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Will Smith gets slapped repeatedly during Bad Boys 4 scene in apparent nod to Oscars incident
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in "Bad Boys: Ride or Die"

Will Smith gets slapped repeatedly during Bad Boys 4 scene in apparent nod to Oscars incident

Will Smith's character Mike Lowrey gets slapped repeatedly by Martin Lawrence's Marcus Burnett during a scene in Bad Boys: Ride or Die.


The moment appears to be a nod to Smith's infamous Oscars incident two years ago, when he walked onstage at the awards show and slapped Chris Rock in the face in front of millions.

In the climactic action scene, Smith's Mike is in mid–panic attack when Lawrence's Marcus, his detective partner, slaps him several times to shake him out of it.

The moment, played for laughs, drew audible reactions from crowds at advance screenings, with audiences apparently connecting it to the Oscars slap.

In his review for Variety, critic Owen Gleiberman described it as a "direct reference" to the Oscars moment, calling the scene "a kind of pop exorcism." He writes, "It’s 'punishing' Smith, making cruel fun of his transgression, and just maybe, in the process, allowing him to crawl out from under the image of it."

Nick Schager, critic for the Daily Beast, mentioned the moment in his review, calling it a "tasteless nod to The Slap meant to rehab Smith’s image."

Schager said the "late meta joke about Smith’s Oscar scandal proves a predictable bit of self-consciousness and does less to enliven the proceedings than merely fulfill expectations."

The New York Post's critic Johnny Oleksinski wrote of the scene, "The best part of Bad Boys: Ride or Die arrives near the end of the film when Martin Lawrence slaps Will Smith in the face and yells 'bad boy!' What a shame that it’s fake."

Smith, 55, has apologized for the Oscars incident, calling his behaviour that day "unacceptable." The actor resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which banned him from attending its events for 10 years.

Directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who also made 2020's Bad Boys for Life sequel, recently told UNILAD that the script was still changing in the aftermath of the Oscars slap and that real events shaped the story of the latest instalment.

"I think, you know, if you watch the movie you see that there are some parallels between what's happening in the movie and real life," they told the outlet, adding, "There's almost like a meta experience that Will in the character of Mike Lowrey goes through with some themes."

The directors said, “So obviously it had something, there is a connection between real life and the story of the movie in the movie itself."

Bad Boys: Ride or Die is in theaters on June 7.

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