Create better female characters. Women in action films often lack a lot of depth, and usually become the sickening damsels in distress sucking up way too much screen time, kinda like Gabrielle Union’s character did in the second movie. Why not make the woman a badass villain with a megawatt smile who can give Mike (Smith) and Marcus (Lawrence) a real fight for their lives?
It’s time for Mike to settle down. As much as it’s passé for male characters in film to be perpetual bachelors, the whole bit about Mike having more girls than he knows what to do with is SO played out. At least give him a steady girlfriend. After all, he’s been single for almost two decades. When’s he gonna get a girl? It’s just not cool when you’re waving a pimp cane at age 60, unless you’re Ron Isley (and we don’t even want him doing it).
Stick to what works. Dear director Michael Bay, don’t get too wild with the new plot by adding spectacularly obscene characters or impossible scenarios (like Mike racing a speeding bullet across the ocean, while balancing on a surfboard). Keep with what’s been successful in the past—a fun buddy cop film that doesn’t try to be anything more than that.
Add some fresh blood. As good as the chemistry is between Lawrence and Smith, it may be time to add a few new faces to the cast that will break up the predictable banter between the two leads. The Rock was able to revitalize the Fast and the Furious franchise, so just think what a newcomer who can throw jabs back at Marcus and Mike can do for a new installment.
Make sure the soundtrack is tight. Even the worst action movies have killer tunes. If the movie suffers from dead plot moments, the audience can easily forget about them if one of their jams starts playing right in the middle of a weak scene. Remember what Diddy did for the second film’s soundtrack? Folks were sitting in the theater trying to shake their tailfeathers. This works.
(This post was originally written for The Urban Daily).