bad boys ride or die the slap will smith
Main Image: Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys: Ride or Die, Sony Pictures Releasing

Will Smith gets slapped multiple times in Bad Boys: Ride or Die, an apparent reference to his slap of Chris Rock at the Oscars in 2022.

According to reviews of the fourth Bad Boys installment, which arrived in theaters Wednesday, the deliverer of the slaps to Smith’s character Mike Lowry, is Martin Lawrence’s character, Marcus Burnett.

Many are understandably interpreting the scene as a reference to the infamous Oscars slap.

In his review of the film, Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman writes, “I went into the movie wondering how the Slap would impinge on Smith’s ability to be his airless and jocular Will Smith self, but he acts with supreme confidence and timing. And the film doesn’t sidestep his awkward moment of infamy. It makes direct reference to it.

“In the climax, Smith gets repeatedly slapped by his partner, who keeps calling him bad boy, and the scene acts as a kind of pop exorcism. 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.”

Daily Beast critic Nick Schrager called the scene a “tasteless nod to The Slap meant to rehab Smith’s image.”

Reps for Smith, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Chris Rock did not immediately respond to MovieMaker‘s requests for comment regarding the scene. Smith has apologized to both the public and to Chris Rock for the slap.

What the Bad Boys 4 Directors Have Said

Without directly confirming the meaning of the scene, directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah recently told UNILAD that there are some parallels between the movie and real life. They also confirmed that the script was still being edited after the slap.

“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,” the directors said. “There’s almost like a meta experience that Will in the character of Mike Lowrey goes through with some themes… so obviously it had something, there is a connection between real life and the story of the movie in the movie itself.”

Also Read: Bert Kreischer Mistakenly Thought Will Smith and 12 Other Dudes Wanted to Have Sex With Him

Need a Refresher on Will Smith’s Oscars Slap?

The slap took place on March 27, 2022 at the 94th Academy Awards, which was hosted that year by Chris Rock. During the televised ceremony, Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, being bald, comparing her to G.I. Jane. It angered Will Smith so much that he got out of his seat, walked onto the stage, and slapped Rock in the face on live television.

“Keep my wife’s name out your f—ing mouth,” Smith said to Rock.

The smack was one of the most shocking moments in the history of the Oscars — and certainly the most stunning since the wrong Best Picture winner was announced in 2017 — when it erroneously went to La La Land instead of Moonlight.

Later that night, Smith went on to win the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in King Richard.

In his acceptance speech, Smith tried to compare his assault on Rock to the way his character, Richard Williams, defended his daughters, Venus and Serena Williams.

“I want to apologize to the Academy. I want to apologize to all my fellow nominees,” Smith said. “Art imitates life. I looked like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. … But love will make you do crazy things.”

The Academy has since given him a 10-year ban from attending the Oscars. Rock has gone on to address the slap several times, including in his Netflix comedy special Selective Outrage.

Is it too soon for Will Smith to make light of the slapping incident? You decide.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die is now in theaters.

Main Image: Martin Lawrence and Will Smith in Bad Boys: Ride or Die, Sony Pictures Releasing