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NATIONAL SECURITY

Starring: Martin Lawrence, Steve Zahn
Director: Denis Dugan
Rated: PG

NATIONAL Security is a pleasant surprise, if you’re looking for an quick, escapist comedy.

Hank Rafferty (Steve Zahn) is a serious career policeman. Earl Montgomery (Martin Lawrence) wants to belong to the LAPD. He is kicked out of the police academy because he is judged to be a dangerous sociopath.

Earl has his revenge on the force when Rafferty books him for a traffic violation. Montgomery falsely accuses Rafferty of racial vilification and physical abuse.

Rafferty is sacked. The only job he can get is as a guard for National Security, a private firm which looks after various LA warehouses.

On his first day he finds his partner is none other than Earl! Together they stumble on a drug cartel doing its business on their beat, and swing into action.

I went to this film thinking it was going to be a CIA action thriller. Well, there’s plenty of action, but the CIA is nowhere to be seen.

National Security is a tightly constructed, well scripted comedy with some great one-liners.

Martin Lawrence has the most expressive comic face around at present and Steve Zahn is excellent as his aggrieved sidekick.

Behind the laughs in National Security there are very serious issues in regard to racial profiles, ethnic riots, and the implications of perjury. There were moments in this film when I wondered if these matters were appropriate fodder for comedy.

There are loads of car chases, car accidents and shoot-outs that make National Security a very loud experience, but the sound design only serves to mask the many genuine belly laughs the film provokes.

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