It’s time for a victory lap for Bad Boys for Life and its co-directors, Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi. The relative newcomers have burst onto the scene with a long-awaited sequel to the Bad Boys franchise, reuniting franchise stars Martin Lawrence and Will Smith for a continuation of the story started by Michael Bay. And it crushed at the box office (but more on that in a second).
To celebrate the huge opening weekend, the directors joined CinemaBlend’s own ReelBlend podcast to break down spoilery content about the sequel. And we had to ask them about Michael Bay’s cameo in the film, which made up clap and scream like giddy schoolchildren. Bay plays a wedding deejay, and when he appears on screen, the camera does a gliding 360-degree shot that is a direct homage to classic Bay shots. And Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi explained that it looks like a Bay shot because Bay directed that Bad Boys for Life scene himself.
Adil El Arbi: We were looking for a cameo as a part that he’d play. Maybe it was a guy that was going to get killed in the movie? There are two places where we play ourselves in the movie. Bilall is hitting on Rita, and my car is getting stolen by Will [Smith]. So both of these scenes were options for Michael Bay.
Bilall Fallah: And then we had the idea of the MC. We were thinking, ‘Okay, we got to make it a real Michael Bay shot.’ So the camera goes 360 around him.
El Arbi: And he turns counterclockwise with the shot!
Fallah: So it’s a real Michael Bay moment with Michael Bay. And he directed it himself. We were just, like, watching him direct his own shot.
El Arbi: Yeah, of course! When Michael Bay is there on set. he just explains the steady camera, how to do it, and he knows how to turn. We didn't tell him anything. … This shot will be studied in film school, because it's super meta!
Knowing that Michael Bay stepped onto the set of Bad Boys for Life and agreed to do a cameo, but then took over and directed the scene himself, is about as “Michael Bay” as Michael Bay gets. I know, as a fan of his ego-infused confidence, I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. And listening to Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi explain it, they wouldn’t want it any other way, either. They are huge fans of Bay. Disciples, even. Their Bad Boys movie is an homage to Bay’s two films in the franchise, but they put their own spin on it. And audiences responded in kind.
Bad Boys for Life nearly doubled its early box-office predictions, posting an estimated $73.4 million on its opening frame. Totals are still rolling in, as this was a holiday weekend. But no matter how you slice it, Sony had a solid weekend with this sequel.
The plans already are underway for a fourth Bad Boys movie, and while Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi have not been called yet, they hope they get a chance to continue what they resurrected. Do you want to see them return for Bad Boys 4? Or should they pass the baton back to Michael Bay? Cast a vote in our poll and make your voice heard!