How Bad Boys For Life Made The Action So Big On A Not-So-Big Budget

Will Smith shooting with gun in Bad Boys 3

If you’ve seen Bad Boys For Life, you may have been distracted by the comedic moments between Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, but it’s hard to miss some of the cool action set pieces, including a motorcycle chase partway through the movie and a really cool dilapidated mansion sequence later in the film. So, how did the movie make the action look so big on a not-so-big budget?

Recently, directors Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi have been doing the rounds promoting their new movie Bad Boys For Life, the third in the popular franchise. Ahead of its release, we learned the production budget for the film was around $90 million dollars, which is nothing to be sneezed at, but is less than the $130 million Bad Boys II allegedly used and is much less than the estimated $217 million Michael Bay’s last Transformers movie got.

Adil El Arbi said the team tried really hard to pay homage to the ‘90s and do as many practical stunts as possible in an interview with Slashfilm, and Bilall Fallah admitted they had to get creative sometimes due to the budgetary restrictions. However, the “great crew” helped matters. He noted:

I suppose here and there we have to use them because we couldn’t do everything practical, but we tried to keep it to a strict minimum and feel the danger. We didn’t have the budget of a Marvel movie, so we had to be very creative also with the resources we had. And you want the fans of the Michael Bay movies, like of the crazy chase scene in Bad Boys II, we want to satisfy them. So, we did a lot of planning. We had a great crew that had done big action movies, so we were surrounded with the best of the best. We had a super team.

So if you are ever in a position where you are trying to pull off impossibly cool shots on a medium-sized budget, the answer is to hire the best in the business to help you out. Fallah admitted in this interview that he and his co-director leaned heavily on the experience of people who have worked on big franchise films to help them realize their Bad Boys For Life dreams.

They were so experienced because they had worked on Marvel movies and Fast and Furious movies, so we could ask them, ‘Can we pull that off?’ Or, ‘How can we do these shots and all of that?’ So they were a great support. And everything was storyboarded. Every shot was a discussion. We shot in the winter, which was really difficult because we have to make it look like Miami in the summer and putting the actors outside in the scene in the middle of the night.

In fact, previously, the directors told CinemaBlend that they were able to ultimately work so much into Bad Boys For Life that the movie originally had too much action and Will Smith tasked them with cutting that down. Bilall Fallah previously told us:

Basically, Jerry and the studio and Will they always kept saying, ‘Cut the action down. Make it shorter, make it shorter.

This included cutting out the big sequence where the boys drive through the mall -- as seen in the trailer for the movie -- and more. So, ultimately, it seems they did manage to work in a lot of action set pieces with what they were given budget-wise.

Look, if you’ve seen Bad Boys For Life, you should know the action in the movie is pretty cool. However, with more action, the flick might have featured fewer comedic scenes and that’s where this threequel really hits its sweet spot, in my opinion.

Plus, if Bad Boys For Life had been more expensive to make, its intake at the box office would not be quite as impressive as it has been, and it has been impressive. The movie exceeded expectations opening weekend, making over $68 million domestically and more internationally. So far, it’s already broken records and made more than $215 million worldwide. A higher budget would mean less profit in this case.

But that box office win may be enough for filmmakers to request a wee bit more budget when Bad Boys 4 rolls around.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.