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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Russian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, Hebrew, Czech, Greek, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Arabic, English - Hearing Impaired, Turkish, Icelandic, Croatian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Hindi, Romanian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Serbian, Commentary - English
  Extras
  • Deleted scenes
  • 3 Theatrical trailer - National Security, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, I-Spy
  • Audio commentary
  • Music video
  • Alternate ending

National Security

Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 85 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

In a weak attempt to be funny, director Dennis Dugan brings us this annoying and mostly pathetic trip into race relations. Martin Lawrence stars alongside Steve Zahn in what can only be described as a flimsy effort at making fun of the bridge between black folks and white folks. Martin Lawrence succeeds in being nothing but irritating and unfunny as he employs his usual Ďwití to a slack result. Steve Zahn has his usual good standing in film comedy wasted by Lawrence running away with the script, leaving him as the straight man. Director Dugan (responsible for directing Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy among others) overuses Lawrence and the race card and attempts to mix genres to disastrous effect (not to mention his trademark objectification of scantily clad women who bear no real relevance to the plot).

"What the problem is?"

The film begins with policeman Hank (Zahn) and his partner discovering a bunch of crooks doing something bad. Hankís partner is soon gunned down in cold blood before the hoods escape, sending Hank on a downward spiral. Enter Lawrence as a loser who canít pass the police exam followed by a misunderstanding and then a hastily shot video which is supposed to convict Hank of police brutality, though any idiot can see itís crap. However, the jury is obviously blind and Hank goes to prison. (So far, Ďseriousí stuff).

Cut to six months later when the two cross paths once more as security guards (begin Ďcomedyí). Hank is still looking for his partnerís killer and together they must thwart the crooks and learn to be like ebony and ivory, live together in perfect harmony, side by side on my piano. Yeesh.

With ham-fisted delivery and Lawrenceís constant references to the black manís plight, this plays more like an 85 minute rant than a film billed as a comedy. Dugan is out of his depth here, delivering a film too steeped in political incorrectness to ever deliver any kind of harmonious message to the greater community. Itís nothing more than shallow jokes fired at racial targets who wonít fire back and is dreadfully unfunny.

  Video
Contract

As usual, bad picture gets good transfer. No real artefacts and a very clear picture with good flesh tones (regardless of colour). All shadows play clearly with mostly true blacks, though some greenism occurs during a few fade-to-blacks.

There is also an incredibly dodgy continuity error around the 15:44 mark. A photo can be seen behind Lawrence of a man in a kilt with another man (cinematographer Oliver Wood, as it turns out... and not the Oliver Wood who captains Harry Potterís Quidditch squad either). Anyway, we then cut to a close up where we see an entirely different picture and then back again. This isnít a minor thing either; anyone looking will see the marked difference. What's more, Dugan discusses the scene and the picture in the audio commentary without once mentioning the glaring difference! Not to be picky, I just hate stuff like that. They hire continuity people, donít they?

  Audio
Contract

Sound, again, is well delivered. The sound effects are good with the temptation to use ricocheting bullet sounds no doubt overwhelming, but happily they donít appear to have been used. Much. I didnít detect any other stock sound effects and the music is delivered fairly well also, although it runs too loud on the main menu. The dialogue is relatively clear with Lawrence being the only real problem when his voice cracks during his Ďemotionalí jokes.

  Extras
Contract

Firstly, I gotta say the mildly animated menus are shithouse. Secondly, thereís a bunch of other stuff thatís also shithouse and this is that...

Three Trailers, only one of which is for National Security. The others are for the equally unfunny I-Spy and the playful romp of Charlieís Angels: Full Throttle (this one was the only part that warranted a second look). Next up is a Script-To Improv-To Screen scene that runs for 15 long, long minutes. First the script runs for four minutes. Then Lawrence does improv in the scene for about eight minutes Iíll never get back. Then the final cut of the scene (with most of Lawrenceís idiotics edited out, I noticed) runs the last three minutes. B-aarch equals U-nfunny.

The Audio Commentary is boring as itís just Dugan fawning over his stars, who arenít even present to modestly refute his praises. It has some insight into production, but is barely worth checking out.

The next part is a bloody mystery to me as to why they bothered to include it. Itís 30 seconds of a Deleted Scene with a particular camera angle looking down on a hallway as Zahn runs through it shooting. No sound, no context to storyline and consequently, no interest. Follow that with the Alternate Ending why donít you? You will no doubt wonder how it was even made but you wonít wonder why it wasnít included in the final cut. What a piece of crap.

Finally (thank God), there is a Music Clip featuring a list of minor league rap and hip-hop songsters I shanít bother to repeat here. It does feature film footage from National Security, but the Ďcreditsí within are lifted directly from The Matrix. Whatís up with that?

  Overall  
Contract

This film is nothing short of horrible. Why people continue to think racism is funny is beyond me.

Genre mixing here doesnít work, whether it was intentional or not. Films like American Beauty can mix genres successfully because they have substance. Films like this horror cannot, because they donít have anything to say. They think they do, but they donít.

Rent this way before you consider buying it, and try and do so on cheap night at your local video store if you must see it at all.


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      And I quote...
    "I use the word Ďunfunnyí five times in this review, including just then."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
          Diamond
    • Speakers:
          Diamond
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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