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Movie Review

Blue Streak

Blue Streak
Martin Lawrence in "Blue Streak"

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Rated PG-13 for violence, language and adult humor. 1 hour, 35 minutes.
Publication date: Sep. 17, 1999
Review by Jennifer Deitz
Released: (1999)

Close in on the witty renegade Miles Logan (Martin Lawrence) and his three pals staging a daring heist of a $1.7 million diamond. Police helicopters circling overhead, Miles is hunched over in an air conditioning shaft when he devises an ingenious plan: He'll whip out the duct tape every good thief has handy and stick the stolen diamond right onto the wall of the vent. A few more steps drops Miles out of the vent, onto the floor and face to face with a handful of armed and ready police officers. Lucky for him, the vent is clearly labeled in red paint--AC Vent, 3rd Floor, 4th Wing--making for an easy return.

Flash forward two years. Miles is released from jail. Miles now discovers the building where he hid the diamond has become home to L.A.P.D.'s 37th Precinct. After a clever disguise involving bad teeth and a bad sweatsuit fails to gain him entry, Miles works up a fake resume and police badge. Fortunately, due to the severe shortage of qualified burglary detectives in the Los Angeles area, no one bothers to run a background check, and by the time they do, Miles has an answer ready.

If you're feeling nostalgic for seventh-grade humor and all those crazy action and comedy cliches that worked so well for Ferris Bueller and a certain Beverly Hills cop, this may be the film for you. Screenwriters Michael Berry, John Blumenthal and Steve Carpenter make sure the story takes off running and never slows down. Count on a foot chase over fences, into backyards and past at least one undressed and screaming woman. Director Les Mayfield ("Flubber," "Encino Man") makes sure you get the slow-motion shots--front and then back--of the underside of Miles' cop car catching air off the top of a hill. You also get plenty of guns and sirens, Miles hanging precariously from the side of a speeding truck, and even a botched attempt to slide along a rope between the tops of buildings that ends with a body smacking into a concrete wall.

Character development isn't a high point. The cops, FBI agents and criminals surrounding Miles tend to be dense. Carson (Luke Wilson), Miles' partner on the force, is straight-laced, naive and a very slow driver. But, you guessed it, after a little time with Miles, Carson starts getting more hip.

Nonetheless, Martin Lawrence can be funny and even endearing when he lets us see Miles as a guy who's in a little bit over his head. There's a fairly cute scene in a cramped elevator where Miles not so subtly tries to learn "cop moves" from a tough-looking officer next to him. More often, though, Miles is slamming criminals (and friends) up against walls and flattening their faces against windows.