He’s a cop who’s not.
“He’s a cop who’s not”? Sounds like one of the hokey movie pitches in The Player. Cheesiness aside, Blue Streak is lighthearted, lightweight comedy, and is great for a few laughs.
Strike one: it has a lame premise. Strike two: can a stand-up and sitcom star carry a whole movie? Strike three: it was directed by Les Mayfield, the auteur liable for cinematic classics such as Encino Man and Flubber. Three strikes you’re out, right? Nah, not quite. Blue Streak rises above its “faults” and is a pretty enjoyable movie.
Miles Logan is a jewel thief. Something goes wrong during a burglary, and while he is fleeing from the police, he hides his loot in a construction site. He is apprehended minutes later, and spends two years in prison. He returns to the location of the construction site…only to find it’s now a police station. To gain entrance into the station, he poses as a cop. Naturally, he is mistaken for a real detective, and he has to keep up the masquerade until he can recover the loot.
I can’t say I’m a big fan of Martin Lawrence, but I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the two other movies I’ve seen him in: Bad Boys and Nothing To Lose. In both movies, Lawrence was teamed with a strong, charismatic actor (Will Smith and Tim Robbins, respectively) and wasn’t responsible for carrying an entire movie. If you think I’m going to say he can’t…well, you’re wrong. As Miles Logan, he’s believable and likeable. He doesn’t seem like a bad man, just one who chose a shortcut in life and will now do whatever it takes to recover what he thinks is rightfully his. He uses his street smarts and background as a criminal to fool the police into thinking he’s a good cop. The ruse works too well, and unfortunately for him he can’t escape from the cop persona.
Other cast members include Luke Wilson (Home Fries, Rushmore) as the real detective Miles is partnered with. Wilson perhaps takes his role as the straight man a bit too seriously, and comes across as wooden (but certainly less so than, say, Kevin Costner). Still, he’s a nice foil for Lawrence’s shtick. David Chappelle (Robin Hood: Men In Tights, Con Air) plays Miles’ crime partner Tulley. The two share several funny scenes, the best of which takes place in a convenience store. Miles (still posing as a cop) saunters in just before Tulley sticks up the register. Miles wants to help his friend avoid the authorities while still posing as one of the authorities. Their interaction is hilarious. Other recognizable faces include William Forsythe (Raising Arizona, The Rock) as a by-the-book detective, Graham Beckel (L.A. Confidential) as Miles’ “boss,” and Peter Greene (Pulp Fiction, The Usual Suspects) as the treacherous member of Miles’ robbery team.
I almost grow tired of saying nice things about Columbia releases, but they are one of the most consistent studios. The movie is presented both in 1.85:1 anamorphic and full-frame, selectable from the main menu. The transfer is clean and free of dirt and scratches (and I would expect nothing less of a movie released in 1999). The black level is appropriately dark without loss of shadow detail. The movie overall has a subdued palette that is rendered naturally — nothing flashy or Miami Vice-ish about it. (In fact, for a movie that supposedly takes place in Los Angeles, there sure are a lot of overcast skies.) The Dolby Digital track uses the surround channels extensively and naturally. The subwoofer channel gets frequent workouts, especially by the predominantly hip-hop soundtrack. I’m fonder of punk and electronic music, but the chosen soundtrack matches the urban tone of the movie and the, err, ethnicity of the star.
Extras are plentiful. Two behind-the-scenes documentaries are included that total around 50 minutes of runtime. The first, entitled “Setting Up For The Score,” is a detailed look at the creative process. The other was produced for HBO, and has more of a promotional flair. Three music videos by artists on the soundtrack (Jay-Z, Tyrese, and So Plush) are included. Each is full-frame and sports a stereo soundtrack. Theatrical trailers for Blue Streak and Bad Boys are provided, unfortunately both in full-frame. And lastly, the typically sketchy talent files. In all, a nice set of extras that sweetens the package.
The Peter Greene subplot adds a redundant twist to the movie. If Miles is already having trouble locating and recovering the loot, why does he need to have a greedy, murderous partner who is ready to snatch it away? I like Peter Greene — who could forget him as the hillbilly rapist Zed in Pulp Fiction? — but his character just doesn’t add anything to the story.
I’m just looking for ways to be a cranky critic. It’s a fun popcorn flick and a good disc. The movie exceeded my expectations, and I appreciate that. It’s like ordering a Big Mac and finding prime rib in your drive-thru bag.
For a list price of $24.95, Blue Streak is a good deal for fans of comedy, action, or Martin Lawrence. If you’re not willing to cough up the dough, it would make a great rental.
It should be noted that the case lists production notes among the special features. I was not able to find these on the disc.