Bad Boys Ride or Die and Resistor: Will Smith’s comeback after Oscars slap is well and truly on

Headshot of Wenlei Ma
Wenlei Ma
The Nightly
Whether you like it or not the Will Smith has been let out of movie jail.
Whether you like it or not the Will Smith has been let out of movie jail. Credit: Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images for Sony Pictures

Whether you’re ready to forgive and forget, the Will Smith comeback is happening.

The actor has signed to star in Resistor, a sci-fi movie from Sony Pictures, according to Deadline. The film is based on the book Influx by Daniel Suarez.

The novel tells the story of a physicist and his team who discover a way to reflect gravity. In the aftermath of the revolutionary find, the lab is locked down by a mysterious organisation with the Kafka-esque name, the Bureau of Technology Control.

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The physicist refuses to cooperate with the bureau, and is thrown into prison with other technology rebels. This cadre of insurgents wants to take down the bureau but how do you fight an enemy with 50 years of secret technologies?

The movie adaptation has been kicking around for a while but the latest draft of the script from Zak Olkewicz and Eric Warren Singer was handed in recently.

According to Deadline, Sony executives were excited about the project and wanted to keep working with Smith after the unexpected commercial success of Bad Boys: Ride or Die.

Screengrabs from the Trailer for the movie, Bad Boys: Ride or DIe. Starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence.
Bad Boys Ride or Die has been a box office hit. Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment/YouTube

The fourth movie in the franchise has so far netted $US218 million at the global box office, including $8.05 million in Australia after two weekends. Reteaming Smith and Martin Lawrence, it’s performed well above expectations.

Smith and Lawrence returned as two Miami cops in a plotline about trying to clear the name of their late captain after he was set-up to take the fall in a corruption scandal.

The action dramedy was directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who took over from Bad Boys’ original filmmaker Michael Bay with the third instalment, the 2020 movie Bad Boys for Life.

Bad Boys: Ride or Die is the first project Smith has made since his infamous assault against comedian Chris Rock on the stage of the 2022 Oscars ceremony. Smith slapped Rock after Rock made jokes about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage while presenting the award for best documentary feature at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) Credit: Chris Pizzello/Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

The notorious moment was broadcast to millions of viewers and amplified on social media and news reports in the days following. The actor was not removed from the event and was allowed to collect his trophy when he won for best actor later in the ceremony.

He gave a six-minute speech seemingly to justify his actions, and apologised to the audience but not to Rock. He apologised to Rock in a video released four months after the slap.

Smith was banned by the Academy for 10 years from attending the Oscars or being nominated for his work. He pre-emptively resigned his membership.

Smith released the streaming drama Emancipation later that year but that had been filmed before the Oscars slap.

After two years, with Bad Boys: Ride or Die and now Resistor, it seems Hollywood – or at least Sony – and audiences, are ready to be back in the Will Smith business. Slap or not.

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