Blue Streak (1999)

Director: Les Mayfield

Writer: Michael Berry, John Blumenthal, Stephen Carpenter (Screenplay)

Starring: Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson, Peter Greene, Dave Chappelle, Nicole Ari Parker, Graham Beckel

 

Plot: A former convict poses as a cop to retrieve a diamond he stole years ago.


Tagline – To cop the loot – he became one!

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Comedy

 

Story: Blue Streak starts when Miles (Lawrence) is committing a robbery when it goes wrong when his crew member Deacon (Greene) turns on the team, Miles stashes the diamond and ends up in prison for a couple of years. Once released he goes to pick up his diamonds only to learn the building has been turned into police station.

Miles decides to go undercover as a police officer and assigned rookie detective Carlson (Wilson) as he tries to blend in retrieve his diamond and get out quickly only to prove himself as a good cop that helps with major crimes.

 

Thoughts on Blue Streak

 

Characters – Miles Logan is a career thief that’s latest job goes wrong, when his crew turned on him, he stashes his loot. Once released Miles thinks he can just walk bac into the building and pick up his diamond, only to learn it is now a police station, he tries to go undercover as a pizza delivery guy before deciding police officer is the way to go. He turns out to be a great police officer helping with many cases which increase in nature including trying to take down a big drug lord. Carlson is the rookie detective struggling with his new role in the department, he gets assigned as the partner to Miles who teaches him how to take more chances when trying to solve crimes. Deacon is the one that turned on Miles and has waited for him to get out of jail to take what he thinks is his, the diamond and isn’t afraid to kill the people behind it anymore. Tulley is the idiot crew member who is used more for driving and has resorted to small time robbery after Miles ended up in jail.

PerformancesMartin Lawrence is good in this leading role, sure his career didn’t go in the same direction Will Smith did, but he still had the ability to lead the right role in the film. Luke Wilson is good, though his character is slightly basic when it comes to having too much to do. Most of the support performances focus on the actors reacting to what Lawrence gets up to.

StoryThe story follows a thief wanting to collect his stash after being released from prison, only to learn the building he put it in is now a police station, forcing him to go undercover to retrieve it. The story works for crime comedy genre because it puts our character in a position like the fish out of water and shows that criminals are better at catching thieves than the police as we see how he accidentally rises up the ranks through his time undercover. If we could have had more about the crew member turned bad during the search it would have added a little something more to the film as we spend nearly the whole film focusing on Miles journey to get his diamond back.

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is mostly saved for the final chase to Mexico which is simple enough action to watch. The comedy comes from how Miles seems to solve the crimes the cops couldn’t and we also get plenty of laughs from Tulley being the dumb criminal partner. The crime side of the film includes the opening robbery and how Miles helps solves different crimes along the way.

SettingsThe film is set in LA, though nothing is used to make it clear it is in that city, the idea of the settings play more into the idea that the diamond was hidden in a police station.


Scene of the Movie –
Working with the FBI.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not using the villainous crew member enough through the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable 90s action crime comedy, you can have a lot of fun watching this one without needing to take it too seriously.

 

Overall: Simple, Fun and Enjoyable.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – T – Traffic (2000)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Stephen Gaghan (Screenplay) Simon Moore (Miniseries)

Starring: Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta-Jones

 

Plot: A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America’s escalating war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a crack addict. Two DEA agents protect an informant. A jailed drug baron’s wife attempts to carry on the family business.


Tagline – It’s a dirty, dirty war! And no one comes away clean

Runtime: 2 Hours 27 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burning Crime Thriller

 

Story: Traffic starts by following two Mexican Cops Javier Rodriguez (Del Toro) and Manolo Sanchez (Vargas) who aren’t part of the drug trafficking side of the business, though they must turn a blind eye. America is trying to clean up the drug war by hiring judge Robert Wakefield (Douglas) to take the battle to them, while DEA agents Ray Castro (Guzman) and Montel Gordon (Cheadle) are dealing with an informant. As a drug lord is taken away his wife Helena (Zeta-Jones) must deal with the consequences of her husband’s actions.

With the four sides needing to think of their futures, Javier makes a desperate decision, Robert needing to deal with his own personal problems including his daughter crack addiction, Montel wanting to be on the front line without losing more people and Helena wanting to continue her husband’s business either after being watched by the authority.

 

Thoughts on Traffic

 

Characters – Javier Rodriguez has been working on the Mexican side of the drug battle, one of the good cops that gets pressed into making a big decision which could affect his partner and his own family. Robert Wakefield is being lined up to lead the battle on the drugs from the American side of the war, his promotion is huge for his career, but his own teenage daughter has become a drug addict spiralling out of control, leaving him in the position of needing to win the war or save his family. Montel Gordon is the DEA agent that has been on the ground trying to get to the truth about who is behind the drug deals going on. Helena is the wife of the drug lord who wants to keep the business alive even after her husband is taken to jail, knowing her kids will need the money for their own futures.

PerformancesThe performances in the film are good through the film, while most of the big character barely ever connect with each other, the separate performances from Bel Toro, Douglas, Zeta-Jones and Cheadle are all strong for the film.

StoryThe story here follows separate stories involved in the drug war going on between Mexican and American sides of war as see the people on the ground, the people in political officers and the dealer’s family. We do jump between the stories a lot which can make it hard to keep up with everything because the jump between them and lack of connection can be disconnecting for the audience. It does give us an insight to the drug war that is on going between the countries and how the people can be drawn to extremes to get their own fixes. The cops will be pushed too far without having any power when it comes to taking down the criminals without crossing the lines. With plenty of questions being asked it would have been nice to have more answered.

CrimeThe crime world we are thrown into shows us just how the criminal world of drugs operates be it with the deals, the legal system or the users and how the problem is looking to be solved.

SettingsThe film does take us to many different locations as we get to see how everything operates, we see the Mexican dealer’s life of luxury home, to the political offices taking on the war to the dens where the users get attracted too.


Scene of the Movie –
Seth is being excused today.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Too many stories going on.

Final ThoughtsThis is a strong look at the drug war, it does have too many stories going on at once which can drag you down because each character feels like they are meant to be important in their own way.

 

Overall: Over saturated movie

Rating