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National Security (12A)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Director's commentary; Deleted scenes; Alternate ending. Music video 'N.S.E.W.' by Disturbing The Peace; Theatrical trailer.

MARTIN Lawrence is an actor in need of a good sequel - perhaps Bad Boys 2 will do the trick.

Ever since appearing alongside Will Smith in the 1995 original, Lawrence has been churning out pale, unfunny comedies that strive to recapture the winning persona he displayed in that double act.

Hence, we have since had the likes of What’s The Worst That Could Happen?, Black Knight, and Blue Streak (which is also to get a sequel) to endure and, now, the truly abysmal National Security.

Co-starring Steve Zahn (a comedy actor I have previously admired), the film is a pathetic attempt to tackle the issue of racism with laughter, but feels so laboured and misjudged throughout, that audiences are likely to feel more insulted than inspired when (or if) they emerge from cinemas.

Lawrence stars as aspiring cop, Earl, who gets thrown out of the police academy for being too confrontational and takes a job as a security guard.

He is then stopped by honest white cop, Hank (Zahn), a man struggling to come to terms with the murder of his partner, and takes issue with his approach, falsely accusing Hank of assaulting him, Rodney King-style, during a somewhat humorous incident with a bee.

Hank subsequently loses his badge, his girlfriend and is sent to prison, emerging some time later still bearing a grudge and forced to take a job with (you’ve guessed it), the same security firm as Earl, eventually teaming up with him as they search for his partner’s killers.

The rest of the film chronicles the begrudging respect that develops between the two as they stumble from one gunfight to the next, throwing in racial commentary at every opportunity without ever really making it appear funny or relevant.

In fact, in an ironic twist on a familiar theme, writers Jay Scherick and David Ronn attempt to make Earl appear the more racist of the two, as he takes exception to everything race-related, including inter-racial relationships (Hank’s ex-girlfriend is, of course, black).

Lawrence, though, has neither the charisma, nor the talent, to back it up and looks desperate in his attempt to generate laughs, while Zahn (sporting one of the worst haircuts in recent screen memory) merely looks like he has stumbled onto the wrong set and is, quite literally, living a nightmare.

The action scenes, also, feel half-baked and unexciting, making this a truly miserable experience for anyone who dares to see it. A surefire contender for one of the worst movies of the year, one can only pray that Bad Boys 2 will provide some form of redemption.

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