Blue Streak

* * 1/2*

Blue Streak is the merging of two movie staples: the buddy cop movie and the mistaken identity farce. A showcase for Martin Lawrence, the movie wisely keeps him under control. He's allowed to be humorous and edgy without going over the top. The end result is a likeable, if lightweight, cops-and-robbers comedy.

Miles Logan (Martin Lawrence) is a master thief who has discovered the heist of a lifetime: a giant diamond which will make him (and his partners) a millionaire. But, he soon discovers there is no honor among theives, and a greedy squabble lands him in jail. However, before he is caught by the cops, Miles stashes the diamond in the ventilation shaft of a construction site, vowing to return once he is freed.

Flash forward two years. Miles is a happy, happy man. Recently released from the slammer, all he has to do is retrieve his rock, and retire a millionaire. His hopes are dashed, however, when he discovers the building where the loot is hidden is now a police station.

But that little obstacle won't stop Miles. He pretends to be a police detective, but soon discovers himself swept along into actual police work. Teamed with a green rookie, Detective Carlson (Luke Wilson), Miles is unwillingly sent out to fight crime (against the very criminals who know him). Will his street smarts give him an edge, or be the telltale sign that lands him back in the slammer?

Blue Streak is a Martin Lawrence comedy, to be sure, but at least it's a funny Martin Lawrence comedy. He's likeable, energetic, and on the edge. However, the comedy stretches pretty thin at one point, where Lawrence impersonates a wacky pizza delivery guy. It's a goofy sequence that interrupts the flow of the movie, and doesn't deliver enough laughts to compensate.

Lawrence's character is a thief, yes, it's true. But, he's a nice thief, and even though he's stolen a multimillion dollar diamond, we come to feel that it truly was his all along. It does seem strange, however, that no one seemingly owns the diamond before it is stolen...and no one, besides the thieves, seem at all interested in recovering the valuable gem.

One note that rings sour in Blue Streak is Peter Greene's villain, Deacon. He's too serious a bad guy for such a lightweight comedy. His scenes are serious in tone, and the movie has to pause each time he appears. Perhaps an actor with a lighter touch than Greene wouldn't have clashed with the rest of the movie.

But the film is still an enjoyable diversion. It's certainly no Lethal Weapon or Beverly Hills Cop, but Blue streak has its charms. (Columbia)


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