January 2003
National Security

Reviewed by Niija Kuykendall

National Security

Distibutor: Columbia Pictures
Director: Dennis Dugan
Screenwriter: Jay Scherick, David Ronn
Producers: Bobby Newmyer, Jeff Silver, Michael Green

Director of Photography:

Oliver Wood
Cast: Martin Lawrence, Steve Zahn, Colm Feore, Bill Duke, Eric Roberts, Robinne Lee, & Timothy Busfield


In National Security, Martin Lawrence is Earl Montgomery, a police academy reject with comedic violent tendencies and the stereotypical Black man’s Me-Against-The Man angst. After getting kicked out of the LAPD academy because of some hilarious over-eagerness and rebellion, Earl joins the National Security agency as a warehouse security guard. Steve Zahn is Hank Rafferty, a moral by the book LAPD officer who wants nothing more than to catch the bad guys who killed his partner. After Earl gets Steve ousted from the force on a trumped up racial profiling charge, the two are unwillingly thrown together as security guards for National Security, chasing a dangerous smuggling team led by a bleached Eric Roberts.

After Martin Lawrence’s recent string of floppy, slapstick silliness, my expectations weren’t too high but I must admit the first twenty minutes of the comedy/action pleasantly drew some chuckles after a long hard day. Unfortunately the film-going experience went downhill from there with the white man vs. black man jokes quickly growing old and the plot weighed down with random shoot-outs and blowups. I was really trying my best not to be a complete hater but using the race card as the foundation for repetitive jokes was not really my thing.

Steve Zahn Is actually very funny and great at not overplaying his role, especially compared to Lawrence who got to be a bit overzealous with the silly action factor. It was cool to see Bill Duke make an appearance as a LAPD police captain and join in on the fun. Although the whole production seems to be the same joke told a thousand different ways, the film is good for a couple of hee-haws at the very least.



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