National Security
1 out of 5 stars
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Before the film even begins you know you're in trouble with this one. Lawrence hasn't been funny since, well, has he ever been funny? And Dugan doesn't exactly have a sparkling filmography (skip also Saving Silverman, Big Daddy, Problem Child). This one's about a cop named Hank (Zahn) whose partner (Busfield) is horrifically gunned down in front of him, leaving him shattered. But he goes back to work, and on his first day gets into an altercation with police academy dropout Earl (Lawrence), which further ruins his life. But this is nothing compared to six months later, when the bickering Hank and Earl are forced to work together to track down those responsible for Hank's partner's death. And just guess where the trail leads?

To call this an antagonistic buddy comedy is being kind, because these characters simply don't work at all. Zahn at least tries; but Lawrence is all over the place, never remotely funny and never coming close to portraying a character in any way. We actively dislike both of them, so why watch the film at all? Vague attempts to examine race issues end up being so superficial that they're bound to offend everyone. And the ineptness extends from script to direction to action scenes, which seem to consist only of shootouts punctuated by stale car stunts that were more convincing in Smokey and the Bandit. Supporting characters are mildly less annoying simply because they're barely in the film at all (Flaherty gets the only laugh with a joke as old as the hills). The film is just about noisy enough to keep you awake, but that's it. Please don't actually pay for a ticket. You'll only encourage them.

cert 12 themes, language, violence, innuendo 24.Feb.03

dir Dennis Dugan
scr Jay Scherick, David Ronn
with Steve Zahn, Martin Lawrence, Eric Roberts, Colm Feore, Bill Duke, Robinne Lee, Timothy Busfield, Matt McCoy, Brett Cullen, Mari Morrow, Stephen Tobolowsky, Joe Flaherty
release 17.Jan.03; UK 21.Mar.03
Columbia
03/US 1h28

Take aim. Lawrence and Zahn try to keep the energy level high so we won't notice what a terrible movie this is...

zahn lawrence roberts
R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... they only look like cops Drew, Torrance: 5/5 "Dude, you must see this movie, it is better than any Lawrence film, including the Bad Boys series. Lawrence is funny and he makes many many many funny jokes and funny scenes in this movie. See this movie, and if u dont like it, u need to watch more movies because you dont take a movie for what it really is." (16.Jun.05)
2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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