Will Smith and Martin Lawrence
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

That One Time Will Smith and Martin Lawrence Gave Me 'Bad Boys' Training

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence hosted a risk-taking “On the Run Cadet Academy” activation ahead of their new flick

During the ongoing promotional tour for Bad Boys: Ride or Die, film leads Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reintroduced the buddy-cop franchise to millennial and Gen Z influencers during an experiential event in Carson, California on Friday (May 17). Held two days after the actors surprised viewers at a Los Angeles screening of the latest Bad Boys iteration (playing in theaters June 7), the legendary stars graced the Porsche Experience Center for the inaugural “On the Run Cadet Academy,” an immersive experience for press and on-the-ground streamers to hop into the adventurous world of detectives Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett.

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Although Carson is an entire coast away from Miami, where Bad Boys has been set since its 1995 debut, PEC did its best to replicate Vice City. Film stills were spread throughout the building lobby, guests took pictures at a step-and-repeat display, the iconic 1987 “Bad Boys” tune by reggae band Inner Circle played on a loop, and the Sony Pictures production team kept cameras rolling. Just 30 minutes after attendees were allowed entry at 11 a.m., hosts welcomed us to the space before inviting groups to either go to the second level of PEC or remain downstairs, where they could get a google look at the race track outside. In true Miami PD style, Smith—who took the driver’s seat—and Lawrence sped through the grounds before both hopped out the whip to greet the invite-only crowd.

Attendees rushed back to the lobby with anticipation before Smith and Lawrence entered, with the Fresh Prince steering the introduction while Lawrence soaked up the excitement throughout the space. “I ain’t want us to just come and talk about the movie and do press and stuff like that; I want y’all to have some fun,” Smith told the audience. Attendees did just that, going back outside for a rotation of two activities: getting an exhilarating Porsche test drive on the track for “Drive Like Mike Lowrey” or the “Marcus’ Ultimate Snack Run” to complete an obstacle course for snack prizes in a pop-up mini mart.

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Since the event ran a bit behind schedule, when Smith and Lawrence went outside to see how guests were enjoying the occasion—even graciously snapping a few selfies—I mainly camped out at the snack run, desperately trying to hold in my laughter (and horror) when participants took a spill. But for the massive investment that Sony Pictures put into the event, the influencers made it worth the company’s while, enthusiastically recording themselves for vlogs and social promotion that cost-effective media professionals dream of. Throughout four hours of being “On the Run,” guests took over the adult playground action, while Bad Boys: Ride or Die achieved thrilling content marketing for the franchise to reach a younger generation. Now that's how you're supposed to drive.