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BLUE STREAK
Review by Andrew Manning (9/99)

Release: 1999, Sony
Starring: Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson, Peter Greene, David Chappelle, William Forsythe
Director: Les Mayfield
MPAA Rating: [PG-13] violence, language
Genre: Comedy/Action

He's a cop that's not. Believe that!...


SUMMARY


A professional thief (Lawrence) hides a stolen diamond in a building under construction before getting caught and thrown in jail. Upon his release two years later, he returns to the site only to discover that it is now a police station. To get the diamond, he poses as a newly transferred officer. But his background in crime makes him the best cop in the precinct, and all wackiness ensues.


THE SEVEN-SECOND RUNDOWN


Martin Lawrence delivers the laughs in this fast-paced romp of action and comedy.


WHAT'S GOOD


Blue Streak is a decent action flick packed with laughs. The running gag is that Lawrence, who's really a crook, makes a better cop than all the precinct's officers combined, thanks to his experience on the wrong side of the law coupled with a dash of ridiculous serendipity.

After a seemingly endless stream of improbable situations, Lawrence finds himself reluctantly rising through the ranks until he becomes a lead detective. And because he doesn't have any regard for regulation and protocol, we're treated to many scenes of Lawrence abusing his power: cutting slack for his bumbling partner in crime (played by Dave Chappelle), rummaging through police evidence, and (best of all) indulging in wicked amounts of police brutality. He beats confessions out of his suspects, beats Chappelle into silence, and beats on a prisoner just because a snooty lawyer tells him not to. As a fellow officer played by William Forsythe observes, "you don't get that kind of training at the academy."

Lawrence's stand-up comedian side comes out on numerous occasions, and his ability to play over-the-top caricatures shines when he disguises himself as a clueless pizza delivery man with outrageously bad teeth.

Car chases, gun fights, and basic brawling inject a fair amount of action. But it's really Lawrence's comedic charisma that carries the show. If you enjoyed him in Bad Boys and Nothing to Lose, you'll get a kick out of Blue Streak. It's funny, and that's the bottom line.



WHAT'S BAD


The movie gets pretty boring when The Bad Guys (tm) enter the scene. A drug bust operation at the end feels pretty aimless: a token shoot 'em up scene that doesn't really hold a candle to the comedic parts of the movie. But perhaps the worst element is Luke Wilson's character. He's the naive young rookie who gets teamed up with Lawrence. For virtually the entire film, he's a dopey, clumsy goof, and suddenly in the last ten minutes, he gets this sharp, knowing demeanor, as if his personality had been a facade the whole time. Where did he get the brain all of a sudden???

Also, the ending is a little too sentimental and "honor among thieves" for my taste. I thought everyone was going to roast marshmallows and sing campfire songs before the closing credits. Still, though, if you can swallow that, Blue Streak is one of the better buddy-buddy action comedies of the year.


Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (0=Abysmal, 5=Average, 10=Excellent)
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