National Security (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/03/2003

One out of Five stars
Running time: 88 mins

Atrocious film that provides yet more evidence (as if we needed it) that Martin Lawrence is The World’s Unfunniest Man – you know you’re in trouble when even the trailer isn’t funny.

Just what the world needs - another Martin Lawrence comedy. Have you ever met a Martin Lawrence fan? Has anyone ever said “Hey, I can’t wait for Martin Lawrence’s new film – he’s soooo funny”? No, of course they haven’t. Because his films aren’t funny and neither is he. In fact, the sooner the words ‘Straight to Video’ become intimately acquainted with Martin Lawrence’s career, the better.

And This Is Funny?

This time round (and please, try to contain yourselves), he’s a cocky, annoying know-it-all who gets slung out of Police Training School for being cocky, annoying and over-zealous. Shortly afterwards he gets stopped by a cop (Steve Zahn) and ends up getting Zahn suspended from the force by falsely accusing him of giving him a Rodney King-style beating. (Stop, stop, my sides, etc.)

A few months later, Zahn and Lawrence meet again and are forced to team up to stop Eric Roberts’ evil gang of warehouse thieves. Or something. There’s a lot of shouting and some very loud gunfire. And the only bit that is remotely funny is when Lawrence gets punched in the face. There’s a moment later on, when he is supposedly beaten up by Zahn’s black girlfriend, but tragically, we are denied the pleasure of seeing it.

Martin Lawrence has proven that he can be a passable comedy support when teamed with the likes of Will Smith (Bad Boys, a sequel to which is imminent) or Eddie Murphy (Life). True, he’s a marginally better actor than, say, Chris Rock, but at least Rock is funny. Fair enough, his voice is less irritating than Chris Tucker’s. But really, that’s the best you can say about him – on his own he just isn’t funny. You want more proof? His Comedy Catchphrase is “What the problem is?”

Some People Deserve Better

It’s a shame, because Steve Zahn is a gifted comic actor and he deserves better than this rubbish. It’s also the sort of film where you’re not sure whether you’re meant to laugh with Lawrence or at him – for example when he says he’s against mixed-race relationships, but only when the man is white.

In fact, there are a number of similarly uncomfortable scenes, such as when Lawrence leaves his semi-dressed girlfriend hanging from the ceiling by a pair of handcuffs in the just-robbed warehouse. They leave her there for the whole film. Is this funny? Someone obviously thought so.

Basically, National Security is no 48 Hours. It isn’t even Police Academy VIII. It has maybe one actual laugh, depending on how funny you think Lawrence getting punched in the face is. In short, you should avoid this like your life depended on it.

Film Trailer

National Security (12A)
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Content updated: 19/10/2017 13:27

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