Fans of Will Smith's Bad Boys have been given a fresh reason to celebrate after learning the long-awaited third film in the franchise has a big name director attached.

Joe Carnahan, who has been in negotiations about Bad Boys III since last year, has confirmed he'll be taking charge of the blockbuster.

Carnahan, the director of films like The A-Team, Narc and The Grey, has tweeted a photo believed to be a mocked-up still from the planned movie treatment and the caption,"...who is this man? ... and how bad is he? #BadBoys3".

The news comes just days after Smith made it clear he and Martin Lawrence are keen to return to the big screen as their cocky, larger-than-life police officer characters, Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett.

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"I saw Martin a few weeks ago," the actor recently told the BBC.

"I haven't seen him for about two years. We just looked at each other. We hugged. In that moment, we knew we were making another Bad Boys. We're definitely doing another one."

The original Bad Boys film hit cinemas in 1995; Bad Boys II was released in 2003. Both films were directed by Transformers moviemaker Michael Bay.

- WENN