National Security
Columbia/Tri-Star // PG-13 // January 17, 2003
Review by Todd Siechen | posted January 24, 2003
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Who would have guessed that Martin Lawrence could be involved in anything different than what he has delivered in the past. Well this time you don't have to because he's back in another one of the same brands of comical buddy movies we've been subjected to before. This time he is paired up with a new comedy sidekick partner Steve Zahn to retort all his usual comical material as if he hasn't attempted it so many times in the past.

Steve Zahn plays Hank, a cop whose partner is killed (how original) and so is personally motivated to track down those responsible. His gun and badge are taken away after he is accused of a racially motivated crime against Earl Montgomery (Martin Lawrence) who was kicked out of the police academy and is trying to break into a car. Eventually they both find themselves thrown together as security guards looking for the same thugs involved in both a smuggling operation and for killing Hanks partner. The audience is then taken on the typical ride of explosions, bad one-liners, slap-schtick buddies travelling around L.A. trying to wreak havoc to our funny bones, but just not quite delivering much to most except for the most die-hard Lawrence fans. This film goes from 0 to forgotten in 2 seconds after the credits begin.

This film delivers just about what you would expect from a Martin Lawrence film, the same recycled tired racially motivated drivel that fails to make me laugh 99% of the time. The only real shining comedy here is with Steve Zahn who finally gets to break out into something more for himself as an actor. I think Steve has more potential as an actor/comedian for a new style of comedy in future roles when given the right material. I look forward to seeing more from him.

This is the kind of formula movie-making that Hollywood likes to throw money at because Martin Lawrence fans will pay to see him time and again. There isn't anything new with National Security, and there certainly isn't anything you can't find in a hundred other past films and TV shows. I would recommend this film only for those who follow Martin Lawrence and enjoy his particular brand of racial humor, but for me this grew tiring a long time ago. Despite Steve Zahn showing some decent comedy chops, this film can be considered extremely predictable and therefore good for anyone wanting something they can count on for their money and 90 minutes worth of time. For all others looking for a better fresher brand of humor, I would stear clear.

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