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   BLUE STREAK (1999) 

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CAST
Martin Lawrence
Luke Wilson
Peter Greene
David Chappelle
William Forsythe
Nicole Ari Parker
Graham Beckel

DIRECTED BY
Les Mayfield

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 93 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Action/Comedy


Though I think Martin Lawrence is a funny comedian, I have never paid to see any of his films. I can usually tell by the trailer, which contains all the funniest scenes, that the picture (in this case BLUE STREAK) is going to be heavy on one-liners and light on plot. Since I watched this on HBO in the comfort of my own home with the ability to change the channel, I decided to give it a try. The only reason I gave this film even one star, is that I find Lawrence to be extremely likeable. Even though the film was fairly predictable with a wafer thin plot, I couldn't stop watching. I certainly didn't laugh as much as I'd hoped I would, but Martin is a cinema force to be reckoned with.

The camera loves him and he makes the most of every scene he's in...which is also one of the main problems. He needs to be given funny, clever material paired with a director with a strong hand. There are several scenes in BLUE STREAK that were very funny, but just allowed to go on way too long. In this case, less would be more. He also needs to be paired up with actors who can keep up with him. Luke Wilson played his role well, but he just doesn't have the talent or energy to match Lawrence. Yes, he was supposed to seem different as part of the comedy, but how believable is a Los Angeles police precinct with all white cops? Maybe if the film took place in Beverly Hills.

In this incarnation, Lawrence plays a jewel robber who's double crossed by one of his partners. Just before being arrested, he hides the $20 million diamond he just stole in the air duct of a building under construction. When he's finally released from prison, he returns to the building only to find it completed...as a police precinct. He tries to sneak in as a deliver person, but security is too tight. Unwilling to give up, he decides to "become" a police man for a day, just long enough to get into the building, retrieve his treasure and disappear as a very rich man. The comedy ensues when the cops think he's a new transfer and actually put him too work. He not only has trouble keeping his identity under wraps, but his ex-partner is also on his tail, waiting for him to regain the diamond so he can steal it from Martin.


"No, I'm over your head, because your head's up your ass."

The story's OK, but nothing special and certainly a script that would have never been made without the star power of Lawrence. Everybody pretty much does what is expected – the cops are amazed by Martin's skills and knowledge (how they managed to catch criminals before his arrival is a mystery), his ex-partner is surly and mean and Martin is Martin. There are some amusing scenes in the police station, but nothing extremely memorable. David Chappelle has a funny supporting role, but is highly underused. There are several action sequence, but again, nothing you haven't seen a million times before.

For an extremely funny stand-up comedian, you'd think that Lawrence would wait until he found a script that was worthy of him. I guess the need to work is stronger than the need to produce good work. If you like Lawrence this wouldn't be a bad film to rent or catch on cable. If you're not a fan, BLUE STREAK won't make you one.


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