Fourth ‘Bad Boys’ movie opens June 7, Tasha Smith onboard for latest sequel

She replaces Theresa Randle as Marcus’ wife in ‘Ride or Die,’ which stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.
At a screening for "Bad Boys Ride or Die" at IPIC at Colony Square in Atlanta on Tuesday, June 3, Tasha Smith introduces the movie. RODNEY HO/

Credit: RODNEY HO/r

Credit: RODNEY HO/r

At a screening for "Bad Boys Ride or Die" at IPIC at Colony Square in Atlanta on Tuesday, June 3, Tasha Smith introduces the movie. RODNEY HO/

The fourth installment in the “Bad Boys” series of films starring Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, set in Miami but partially filmed in Georgia, opens on Friday, June 7.

The latest entry in this sturdy action/comedy franchise features many of the same core actors from the third film, but Tasha Smith (no relation to Will) replaced Theresa Randle, who played Theresa Burnett for the first three films going back to 1995. The studio has not released any explanation for the change and Smith herself said she didn’t know.

“There’s no controversy,” Smith said. “The Scripture says ‘all things work together for good.’ We just have to trust that. This is just where we are now.”

Smith, a veteran actor and director, nabbed a small role in “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” film as the devoted wife to detective Marcus Miles Burnett, played with signature comic flair by Martin Lawrence.

And she couldn’t be more excited by the opportunity. “It was something I wanted to be part of,” she said by phone Tuesday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution before leaving the city during a day she said was plagued by water main break issues at her hotel and local restaurants. “Will [Smith] and Martin are my friends. They’re like fine wine and good fried chicken! It never gets old!”

The movie was shot in part in Georgia because of the state’s generous tax credits, just like the hit third film in 2020 “Bad Boys For Life.” This time around, Jekyll Island and downtown Atlanta (with prop palm trees thrown in) are easy to see. A person on Reddit took a photo of Smith and Lawrence on the roof of a Buckhead building last year, a scene which pops up in the movie.

Smith’s character Theresa tries to keep her detective hubby Marcus from eating junk food while he and his best bud Mike Lowry (Smith) try to track down a dirty mole (Eric Dane) within the government who is targeting them. He also killed their late boss Captain Conrad Howard (Joe Pantoliano) and framed Howard for working with drug cartels.

Tasha Smith is now playing the wife of Marcus (Martin Lawrence) in the sturdy film franchise "Bad Boys Ride or Die." COLUMBIA PICTURES

Credit: Frank Masi

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Credit: Frank Masi

Smith herself has been working for decades with plenty of roles in Tyler Perry projects (”Why Did I Get Married?” “For Better or Worse”) as well as films and TV shows ranging from “ATL” and “Couples Retreat” to “Empire” and “Dolemite is My Name.” She has also become a busy director, shooting episodes of “9-1-1,” “Mayor of Kingstown” and two Atlanta-produced Starz shows, “P-Valley” and “BMF.”

Though Smith was only on set for “Bad Boys” for a couple of weeks, she watched directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah carefully. “They have the energy of the two main characters,” she said. “I felt like I was in class while also getting paid. I learned so much. I’ve never directed anything this big. But I’m ready!”

Pundits are unsure how well “Bad Boys Ride or Die” will do this weekend and what impact Will Smith’s Oscar slap two years ago will have on his box-office appeal, with opening estimates ranging from $30 million to $50 million. The third film opened at a strong $62 million in January 2020 on its way to a huge $206 million domestic take right before the pandemic hit. When asked about the slap, a publicist cut in and said Tasha Smith would not broach the topic.

As for the “Bad Boys” franchise, Smith sees more coming. “Will and Martin will be in wheelchairs popping wheelies in 30 years!” she said.


“Bad Boys Ride or Die,” in local theaters June 7