Volume 93, Issue 14
Wednesday, September 22, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Blue Streak gives reason to curse aloud
Photo by Nicola Goode
DOES THIS VELOUR PANTSUIT MAKE ME LOOK FAT? Martin Lawrence brings disguises, an attitude and not much else to his cop comedy,Blue Streak.
Starring: Martin Lawrence and Luke Wilson
Director: Les Mayfield
By Chad Finkelstein
It's difficult to imagine the first production meeting. All the suits of a major motion picture company sitting around a table, listening to an obviously desperate film-maker pitch his potential blockbuster.
"Listen to this," he may have said. "A jewel thief is double crossed mid-heist and gets arrested. Before doing so, he hides the $20 million gem in a construction site in the hopes of retrieving it upon his liberation.
"Two years later, he finally re-enters the real world and lo and behold, this once faceless location is now a brand new police department. To justify his two years in prison, the ex-convict imitates a cop so he can get inside and infiltrate the building. Once there, he can retrieve his lost treasure and leave as a millionaire."
The creator pauses for effect before springing the twist on them. "Unfortunately, he plays the part of a detective all too well and is promoted instantly to head up the robbery and homicide division. Naturally, hijinks ensue. Oh yeah, it's called Blue Streak and it stars Martin Lawrence."
The studio programmers inch forward with united excitement, as the director further reveals his proposition. They most likely know they are about to sell their souls, once again, to the demons of cinematic conformity.
Blue Streak is a generally unfunny and nonsensical movie with little to offer in terms of entertainment value. It is blatantly incoherent, almost as if the director filmed all of the scenes, threw them into a blender and offered up this concoction as a result.
The notion of character development is abandoned, as the characters continuously change their personas and motives from one scene to the next.
The movie proceeds to display inconsistency and unliklihood in its portrayal of life. For instance, nobody ever questions Miles' (Lawerence) fake identity, so it is never explained how he winds up on the precinct's payroll. Anytime a hint of realism is about to be addressed, an illogical explosion or useless confrontation is thrown in.
One clever scene is included, however, when Miles works his first case and playfully utilizes unique crime-solving skills, honed by his own burglary prowess. The scene provides only a momentary jolt of entertainment. The other conflicts Miles is assigned to involve standard chase scenes and the obligatory FBI versus the police department stand off.
Next, they do what every other cop/buddy movie has done since the advent of celluloid. The hero is paired with a clueless rookie who desperately needs the help of a "veteran" like Miles. This role is filled by Luke Wilson (Home Fries) who is adequate enough as an actor, despite his facial features being much smaller than the rest of his head. However, he's just mediocre enough not to steal the show.
Along with Wilson, the other supporting players are equally, if not even more, useless. In fact, their cardboard deliveries and bewildering naivete reduce them simply to redundant, melodramatic eyebrow twitches.
After his seemingly wretched proposal, the director may have concluded, "throw in a few more cliches and a handful of unrealistic plot developments and you've got yourself a ticket seller!"
Who knows, maybe it did sound good in theory. After seeing Blue Streak in practice, however, one wonders how this stuff gets made.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999