Martin Lawrence in Blue Streak (1999)

Los Angeles Cop

What is your opinion of Martin Lawrence? My opinion is that he has always been in the shadow of Eddie Murphy, doing movies which have unfortunately caused people to compare. That is the case of "Beverly Hills Cop" because whilst it has an amusing idea of a criminal masquerading as a cop the humour and situations are not that different to "Beverly Hills Cop". There is nothing wrong with that as "Blue Streak" is a solid cop comedy but it isn't anything special, a good vehicle for Martin Lawrence's talents but not groundbreaking in anyway.

When a bank job he is part of gets interrupted by cops Miles Logan (Martin Lawrence - Life) stashes the diamond he has stolen in the air-conditioning of a building under construction. After then doing two years Miles is shocked to discover the under construction building is now a police station. Determined to get the diamond back he decides to masquerade as a cop believing he will be in and out within half an hour except he gets partnered up with Carlson (Luke Wilson - Rushmore) who slowly becomes suspicious of his new partner whilst Miles tries to scour the building for his stashed diamond.

William Forsythe and Luke Wilson in Blue Streak (1999)

As an idea "Blue Streak" is quite good from the initial set up of Miles discovering the diamond is now hidden in a police station to various complications when he ends up arresting a criminal buddy of his and has to keep him from saying who he really is. And there is plenty more as Miles gets more and more involved in the job, reluctantly and unaware that a double crossing criminal called Deacon is on to him. It may end up using some familiar cliches such as unlikely buddies who bond but the basic idea is good.

But here is where I have a problem and it is a problem I have had with many of Martin Lawrence's movies because the comedy often ends up too similar to that of Eddie Murphy. It is just one of those things because Lawrence's style of comedy is similar and for anyone who grew up on Eddie Murphy movies during the 80s will always see him as being similar. And unfortunately when Lawrence does something different such as the scene where he masquerades as a pizza delivery guy with bad teeth it ends up too daft, too much of a set piece for a silly character and an even sillier series of dance moves. It is what lets the movie down, these little set piece gags which are thrown in as a funny scene but in truth have no place being there.

What is for sure is that "Blue Steel" is a movie which is a vehicle for Martin Lawrence and unsurprisingly he dominates pretty much every scene. But Lawrence is partnered up by the entertaining Luke Wilson who as Carlson reminds me of Judge Reinhold's performance in "Beverly Hill Cop" with him being a bit naive and overly innocent. In fact you also have William Forsythe who as Detective Hardcastle is not too dissimilar to John Ashton as Det. Taggart. That is part of the problem because the characters are too comparable to Eddie Murphy's "Beverly Hills Cop".

What this all boils down to is that "Blue Streak" is an entertaining movie with a good idea and a nice showcase for Martin Lawrence's style of comedy. But if you grew up on Eddie Murphy in the 80s you will end up finding it all a little too similar.