Could Joe Carnahan Direct Bad Boys 3?

By  · Published on June 10th, 2015

Columbia Pictures

The headline isn’t meant to be one of those intentionally ambiguous titles for the sake of uncertainty and speculation. I’m not asking a question of will he. I’m asking if it could actually be possible for Joe Carnahan (The A-Team) to directed a Bad Boys sequel. According to The Wrap, he is in talks to write one (or rewrite the one first scripted by David Guggenheim). It’s also said that these talks could lead to him directing his own Bad Boys 3 script. But what I’m wondering is how on Earth it can be a Bad Boys movie without Michael Bay at the helm.

When we say that Bay is a blockbuster auteur, we aren’t kidding. But it’s actually more than that. There’s a reason that nobody has so far directed a sequel to a Michael Bay movie. It would be like having a Chic-fil-A franchise sell burgers and no chicken sandwiches (or biscuits or any other chicken-based menu item). Maybe somebody could make a different kind of Transformers movie, and that will happen very soon. Bad Boys, though, isn’t even really a property. It’s just scenes directed by Michael Bay that prominently feature Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.

Maybe Smith and Lawrence won’t be back, so then it’s really not Bad Boys. The actors are being sought, and while I’m sure Lawrence has no reason to decline the offer, Smith wouldn’t even do Independence Day 2, which probably would have paid better and been more fun. Maybe Carnahan can wrangle Joe Pantoliano to return as the Miami Police captain. And maybe it should just be his old script set in Miami and titled Miami, which was described as “Chinatown in South Beach.”

The closest person capable of making sequel to a Michael Bay reel in the form of an action movie is probably Peter Berg, one of the ensemble players in Carnahan’s Smokin’ Aces. He’d at least bring in enough flag waving, and he’s previously worked with Smith (on Hancock) and Miami (on the new HBO series Ballers) and could probably bring Dwayne Johnson into the fold for some franchise Viagra.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.