Review: “National Security”

A truly inane and flat action comedy, “National Security” joins “What’s The Worse that Could Happen” and “Black Knight” as yet another piss stain on Martin Lawrence’s career. ‘Security’ has the weak acting, poorly timed comic setups, car chases and awful scripting you’d expect of a late Summer dull actioneer but on a much smaller budget.

Rather than trying to think creatively and write a better quality end product, the filmmakers have instead stuck to their guns and produced a film which even Michael Dudikoff would turn down. Sure every now and then the action does get, for a brief second or two, interesting. For the most part however there’s not enough of it, and certainly not enough laughs. Pretty much every attempt at comedy, from a running bee sting gag to a naughty game of ‘bad cop’, just utterly fails which is a real shock considering the talent.

Lawrence does his usual schtick but as his other films demonstrate it really depends a whole lot upon whom he’s playing off. I mean why do people keep hiring this guy? “Bad Boys” was fun sure, and “Big Momma’s House” had its moments but was it worth sitting through “Nothing to Lose”, “Life”, “Blue Streak” and the other aforementioned two dogs to find those not exactly gems?

Steve Zahn has a better track record to be sure but here he’s playing it totally straight (albeit with a moustache that would belong best in an 80’s leather bar) which never really quite clicks. The pairs mismatched style also never really takes off even though they hate each other which is at least something different for a buddy picture. The less said about a bleached white Eric Roberts and disappointing turns from greats like Colm Feore and Bill Duke the better.

To compensate for the inept storytelling and misfired performances there’s a lot of things blowing up and admittedly Director Dennis Dugan seems to have developed somewhat of a penchant for that trick, including a sequence which ends in a port-a-loo crash that is the sole giggle in the film.

The pacing, especially in the second half does pick up a bit which makes the viewer forget the slower and dumber opening scenes but the smell of cheese lingers throughout. Die hard fans of Lawrence will eat this up as a precursor for the “Bad Boys” sequel later this year, but makeno mistake about it – even though that was directed by Michael Bay it at least had in abundance the two things that this film sorely lacks – action and comedy.