Warning: SPOILERS for Bad Boys For Life are ahead!
Earlier this year, Detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett returned to theaters after a long hiatus for Bad Boys For Life. The third film in the franchise gave fans everything they want and expect from a Bad Boys movie, including hilarious banter, great action, tons of style and, of course, huge stunts. A new behind-the-scenes video from Will Smith himself shows how they did pulled off Bad Boys For Life’s epic helicopter stunt. Take a look:
The helicopter stunt occurs towards the middle of the film when Mike and Marcus are chasing down a bad guy named Zway-Lo. Eventually a helicopter carrying Jacob Scipio’s villain, Armando Aretas, arrives above a bridge with a ladder extended to help Zway-Lo escape his pursuers. Being Mike Lowrey, Will Smith’s character is undeterred and risks life and limb to catch his mark by jumping off a truck and grabbing onto the helicopter ladder.
As you can see from this behind-the-scenes look at Bad Boys For Life from Will Smith’s YouTube channel, stuntwork is not for the faint of heart. First, you see who I assume is the stunt double for Zway-Lo actor Nicky Jam grabbing the helicopter ladder from the motorcycle and being lifted off. He appears to have a safety harness of some sort attached, but that doesn’t take away from how intense it must be to be lifted off of a moving vehicle like that.
We then see the filming of the shots where Mike Lowrey jumps from a motorcycle onto the bed of a truck and then rolls. It looks like fun, but it could very easily not be if you don’t perform it right. It is also really cool to see how they actually had an explosion go off in the background as Mike Lowrey grabbed onto the helicopter ladder.
That’s when things get really wild though, because Will Smith’s stunt double then goes for a ride, hanging onto the helicopter ladder as the chopper flies off, swinging him about. It is pretty intense to see knowing, as someone says in the video, that a real person is hanging from that helicopter ladder high above the ground. To quote Bad Boys For Life co-director Bilall Fallah, it's “next level shit" indeed.
Will Smith’s stunt double, Cory Dunson, who had the job of hanging on to that helicopter ladder to make Will Smith look good, was all smiles when it was done, but he had a look that said he had just been though something fun and terrifying. He said he couldn’t open and close his hands afterwards, which makes sense given that he was no doubt gripping that ladder with everything he had. His forearms are going to feel that in the morning.
Prior to the release of Bad Boys For Life, Will Smith said that the film proved to him that he was not as good as Tom Cruise because he couldn’t do his own stunts the way the Mission: Impossible actor does. You can’t really blame him though after seeing how challenging and involved they can be.
All in all, it’s an impressive stunt in a much better than expected film, and it reminds you how cool and effective practical stuff like this can be. Hopefully we’ll get to see some more epic stunts when Bad Boys 4 hits theaters. And for anyone who has any doubt that stunt teams deserve recognition by the Academy, all you have to do is watch stuff like this to see how much work and dedication goes into doing something very difficult where lives are literally on the line.
Bad Boys For Life is now playing. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see what other movies you can look forward to this year.