Blue Streak [1999]

Martin Lawrence can certainly talk a blue streak (witness his concert film, You So Crazy), but he tones it down to PG-13 for this by-the-book action comedy. Lawrence stars as Logan, a bank robber and jewel thief (nice role model we're supposed to cheer for) who, just before he is arrested, manages to stash the $20 million diamond he has just heisted at a construction site. When he is released from prison two years later, he returns to the scene of the crime only to find that the completed building houses a police station. To get inside and retrieve the precious gem he secures a fake ID and passes himself off as LAPD's newest, and most unorthodox, detective. As he demonstrated on his TV series, Lawrence has a knack for characterization second to Eddie Murphy. But he's no Beverly Hills Cop. Indulgent sequences where Martin has seemingly been given free reign to ad-lib are the film's weakest. Early on, Logan cases the police station outlandishly disguised as a snaggle-toothed, Geri-curled pizza deliveryman. You'd think the last thing his character would want to do is call attention to himself. Lawrence is at his best in the scenes in which, thanks to all those years of breaking and entering, his formerly lawless character proves to be a natural at cracking burglary cases. Logan is paired with the requisite white partner, Carlson (Luke Wilson), a buttoned-up rookie. Departing from the Lethal Weapon, buddy-movie playbook, they are not antagonists; theirs is more a teacher-mentor relationship. "Don't we need a warrant to do that?" Carlson asks Logan at one point. "We don't even need a key," Logan responds, picking a lock. There is little in Blue that is remotely fresh, but Lawrence fans, who watched him play it straight opposite Murphy in Life, will relish the opportunity to see him get down with his bad self. --Donald Liebenson

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