A loyal and dedicated Hong Kong inspector teams up with a reckless and loudmouthed LAPD detective to rescue the Chinese Consul's kidnapped daughter, while trying to arrest a dangerous crime lord along the way.
In order to foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a facial transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a terrorist, but the plan turns from bad to worse when the same terrorist impersonates the FBI agent.
Marcus Burnett is a hen-pecked family man. Mike Lowry is a foot-loose and fancy free ladies' man. Both are Miami policemen, and both have 72 hours to reclaim a consignment of drugs stolen from under their station's nose. To complicate matters, in order to get the assistance of the sole witness to a murder, they have to pretend to be each other. Written by
James Hastie <email@example.com>
Michael Bay screened the opening scene for his mother, Harriet, who was concerned about how much profanity the central duo used. To make his mom happy, Bay reedited the scene to omit a handful of the expletives. See more »
In the first murder crime scene, Mike and Marcus touch things with no regard for fingerprints and integrity of evidence. See more »
You know I'm a better cop when I get some in the morning, I feel lighter on my feet.
See more »
It's definitely something to see when watching a film that kick-started a lot of Hollywood's contemporary stars. Although Will Smith was already a popular sensation with his hit TV series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996), this would be Smith's first entry into the action genre of films, thus having to never turn back after that. Martin Lawrence was pretty much in the same seat except that he didn't have as much notoriety as Smith. However, this film would too have Lawrence jump into the action film typecast role. Then there's the biggest realization of all. Other than directing a number of music videos, this would end up being the first film helmed by action director Michael Bay. It's interesting that there wasn't even a transition for this man. Straight from music to action blockbusters. Not even a TV movie before this, he must have had some connections.
The plot follows a drug heist headed by mastermind Fouchet (Tchéky Karyo) where two cops who grew up together through childhood, Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) only have a couple days to figure out where the deal to sell the drugs is going down. The only way these two can get the information is by protecting eyewitness Julie Mott (Téa Leoni), who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. For three writers consisting of Michael Barrie, Jim Mulholland (who both wrote for comedy sketch shows for Dave Letterman) and Doug Richardson (Die Hard 2 (1990)), the script actually has nothing that stands out as something without good quality. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have energetic chemistry and work off each other well. Both also properly emote at the right times and give the right amount of clues to the audience on how each one grew up compared to each other. Will Smith is the smooth, calm and collected one. Even when he's mad, he's still calm. Martin Lawrence plays the opposite; a hyper, loud and rambunctious married man.
Plus, there's a slew of other casting choices that make each scene worthwhile. Theresa Randle (a popular actress during this decade) plays Marcus' wife named Theresa (oddly enough). Joe Pantoliano plays Mike and Marcus' captain on the force that definitely acts like one. And then there's Nestor Serrano and Julio Oscar Mechoso who play another pair of cops who work along side Mike and Marcus. The only actor who isn't interesting in their role is Tchéky Karyo as Fouchet. Aside from trying to get his plan into action without being caught and speaking with his foreign accent, there's not much to say about his performance. Sure, Karyo is an unfeeling man with no conscious but much of his scenes don't involve him interacting directly with the main leads for the majority of the time. It just feels like there's a disconnect. Other than that, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have some very comical exchanges. Plus, with the film having an R rating, they both can really unleash their thoughts uncensored.
Téa Leoni as Julie also adds some inventive scenes that aren't usually exploited in the buddy cop genre films. Although this film is in that vein, it doesn't feel so much like that here. Does the Julie character act with courage - yeah but does she do it because it's needed - no. It's always good to have a headstrong female character but here, Julie is just there to get Marcus and Mike hot headed. Then there's the action and special effects to this film. From what it looks like, this movie looked like it used no CGI, just practical effects. The action is also abundant as well with plenty of fistfights, shootouts and an occasional explosions. Which again, are all real looking. It's funny to see a movie directed by Michael Bay and see a movie done completely with practical effects and infrequent explosions. It just doesn't feel like the same guy everyone knows of today.
However, the cinematography shot by Howard Atherton (best known for Fatal Attraction (1987)) isn't anything to cheer about. There are some camera shots that capture the Miami setting, but much of it is closed quarters. Whether it be in someone's home or warehouse, the angles from inside just don't suffice. There are a number of slow-motion shots (most likely due to Bay's request) that look good but again don't always stand out. Finally the music was an enjoyable listening experience. Composing the film score was Mark Mancina who had his first successful music release with Speed (1994) and then Fair Game (1995). Here, Mancina thankfully has a main theme for the franchise using guitar and what sounds like islander type drums. Considering the setting and who is starring in the film, it sounds appropriate. The action cues, which sound familiar to that of Trevor Rabin (but not entirely synthetic), are also lively enough to match the sequences that are displayed on screen. It's at those points; more percussion is used along with strings and horns. It is certainly effective. It's a fun watch.
The plot's main villain isn't well defined and the cinematography is rather plain looking but the rest is wholesomely entertaining. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have peppy chemistry along with a number of other cast members. The catchy music and action sequences coalesce nicely too.
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