I think it’s safe to say directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah are having a great year so far. Who are they, you might ask? Well, they’re the hot new filmmakers behind Bad Boys for Life, the third installment in the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence buddy cop franchise, which is exceeding all expectations both financially and critically.
The action flick raked in more than $62 million over its four-day holiday weekend, which is far greater than analysts predicted. It’s also getting the best reviews of the series, scoring a 75 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Not bad for a franchise that’s been dormant for two decades, eh? A fourth entry is already in the works too.
But you’re only as good as your last film and El Arbi and Fallah are looking to ride that wave of success to their next project. The pair have been long rumored to be in the running to direct another ancient property, Beverly Hills Cop. Jerry Bruckheimer is a producer on both franchises and according to the directors, he wants them to keep their schedule open.
The duo spoke with Collider’s Steve Weintraub about the possibility of taking on another popular series recently, saying:
Fallah: I think Jerry [Bruckheimer] asked us to be available.
El Arbi: Jerry said it in a press conference in Germany, like, ‘Yeah, sure,’ So I’m like, okay!’”
Fallah: We ready, we ready.
El Arbi: Because it is our first Hollywood movie, we gotta wait until it comes out to know what the reaction is. And I think that Jerry’s waiting just for that, God willing, it becomes a success, and then he has momentum, and then it’s jump right at it. And we met Eddie Murphy twice and he seems to like us.
Fallah: We were doing the reshoots at Tyler Perry’s studio, and we were shooting Bad Boys, and Eddie was there shooting Coming 2 America.
El Arbi: So we said, ‘We gotta make this happen, we gotta make this moment happen.’ Will, Martin, Wesley Snipes was there too, and Eddie Murphy.
Fallah: We said, ‘Come on everybody, let’s take this fucking epic picture!’
El Arbi: We said, ‘This is gonna be a great social media moment, so let’s do that.’
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Their enthusiasm is palpable. Recognized primarily for independent movies up to this point, you wouldn’t know Bad Boys for Life is their first big budget studio film. After all, they were able to maintain Michael Bay’s visual continuity from the first two efforts while also putting their own stamp on the trilogy.
And dare I say, they did a better job than Bay. Bad Boys for Life is the most mature, coherent and enjoyable entry in the series. There’s even a couple of interesting twists that you wouldn’t think to find in a movie from this particular franchise. Could they bring that same balance of youthful energy and nostalgia to Beverly Hills Cop? Tonally, it’s right on par with Bad Boys, so why not? It’s just a matter of convincing Eddie Murphy. This would be the time to do it, though.
After laying low for a number of years, the actor’s had a nice little comeback with Dolemite is My Name earning high praise and a terrific return to Saturday Night Live. All the pieces seem to be lining up nicely, then, and as soon as we hear more about the much-anticipated sequel, we’ll be sure to let you know.