Blue Streak

Directed by Les Mayfield
Starring: Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson, Peter Greene, Dave Chappelle, William Forsythe.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for action violence, continuous language and some crude humor.

Review by Matt Heffernan
September 17, 1999

Picture this: Jerry Lewis in a mistaken-identity farce where everybody thinks he's somebody important, when he is really just an idiotic stooge. It does sound sort of familiar, but I don't think I ever saw ol' Jerry pull off a roundhouse kick.

Martin Lawrence plays jewel thief Miles Logan, who is caught after he hides a massive diamond in a building that is under construction. He is carried away, but he pays attention to the location. Two years later, he is released, so he goes back to the hiding place. It turns out that the building is a new police station.

Undaunted, Miles lifts a police ID, put's his own picture on it, and gets a fake badge made. Disguised as a cop, he reports for duty, complete with fake papers. While he is looking for the diamond, he is called off to do police work with his new partner, Detective Carlson (Luke Wilson). Of course, due to his experience as a criminal, he makes an excellent cop.

In Blue Streak, Lawrence puts Jackie Chan to shame. What should have been played entirely for laughs, turns into another sequel to Police Story. Lawrence plays this Jerry Lewis-type character with a lot of enthusiasm, but asks too much from the audience when he starts to become a supercop. Wilson's character is never quite realized, and he often looks more confused than he should be.

One thing that the film has going for it is pace. It is quite obvious that some parts were cut out to speed things up. Nicole Parker's D.A. character seems like it was meant to be a lot bigger than the four or five lines she ended up with in the final cut. But her part was probably a boring little flirtation with Lawrence's character that we were luckily spared. At least William Forsythe is there to class the place up, even though he just plays a rather generic cop. And of course, whenever you see Peter Greene, you knows there's going to be trouble.

Alas, Greene wasn't the only trouble. Les Mayfield, who has directed several less-than-stunning films, has made a very muddled statement. I don't necessarily expect credible characters in an action film or a silly farce. Just don't try to fit a clown into a bulletproof vest.

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Blue Streak (1999)

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Review © 1999 Matt Heffernan