A movie so hollow you might not even realize that it wasn't directed by Michael Bay

“Violence is what we do.”

Detective Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) effectively sums up the return of the “Bad Boys” series with this line, and the over-the-top action buddy flick delivers on this promise. If you want some laughs and a high body count, you won’t be disappointed in “Bad Boys for Life.”

The film arrives 17 years after “Bad Boys II,” and Michael Bay isn’t behind the director’s chair for the first time in the series, but you would hardly notice. Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah pump the screen full of the same level of inane action. Smith and Martin Lawrence are so naturally funny, it only sometimes matters how bad the jokes are.

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But did we need this? Really?

We obviously open in the middle of a high-speed car chase, because why wouldn’t we?

Lawrence’s Detective Marcus Burnett drops the one-liners, while Smith’s Mike does the driving. The chase ends at a hospital, where Marcus’ daughter has just given birth to her first child. Bad grandpas for life!

Reflecting on these events leaves Marcus pondering retirement while Mike is still committed to the cop game. But when there’s an assassination attempt on Mike, you just know they’re going to get the gang together again. And you know they’re going to sing the song. Several times.

If you’re a fan of the original two “Bad Boys” flicks, you won’t be disappointed. I’m not a fan of the original “Bad Boys” flicks.

And 17 years later, the Bay-esque violence doesn’t feel the same. It’s the kind of flip, desensitizing violence where you’re supposed to be, like, sweet!

“Bad Boys for Life” is loud, goes on a little too long and tries to wring drama from a plot straight out of a telenovela (a joke that Marcus points out is a little on-the-nose).

Minus the charms of the leads, this one would have been a total dud. Fans can rejoice. I can dread the upcoming “Bad Boys 4: Badder and Boy-ier.”