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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Black Magic Love Child

Bad Boys for Life (2020) on IMDb

Plot Overview

mom, dad, babyBad boys (“We're not just black; we're cops”) Mike Lowery (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) make a greased run through Miami's play­ground of “rich white people” to get to the hospital to greet Marcus's newly arrived grand­(love)­child. His awakened paternal feelings cement his resolve to retire so he can involve him­self more with family. His bachelor partner having never been in love—except for once long ago—wants to keep going as he has been. And the vengeful Aretas cartel makes to give Mike a permanent retirement below ground.

A distraught Marcus makes a deal with God, that if Mike pulls through his injuries, he'll forswear all violence. Mike pulls through and goes into rehab. He's still tender in places and, of course, is not allowed to work his own case. What he doesn't under­stand, though, is why his former partner now practicing nonviolence won't team up with him again, and this causes a sad rift. Mike bugs Capt. Conrad Howard (Joe Pantoliano) until he gets assigned as a consultant-only to the newly formed Advanced Miami Metro Operations (AMMO) team led by Lt. Rita (Paolo Nunez)—with whom he shares some history—and includes young bloods: Kelly (Vanessa Hudgens), Dom (Alexander Ludwig), and Rafe (Charles Melton.) Operations quickly spiral out of control and his ex-partner's resolve will be greatly taxed.


prayingMarcus succeeded in getting God's attention as, (Isaiah 66:2) “saith the LORD: … to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” He is poorer than he used to be before retiring with changed priorities. He had been navigator in Mike's Porsche or Ferarri; now he drives a mini­van or his wife's Nissan Quest. He is of a contrite spirit being “ashamed at some of the stuff we had to do.” And he is brought up short by God's word, “Thou shalt not kill.”

His influence on Mike results in a curious parallel with, (Ezra 10:2-3) “We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land: yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. Now there­fore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God.” The Israelites had not been permitted to inter­marry with “strange wives of the people of the land” but many of them did any­way and in Ezra's day had to divorce them and disavow their children. Here Mike has a loose end to tie up with a veritable witch (la bruja) Isabel Aretas (Kate del Castillo) with whom he'd entered a hasta el fuego pact when he fell in love with her while driving for the Aretas cartel in Mexico back in his early under­cover days. His approach is curiously a New Testament remedy using Marcus's example. According to Pastor Criswell, The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

Date: First Corinthians was written in the spring, probably in 57 a.d., though it could have been as early as 54 a.d. Second Corinthians was written some six months later. In 50 a.d. Paul reached Corinth on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:1-4). In an eighteen month stay (Acts 18:9-11) [and then some (Acts 18:18)] a church was established. … He had received questions from the Corinthians (1Cor. 7:1) and wrote the letter known as First Corinthians as an answer to those questions. At the time, Paul was in Ephesus (1Cor. 16:8), near the end of his three-year stay there (Acts 20:31) and before his departure for Macedonia (1Cor. 16:5, Acts 20:1).

1 Corinthians 7In answer to the Corinthians' questions regarding the mixed marriages they'd entered during that time, the apostle Paul writes of same as an occasion for Christian influence on the unbelieving partner, (1Cor. 7:16) “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” Mike looks up his long lost witch woman and her (“I think he's my son”) off­spring “trying to penetrate his soul with my heart,” just as Marcus taught him.

Isabel being deeply ensconced in witchery, we can imagine the result. She was long a widow by this time, and there is a contrasting counter­part with Christian widows who for their part are to abide “in the Lord” whether seeking another mate or not, as (1Cor. 7:39-40) “if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment.”

While we're on Paul we could look at his subsequent command in a later letter, (2Cor. 6:14) “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: ...” It was given in the plural ye not to be joined up as a congregation in the aggregate with unbelievers, but individually he did not forbid a liaison so long as one keeps his head on straight. In the movie the son in question, Armando Aretas (Jacob Scipio,) had to serve a long prison stint to pay off his debt to society, but the suggestion is made that Mike has enough clout to mitigate the sentence.

In this statement's own context, Paul had asked his Corinthian church to open their hearts to him, (2Cor. 6:11-13) “O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.” After Paul's instructions, he goes on with, (2Cor. 10:15) “having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,” that their estimation of him will increase. St. John of Kronstadt writes:

“He is near to his heart” is said of two persons of unequal rank, one of whom protects the other. and the one who has been honoured by the protection of the higher person, and by being near to his heart, knows this, and is reciprocally near him in his own heart. (52)

Author Harlan Coben writes in one place, “She had loved Joe, the way loyal employees love a benefactor, and only tolerated Maya as an inter­loper. You see this some­times in loyal employees. They are more protective and snootier toward out­siders than their wealthy employers” (67). Although there is no solid biblical command saying a Christian must not marry an unbeliever, these occasional mixed liaisons are often but tolerated at best, smug Christians being more protective of their separation from the world and snootier towards mixed couples than was the apostle Paul to whom believers claim allegiance. This movie on its own terms can help put all that into perspective.

Production Values

” (2020) was directed by Adil El Arbi and Billal Fallah. Its story was written by Peter Craig and Joe Carnahan. It stars Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, and Vanessa Hudgens. Will Smith at 51 is hale, but Martin Lawrence, three years older, is begin­ning to go to seed. They're a great duo as usual. Joe Pantoliano steals scenes as a put-upon police Captain. Kate Del Castillo makes one scary witch.

MPAA rated it R for strong bloody violence, language through­out, sexual references and brief drug use. It was filmed in Miami, Florida, USA. It's a good blend of action and comedy. It's possible for the eye to follow the action. The humor was at times crude.

There is a casting anomaly central to the plot. The King and Queen of the Mexican cartel were both Latino and their prince was like­wise Latino in appearance. The King, how­ever, was sterile, and the kid's father was actually their black driver. There's a scene, obviously contrived, where the son and his father are grap­pling on the floor and their faces appear side-by-side in a mirror of broken glass. This is the big, aha! recognition moment, staged to the hilt with makeup and chore­ography. Yet through­out the movie we see the father as a lead: obviously Negro with negroid features. But the son though in a lesser role is also shown in various profiles and facial closeups as having chiseled Latino features. The dad has kinky hair, the son wavy. In fact there is a scene of them side-by-side straining to lift a heavy object, and their faces contort in different manners. Their postures are different and they carry them­selves differently. Not father and son.

babyIf that weren't bad enough, there are all these baby shots of Marcus's grand­son a quint­essential colored baby. But we see a file picture of the witch's baby born in Prisión de Santa María, Ixotel, México, who is a cute White babe. Babies are physically dis­similar because of race. I don't think the audience is fooled. Rather than penalize the movie in my ratings because of this, I ask myself if there is not some logical explanation—switched babies, a miracle of science? And, yes, there is. Isabel is one serious witch capable of casting spells. So I included the Bad Boys movie in the Fantasy category and preserved its high marks. And I pass on Marcus's advice: if you do the deed with a witch, use a condom.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This is a well done action flick, if you can handle the cussing. It's entertaining. I was expecting a sequel that was disap­pointing, but it surprised me. The car scenes were more comedy than nail-biters. It seems like the cops get to retire with dignity, or not.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is taken from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Coben, Harlan. Fool Me Once. Copyright © 2016. New York: DUTTON. Print.

The Criswell Study Bible. Authorized King James Version. Nashville | Camden: Thomas Nelson Pub., 1979. Print.

Sergieff, Archpriest John Iliytch. My Life in Christ. or Moments of Spiritual Serenity and Contemplation, of Reverent Feeling, of Earnest Self-Amendment, and Peace in God: Extracts from the diary of St. John of Kronstadt (Arch­priest John Iliytch Sergieff). Trans­lated with the author's sanction, from the Fourth and Supplemental Edition by E.E. Goulaeff. St. Peters­burg. Jordans­ville, NY: Holy Trinity Monastery, 2000. Print.