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National Security
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Reviews & Ratings for
National Security More at IMDbPro »

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35 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

It's lighthearted, fun and goofy --- I like it!

6/10
Author: Ecto-Jedi from Nova Scotia, Canada
14 July 2003

Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn star in this funny comedy as two ill-fated security guards who team up to bring down a dangerous criminal organisation and a crooked cop. It may not be an excellent film, but it is a lighthearted, fairly fresh take on the classic "buddy cop" formula that's been used over and over again (Shanghai Noon, I Spy, etc...) This time, most of the laughs come from Lawrence, who does a good job of being the wise-assed, smart-mouthed partner as Steve Zahn does his stuff as the impatient lead character.

The plot of the film seems a bit rushed, and not developped to its extent, but that's no matter. What DOES matter are the laughs; and though "National Security" isn't the funniest film in the world, the comedy is sharp --- although, at times, it does seem a bit recycled. Come on, we've seen this sort of stuff WAY too many times before...

The point is, "National Security" provides some laughs and is an all-around good film, though not great. For those of you lookin' for a familiar, smile-inducing cop film, you can't go wrong with "National Security". I'm a bit put off, though --- a 4.3 rating for this flick is just way too low, and I don't think the film deserves the bad reviews it's been getting. The same thing seems to have happened to "I Spy" as well...

Come on, you guys need to lighten up. Of course these films aren't Shakespeare --- and they don't want to be! Sooner or later, you'll learn that a movie doesn't have to be perfect in order for it to be an enjoyable experience. Most movies don't aim to be Oscar-material, so they opt to bring to the general public the things we want from this sort of film: comedy, action, wise-cracks, and, if at all possible, a decent plot. We can't compare movies like these to, say, "Star Wars" or "Casablanca" or "Titanic", because they're in totally different leagues. I try to review each film while considering the different intentions of the producers. If a film is a clear Oscar contender, I may be a bit more harsh in my review --- but with most comedies and action pics, I give credit where credit is due.

And that's the moral of this story: GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE! "National Security" is a decent flick and is well worth the price of admission, at least in the eyes of this reviewer.

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23 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

What the problem is?

7/10
Author: Shawn Watson from The Penumbra
17 October 2005

I usually don't like Martin Lawrence and I find his anti-white humor to be quite offensive as well as his string of bad movies. But compared to his other movie of 2003 (that would be the shockingly awful Bad Boys II), National Security is a rather easy-going and light-hearted cop comedy flick with quite a few good laughs. A lot of them, surprisingly, coming from Lawrence himself.

Hank Rafferty (Steve Zahn)is a cop who is unfairly thrown in jail for apparently beating a black suspect (Lawrence) who just got kicked out of Police Academy. With his career in tatters he emerges from the slammer with only one job opportunity available; a lowly guard for a lowly security company. Determined to follow up on the big case he was involved with before serving time, he crosses the path of fellow security guard Earl Montgomery (Lawrence again) and the two reignite their old conflict.

The old love/hate buddy thing may be old and the plot may be silly but it's a great excuse for loads of action set-pieces and humor. The potentially dangerous comedy of black vs white never becomes offensive and is handled with such lightness that it never becomes an issue. Both men have their failings and bonuses and are as equal as each other. You really do feel a great partnership between them despite their arguing and fights.

Give National Security a try. It's slick and fast-moving and is a helluva lot better than Bad Boys II. You'll probably be surprised at how funny Martin Lawrence is. I was.

The DVD is in great looking 1.85:1 widescreen with pretty good Dolby 5.1 sound. The scenes where Lawrence uses his automatic pistol really pack a heavy punch in the .1 LFE channel. The usual deleted scenes and commentary are included on the DVD but I was surprised the extended ending wasn't included in the film. It would have been better with it.

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19 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Could have been better . . . sans "Martin Lawrence"

4/10
Author: jmcserious from United States
10 September 2005

I thought the movie started off very good with a serious tone of intrigue and suspense. That's what attracted me to watch it while channel surfing.

Although it's the first film I've seen with Steve Zahn, I thought he was genuine in his portrayal of emotion over the death of his fellow officer. His loyalty and respect for his friend and partner showed in every aspect of his acting.

Enter Martin Lawrence . . . then it became too silly.

As for, Bill Duke and Eric Roberts, they're always great in my opinion. Seasoned and mature actors.

I just can't take Martin Lawrence seriously. He's a funny comedian, but this type of silly slapstick takes away from the suspense of the film. The whole "bee" story, police academy farce, as well as the girl with the handcuffs, along with a few more so-called "funny" scenes, should have been re-written to better fit the plot. It's cute for situation comedy, but not for a movie that starts on such a serious tone. It's misleading and kills the suspense.

The movie would have been much better without it.

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16 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

At best – Tired. At worst – bigoted and offensive

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
31 May 2003

Earl Montgomery is a cop wannabe who can't get past the academy into the force. Hank Rafferty is a real cop who is emotionally on edge having seen the murder of his partner by a gang raiding a warehouse. When the two get involved in a minor roadside traffic stop, Earl claims Hank beat him and gets him thrown off the force. Hank takes up a job as a security guard and sets out to find the gang that killed his partner. He finds them in a warehouse protected by Earl (also now a security guard) and the two reluctantly team up to go after the gang. However when they steal the gang's merchandise they find themselves hunted by both the gang and the cops.

Although I like to think of myself as having reasonably good taste – I do find Martin Lawrence funny. I don't know why but many of his films just make me laugh even though I feel like I shouldn't ! However this film is the recent exception to that. I saw the trailer and thought that it might be worth a stab – wrong! The plot is a shambles of coincidence and plot holes – where there is a doubt they simply have a big gun fight. There is no real tension to the plot as it is so very loose – even at the end you'll struggle to know much about the plot outside of the two central characters.

The action scenes make the A-Team look realistic and tense – they are simply tonnes of bullets flying everywhere before the bad guys are dispatched with one shot! This sucks any excitement or tension out of them and only leaves you with lots of noise that just feels pointless in the extreme. In that way they reflect the wider plot I guess. Sadly though, the poor action and poor plot is by no means the worst part of this film.

Easily the worst part of this film is the fact that 99% of the `jokes' are based on race – in particular Martin Lawrence's comments which are either a) laments on the victimisation of his race or b) reverse-racism remarks that border on the offensive and would certainly never be allowed to pass if the lines had been given to his white co-star. The victimisation things are simply not funny and merely make the lead look like he has an enormous chip on his shoulder about his colour – maybe 2 or 3 remarks along these lines would have worked but to have nearly every line based on this is simply overkill and it quickly gets tiresome. Other remarks I simply found offensive – I'm sorry, I know this is meant to be a comedy but I found them bigoted in the extreme. What makes it worse is the fact that the film plays Earl as a hero and never shows him to change his way or his opinion – hence it validates what he says. For example to have a character state that he is against interracial relationships between white men and black women (and never take it back) is simply offensive – as I (a white man) sat with my wife of Nigerian-descent I felt very uncomfortable that anyone would allow such insulting dialogue to be part of a film. Even if you think I am making a big deal out of nothing – just imagine this whole film if even half of Earl's dialogue had been said by Hank – there would simply have been an outcry!

To make the offensive material worse – it is rarely funny. I don't know what Lawrence is up to. This summer he has the chance to kick start his big league career again in Bad Boys 2 where he'll get help from Smith and Union – but this is a huge leap back – pandering to an audience that may find it funny because they too have a chip on their shoulder about race. I usually find his mugging and saying `yo ass' or `and sh*t' after every sentence funny but here the chip on his character should simply obliterates everything else. Zahn is poor – I have not seen him in a strong role but this must be a step backwards even by his standards – he suffers at the hands of racist remarks and comes off badly – even his relationship with Denise is played for laughs as the writers expected the audience to find it a joke that Hank could land with a `fine sista' like that, it even goes so far as to have Denise admire Earl's penis!! In fairness Robinne Lee (Denise) is gorgeous and it is good to see her in something again after only seeing her in Hav Plenty. God knows why Eric Roberts is in it – he has nothing to do and his wig just looked stupid, likewise Bill Duke is only there for the dirty looks.

Overall I enjoy Lawrence comedies even though many are silly. Here the jokes are nearly all based on race or reverse-racism and after the first 3 time they get increasingly unfunny and tired. At best this film is lame and barely amusing, at worst it is simply bigoted (regardless of what colour the character is – bigotry is bigotry) and will be offensive to anyone who tries to get past the issues of race and racism in their daily lives.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Funny little comedy;Roberts should have got a bigger role

6/10
Author: Cristi_Ciopron from CGSM, Soseaua Nationala 49
12 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I enjoyed this little comedy much more than I expected; my main reason for seeing it was Roberts. Anyway, the film works in an unpretentious way. It amused me—me and the person that I was watching the comedy with—as a film that found its tone and channel. It is very fast—paced, and quite likable. It's very physical, good—natured and enjoyable; as a matter of fact, it is a humorous crime drama, a humorous cop film (about corrupt cops, etc.).

There are some very noticeable beautiful girls ("Lola" and Zahn's ex—girlfriend).Mari Morrow and Robinne Lee.

Needless to say that my original reason for watching it—Roberts—has a role so small that they could use anybody else. But maybe Roberts was cheaper than anybody else?

Some perceived this flick as ...racist.I see it as politically incorrect,in a cheap but funny way--which is good.

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19 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

One of Lawrence's BEST in a long time!!

10/10
Author: theyounghombre from New England
18 January 2003

This is probably his best or one of his best in a long....long time. This is much better than Blue Streak and Lawrence plays the act well. His partner in the biz, Steve Zahn plays the angry white man great. This is a hilarious film and everyone couldn't stop laughing in the sold-out theater I was watching it from. I went with a couple of friends and we were laughing and repeating quotes all the way home. One quote that sent the crowd roaring was when Lawrence is talking to Nash (Julia Robert's Brother Eric) when they are out of the van with the certain items (watch the movie to find out).

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Good movie to watch, quite humorous

8/10
Author: luis figueira from United Kingdom
8 May 2011

The movie's plot line is pretty funny and the action and comedy are good - not laugh out loud good but more like humorous :) I do think that you can watch it more than once. Steve Zahn and martin Lawrence do portray a good but unstable team in the film but thats all part of the humour. Personally I love most action comedies due to the fact that they are uplifting... Honestly though, this is a great comedy and the acting does seem cheap but in a way it does fit in with the whole comedy genre so there are'nt any major problems. Anyway, thanks for reading my review and if you watch the movie.. enjoy it and grab a bowl of popcorn!

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Harmless fun

10/10
Author: robkenyon from United Kingdom
5 April 2006

I loved this movie, some people take offence to it some people don't, i just see it as harmless fun, and it pokes fun at the racism of today. Martin Lawrence was great, very funny, but if your not the sort of person who can have a laugh and have a silly side then you'll find him a put off, truthfully people need to lighten up. Steve Zahn was also great playing your typical 'cop' moustache and all, he has some great moments and Lawrence and him build a great on screen team during the film. I pity all the people who say Lawrence is racist, I don't take offence and at the end of the day he is an actor acting, and a good funny one at that. So if you want to have a fun night, laugh at stupidness and enjoy a film then check this out, you'll only hate it if your a stiff. 8/10.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Silly but entertaining mess

Author: vchimpanzee
4 April 2013

L.A. cops Charlie and Hank respond to what they believe is a false alarm. It is not, but they went to check out the situation just in case. Charlie is killed.

Earl wants to be an L.A. cop but his outrageous and reckless behavior gets him kicked out of the academy. Never mind that Earl can do no wrong because any criticism from whites is the result of racism against black people.

Hank is bitter about losing his partner, so it doesn't help matters that he is the one who catches Earl trying to break into his own car. And Earl is allergic to bees so when a bee complicates the situation and Hank tries to swat the bee, and Earl is mostly behind the car so the person videotaping the scene can't really tell what's going on ...

It's Rodney King all over again. And the joke of a trial gets Hank sent up the river.

Six months later, Earl and Hank work for the same security company. Hank ends up at the Coca-Cola warehouse where Earl works because, while the guys who got Charlie killed are up to no good, Earl is making out with the secretary.

The result: a whole lot of wasted soda.

Earl and Hank now have to learn to work together so they can catch the guys responsible for Charlie's death. Never mind that they are not real cops. The results are hilarious and fun. There is even an exciting car chase which results in the pursuing cop cars turning upside down.

This is just a fun movie with some explosions, crashes and other excitement and plenty of laughs. Don't look for outstanding acting or writing, but to me Martin Lawrence is quite appealing despite his constant racist attitude. Toward the end, this is actually pretty good as the guys work toward solving the mystery.

One actor stands out: Cleo King is a black woman who picks up the guys when they need a ride. And she won't take any attitude, though she is really a nice person. She's not around long.

Martin Lawrence's stunt man (or men) does an impressive job. It's scary what they let him do.

Don't expect too much, and you won't be disappointed.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

great comedy

7/10
Author: kai ringler from United States
10 July 2013

Martin Lawrence was absolutely funny in this movie,, he had so many great one liners I couldn't stop laughing the entire movie,, yeah the buddy cop genre has pretty much worn out it's welcome in the last 20 years. but this one is refreshing. Steve Zahn who I never heard of was also funny at times.. the main story of the movie is that our main character arrests a man and turns out he wasn't even guilty,, together they are thrown together to go up against some bad guys , and have a lot of fun in doing so.. yes there are some aspects that are played out over and over again, but for the most part, there are some interesting thiings going on in the movie that I haven't seen that much of before,, I f you're looking for a comedy that will make you laugh all of the way thru the movie, then this is for you.

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