Metro - * *

Metro delivers heaping spoonfuls of bland action fare. Eddie Murphy is a hostage negotiator with the San Francisco police department. He’s trying to get back together with his old girfriend (Carmen Ejogo), he’s training a new partner (Michael Rapaport), and trying to catch a murderous thief (Michael Wincott). But the movie pays little attention to these or any plot detail for that matter. The secondary characters seem to be little more than props. It’s as if they exist only because the filmmakers knew these were plots/characters/situations found in standard cop/action films. What they concentrate on is Eddie Murphy, who seems to be playing a muted version of Axel Foley (from the Beverly Hills Cop films). The action scenes vary in quality. Early on, there’s an exciting chase through the streets of San Francisco. But other scenes falter, including the non-explosive finale. Murphy’s nemesis, Michael Wincott, doesn’t come across as a truly compelling villain. The screenplay deserves a bit of credit for its cliche breaking attitudes, though it tends to be a bit obvious (okay…let’s set up a cliche…hold the tension…then break it!) If the same attention had been paid to character development, plot, or dialogue…Metro could have risen above the level of what it is, a mediocre action film.

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