Isabel Aretas is the main antagonist in Bad Boys for Life. She is a drug kingpin and the former lover of Mike Lowrey.
She is portrayed by Kate del Castillo.
In 1989, Isabel Aretas was the wife of drug kingpin Benito Aretas, whose cartel was the main focus of an investigation by the Miami Police Department. Police captain Conrad Howard enlisted rookie detective Mike Lowrey out of the police academy (prior to Mike's longtime partnership with Marcus Burnett) to go undercover and infiltrate the Aretas cartel. During his time undercover, Mike engaged in an affair with Isabel, who showed him the ways of her lifestyle, leading to Mike's current high-life personality.
When the time came to take down the cartel, Isabel planned on running away with Mike, as she became pregnant as a result of their affair. However, Mike found out how dangerous Isabel was, as she was nicknamed, "La Bruja" (Spanish for "The Witch"), for being into black magic, leading to Mike having her locked up as well. Benito ended up dying after his arrest, and as for Isabel, she gave birth to a son in prison, named Armando.
Bad Boys For Life
Isabel spent the following quarter-century seeking revenge on Mike, and in the beginning of the film, she killed a guard and several other people to make her escape, with Armando assisting. The mother-and-son pair returned to Mexico City, with Isabel ordering Armando to resurrect the business and kill everyone who was part of the cartel's takedown, including Mike, who Isabel ordered to kill last--as she wanted to make Mike suffer. The villainess gave the order without revealing that Mike was Armando's biological father, and it was early in the film that Armando fired multiple shots at Mike during Marcus' retirement party. Isabel scolded her son for going after Mike first, though Mike survived the attempt, leading to Mike to go on an investigation to find the shooter--with the help of his ex-girlfriend (and fellow officer) Rita and her task force.
Meanwhile, Armando killed the others under his malevolent mother's orders, including Captain Howard, who was shot and killed in front of Mike. Howard's death led to Marcus joining Mike on his mission, and during their pursuit of Armando, the words, "Hasta el fuego," were uttered to Mike. Mike recognized the words as the same phrase that he and Isabel had said to each other, leading to Mike revealing the truth to Marcus: that Armando was his biological son and the result of his past affair with Isabel; adding that he had to be the father because Benito couldn't father children.
Mike went to Mexico City to confront Isabel, with Marcus, Rita, and the rest of the group going with him--despite Mike's protests. He later confronted Isabel, who revealed that she had planned to surprise him with the news of her pregnancy during their plans to run away together, while callously responding to Mike's scolding regarding Armando by boasting that he has no idea that Mike was his father. An immense shootout followed between Isabel's henchmen and the group, with Mike fighting Armando and attempting to reveal that Armando was his son. The revelation surprised Armando and left him in disbelief, after which Mike told him that Isabel will reveal everything. When asked by Armando if Mike was his father, the evil Isabel indirectly confirmed Mike's statements, only to add that Mike was nothing to him and order her son to kill his father.
When Armando refused, Isabel attempted to kill Mike herself, only to end up shooting Armando when he stepped in between them to protect Mike (Armando survived). The villainess made another attempt at Mike, only for Rita to shoot and kill Isabel, who ended up falling over into a wave of fire.
- Isabel is the first and only main villain in the Bad Boys franchise to be female. She is also the first and only main villain in the franchise to not be killed by either Mike or Marcus.