Spoilers ahead for Bad Boys for Life.
Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah‘s Bad Boys for Life is in theaters now. The long-awaited sequel has Will Smith and Martin Lawrence teaming up again as detectives Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett as the two cops must face demons from Mike’s past. I really enjoyed the film, and you can click here for my full review.
We were fortunate enough to get El Arbi and Fallah to come into the studio to talk to our own Steve Weintraub about adding the mid-credits scene to the movie. In the scene, Mike talks to his incarcerated son, the film’s villain who is now atoning for his crimes. Mike then comes in with a file indicating that his son’s skills may be of use in helping to pay off his debt to society.
Adil El Arbi explained how the scene came about and why they ultimately decided to include it:
Adil El Arbi: “That was the last scene to be put in the movie, and we went back and forth a hundred times. No one knew what to do. The studio, the producer, us, or Will and Martin—do we put it in or not? And from those eight or ten test screenings, we screened it with and without, and by screening it without, the audience felt they needed some kind of closure with one of the characters, so we put it back in really close to the title, not like a Marvel movie where it comes all the way at the end of the credits. It’s not a superhero movie; we put it in just to have that closure. And who knows? If the movie is successful, there might be another one.
The scene definitely has a heavy “This is our Deckard Shaw” vibe in a film that pulls heavily from the Fast & Furious franchise, but El Arbi is right that it does provide a sense of closure.
The directors also talked about the importance of additional photography and test screenings. While some may feel that reshoots are a sign of a troubled production or that test screenings diminish a movie’s artistic integrity, when making a blockbuster like Bad Boys for Life, you need both because you’re trying to give the audience what they want. It’s one thing to avoid test screenings if you’re making a deeply personal film, but if you want people to cheer and laugh at the right moments, then you need some reshoots and some test screenings to tweak the final picture. El Arbi and Fallah provide a good explanation of why these post-production elements are so valuable.
For more on Bad Boys for Life, here’s Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah explaining how they got Michael Bay to do a cameo in the film.