the duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah is an explosion of neon and colors, noise and jokes. Nonsense reigns supreme. And not the indigestible and random kind, but in the most reasoned and precise forms, when it wants to make you laugh through absurdity, making it its main tool.

@gighertq_ "We ride together, we die together. Bad boys for life." | #badboys #badboysedit #edit #willsmith #martinlawrence оригинальный звук - gighertq_

Smith and Lawrence, who confront the advance of age, get a new lease on life even though they know they are no longer what they once were. Showing they can still be passionate, like in the nineties, they combine perfectly keeping up with the times - embracing the directorial acrobatics of their conductors Arbi and Fallah - while not hiding the fact that they know they can't be part of it. Two loyal scoundrels who struggle to hang up their guns, they rely on a comprehensive vision that brings an unexpected, video game-like, modern, and refreshing freshness to the always vibrant cinematic mission of Bad Boys. And so Will Smith might have made it. Besides the box office test, which could grow by the end of its run, rumors say that his agents, who remained silent during the two years post-slap-gate, are back to finding some other substantial role to definitively bring the actor out of the shadow. If the "bad boys" saga were to break through, a fifth chapter is possible. In the meantime, the film's success could speed up the realization of I Am Legend 2, which according to co-star Michael B. Jordan is still in the script and production phase. For September, Smith is expected on the set of Sugar Bandits, an action thriller by Stefano Sollima based on the novel Devils In Exile by Chuck Hogan. Perhaps Bad Boys and this story have really shown that, maybe, not all blows come to harm?