Blue Streak

Ealasaid/ October 1, 1999/ Movie Reviews and Features

Originally written for The Occidental.

Cop stories are cool. Comedies are cool. Cop comedies can be cool, but they have to be done right. Lethal Weapon was a great cop comedy. Blue Streak, on the other hand, is not. Which is not to say it’s awful – there are worse movies around, and Blue Streak isn’t horrible. But it’s not great, either.

Miles Logan (Martin Lawrence) is a thief. He’s good at and greatly enjoys his job. Unfortunately for him, as the film opens, one of his team members goes bad, and Miles ends up getting arrested… but not before he has hidden the incredibly expensive diamond they stole inside a vent in a building under construction. Two years later, he’s a free man again… but the building he hid the rock in is now a police station. How does he get in? He pretends to be a cop. And, of course, ends up having to go farther with the deception than he’d anticipated.

The cast is fairly good. Lawrence is clearly enjoying himself as Logan, and although much of the humor in this film is infantile, he made the audience (and, I admit, me as well) laugh because he was having so much fun. The rest of the cast is fairly solid, turning in fairly typical performances. Luke Wilson, as Logan’s cop partner, does the same likable newbie schtick he did in Home Fries, and with equal success. Peter Green, as Deacon (the villain of the piece) is suitably menacing (you may remember him as the rather… unpleasant cop Zed in Pulp Fiction). Nothing remarkable, but good performances all around.

Where the film really falls apart is in its overall impact. The comedy works well, even when it dips into the immature, but the occasional doses of serious cop-film we are dealt sit oddly, and make the film’s overall impression somewhat schizophrenic. It’s a shame, really, as Lawrence’s obvious comedic talent is dampened by the waffling between genres. Had Blue Streak tried to be either a serious cop film or a hilarious cop comedy, it would have succeeded. But to make a truly great cop comedy, you have to have top-notch performances in at least the central characters, and Blue Streak falls just short.

But, as it stands, the bottom line is this: it’s a fun way to kill some time if you see a matinee showing, but isn’t worth full price to see it. If you want to see this sort of film done well, rent Lethal Weapon.

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