Bad Boys For Life Ending Explained: What Really Happened?

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in bad Boys For Life

The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Bad Boys For Life.

After 17 years on the shelf, the Bad Boys are back with Bad Boys For Life, the third film in the franchise. This movie has been teased almost since Bad Boys 2 was in theaters, but it's been an incredibly long road getting it to the screen. While most reviews indicate that the new movie will be exactly what fans are looking for when it comes to its blend of action and comedy, it also has a few twists and turns along the way, which makes it likely that Bad Boys For Life won't be the end of the road for this franchise either.

In fact, there was a time when Bad Boys 4 was being discussed alongside Bad Boys 3, and while the movies didn't do back-to-back filming as had once been planned, it does appear that the new movie is setting the stage for at least one more installment. Let's break down the ending of Bad Boys For Life to see where it leaves our major characters for whatever may come next.

Will Smith's Mike Lowrey Has More Backstory Than We Thought

From the beginning of Bad Boys For Life, we know that our villains, Isabel Aretas and her son Armando Armas, have something of a vendetta against Mike Lowrey, Will Smith's character in the film. We certainly get the impression this is an old grudge, as it doesn't include Mike's partner Marcus Burnett, (Martin Lawrence), but it's not until the climax of the film that we learn specifically what the connection is.

Back when Mike Lowrey was in the police academy, he was pulled out to go on an undercover mission, chosen in part because nobody would know him. He became a driver within the Aretas drug cartel, and it was there he became acquainted with Isabel. It turns out the pair became much more than simply friends, leading Mike to have to make a choice when the time came for the police to move on the cartel. He chose to let Isabel get arrested, but the other shoe drops when we learn that Isabel went into prison pregnant, and the child she gave birth to, the one that's been trying to kill Mike all this time, is his son.

Isabel admits this to be true in the end. Armando gets seriously wounded in the final battle, but we see in a final mid-credits sequence that he has survived and has begun paying his debt to society, something he seems at peace with. His father, Mike, however, appears to have an opportunity for him which might help him reduce his sentence, though it's not made clear what that is.

It seems that the free-spirited Mike Lowery is willing to, in whatever context this means, try and be the father that he never got the chance to be. It's a bit of a strange situation since his son shot his captain the throat, but hey, we can't choose our family, I guess.

The Fate Of AMMO

While Bad Boys For Life is mainly all about bringing back beloved characters for another ride, the film also introduces us to a new team that helps out our heroes. AMMO is the name of a brand new task force within the Miami PD. It's headed by Rita (Paola Núñez), who has personal history with Mike Lowrey, something which apparently started and ended all in between Bad Boys 2 and this movie. The team also includes Kelly (Vanessa Hudgens), Rafe (Charles Melton),and Dorn (Alexander Ludwig). They're tasked with finding the man who shot Mike, but by the end of the film, the team has been disbanded after a raid to apprehend a suspect goes very, very wrong.

Of course, that doesn't stop them from helping out and aiding the Bad Boys in the final battle. It's actually Rita who takes down Isabel Aretas when Mike isn't willing or able to do it. And since this is a movie, nobody is punished for running off to Mexico and shooting a bunch of people. Rather, by the end, Rita has been named the new boss, following the death of Joe Pantoliano's Captain Howard.

Mike then refers to his friends from AMMO in the final scene, which implies that Rita has reestablished the group with her newfound power. With Rita as the new captain, perhaps Mike is taking over AMMO, though that's not specified. Either way, look for all of these members to return in a future Bad Boys movie if it happens, or possibly, if the interest in them is strong enough, a spinoff of their own.

Marcus Doesn't Retire

One of the major conflicts of Bad Boys For Life isn't between Mike, Marcus and the bad guys, but between Mike and Marcus themselves. The third film takes place following the same gap in time that the fans experienced, so Mike and Marcus have been working together as partners for decades at this point. Will Smith is 51 and Martin Lawrence is 54, so their characters must be about the same ages, which means it's getting to the point where retirement is going to be talked about.

During the film, Marcus actually does retire, which puts a rift between the two partners' relationship. However, when Marcus gets pulled back into the case, and the captain they both loved is killed, it forces Marcus to return and team with Mike "one last time."

However, it looks like this might not have been the last time after all. In the final scene, while Mike says he's okay with Marcus retiring, Marcus is now the one to say "bad boys for life." It seems he's decided not to leave the force after all, and the duo will continue together.

Since there was originally a plan to make Bad Boys 4, it seems quite clear from the events of Bad Boys For Life that the opening is being left for yet another film in the series. Odds are whether or not we get it will depend largely on the box office success of this movie. If it does do well, expect another Bad Boys movie to follow in short order. There simply aren't enough years left for Will Smith and Martin Lawrence to wait another 17 years for another entry.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.