Volume 90, Issue 65

Tuesday, January 21, 1997



Is Murphy where the action is?

Eddie Murphy

Starring Eddie Murphy and Michael Rapaport
Directed by Thomas Carter
At Famous Players 6, 7 and 9:40 p.m.

Steve McQueen, meet Eddie Murphy.

Simply put, Metro, is high-priced Hollywood action formula and features a kinder, ungentler role for Murphy. There's no humour, no white jokes and lots of gunplay, chase scenes and heroes. Unfortunately, Axel Foley fails to make an appearance.

Shedding his image as the Beverly Hills Cop (a smart move after the atrocious Beverly Hills Cop III), Murphy asserts himself as Scott Roper, a more straightforward and typical cop than we're used to seeing from him – the love of his life is out of reach, his best friend is killed and the chief wants him off the case. And to top everything off, he has to train McCall (Michael Rapaport of Beautiful Girls) to be his successor.

His villain takes things personally and there is the setting for everything to come together happily in the end.

Anyone who calls Metro a comedy is failing to see that Murphy's presence alone is not cause for laughter. His familiar attitude is replaced by the need for a hero, the typical Hollywood hero who's seen too much to let anyone into his life. In other words, there's a lot more soul-searching than gags.

Disappointing is the standard form of the film. The script focuses on the same action flick motifs that have been done a hundred times before. A daring trolley ride down the hills of San Francisco is a dazzling little action scene, but it is a carbon copy of Speed, except the ride's a little bit shorter. It is, however, just as unrealistic as the speeding bus that Keanu Reaves and Sandra Bullock turned into fleeting fame.

Is Murphy a legitimate action hero in a day when Arnold Schwarzeneggar is slumping and Sylvester Stallone has become less prolific? Well, movie studios must figure that if the action scenes are fat enough, anybody can save lives and arrest criminals. After all, guns don't kill people, people kill people.

A scrawny, witty dude with a gun and a handsome smile might be intimidating to some, but the comedic appeal of films past has exited Murphy's repertoire. The Nutty Professor seemed to be a step back in the right direction for him, but Metro indicates he's got something to prove. Can he act like Bruce Willis? Well. . . OK, he pulls it off, but who cares? Axel Foley's approach to policing will always be more entertaining.

The truth is Murphy has some real competition in the action/comedy field. Jackie Chan's First Strike beats out Metro not only for its creative action shots but because of Chan's dry humour. The problem is that Murphy is no longer playing himself. He was the golden child and he was Axel, but he will never convince anyone he is the best hostage negotiator in San Francisco. Take a cue from Chan, Eddie – just be yourself again.

No point acting like Steve McQueen when you can be Eddie Murphy.

–Dan Gladman

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca