Blue Streak (UK - BD RB)
Leigh Riding takes a look at the Blu-Ray release of this Martin Lawrence vehicle
Miles Logan (Martin Lawrence) is a jewel thief who attempts to pull off the biggest heist of his career by stealing a huge diamond. However, after being double-crossed by his partner (Peter Greene), Logan stashes the jewel in a building under construction before being arrested. After serving two years in jail, he comes to find out that the building he hid the diamond in is now a police station. In an attempt to regain his diamond he poses as an LAPD detective, but his straight-laced new 'partner' (Luke Wilson) bogs him down at every turn...
Before descending into sub-standard family movies like Rebound and Black Knight, Martin Lawrence plied his trade post- Bad Boys trying to replicate that film’s success by starring in sub-standard cop action/comedies such as National Security, Big Momma's House and this 1999 movie. One of the reasons those subsequent movies were never as successful as his breakthrough film is that unlike Bad Boys, which was equal parts hard action and laughs, there was an emphasis on the comedy elements of the mix, which watered down the thrills. This is definitely the case with Blue Streak.
The problem with Blue Streak is that the huge favouring toward comedy in the film cancels out the action/thriller element of the story completely. Normally that wouldn't be a problem, as it is primarily intended to be funny. However, despite the dearth of action sequences, they are not only quite straight in tone, but they also bookend the film. As a result the tone of Blue Streak feels inconsistent, and the film feels almost inconvenienced by being saddled with a thriller plot; for instance, the villain of the piece (played well by Peter Greene) is ushered away after the opening sequence, and doesn't reappear until the climax where he's rather clumsily thrown back into the story, rendering him more of a plot device than a character.
To be fair, the comedy is quite funny if you're a Lawrence fan, and the actor is pretty high energy and game throughout. It also helps that the supporting cast bounce off him well. Dave Chappelle has good chemistry opposite Lawrence, and Luke Wilson makes a decent straight man as Logan's greenhorn partner. Peter Greene is solid as the main bad guy (although he'll always be Redfoot to me), but is so underused that he's almost forgotten about.
Although the plot leaves something to be desired, the technical aspects of the movie are perfectly fine. It looks good, the director seems to know when to cut before the improvisations outstay their welcome, and the scarce action scenes are nonetheless directed with a solid eye. That sums up Blue Streak perfectly; there's nothing terribly wrong with the film on the whole, it's just unspectacular. The movie starts, rolls along pleasantly for ninety minutes, and finishes without much incident. That's quite fine, but I'd prefer just a little bit more ambition from all involved.
This is the first Blu-Ray disc I've seen, so I was eager to see the vast step up in quality from the standard DVDs I'm used to. Maybe I should have picked another disc. The 1080p transfer offered here is, like the film, an ordinary affair. Although colours are quite vibrant, the image seems a little soft in my opinion. The image has a fair bit of grain, particularly in the opening night-time robbery sequence. I also noticed quite a bit of motion blur with certain scenes. The image isn't a disaster by any means, but to be honest there doesn't seem to be much difference between this and an upscaled standard DVD, aside from a touch more sharpness.
Again, the English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is solid but unspectacular. Dialogue is pin sharp, the surround work is solid and the action sequences are handled perfectly fine, with bullets zinging round the room nicely and some roaring car chase sequences. Score is well balanced, but unfortunately the music in the title sequence is horrendously tinny. It's not a bad track by any means, but then again the film isn't a sound effects extravaganza.
Offered in standard definition full frame, Sony has ported over the features from the original DVD, and it's hardly a rousing set. The Setting Up for the Score featurette is a puff piece containing sound bites from the cast and crew, which are the usual love-in we've all come to expect, padded out with ten to fifteen second title cards to pad the running time to twenty minutes. ‘HBO First Look Featurette: Inside & Undercover’ covers exactly the same ground, and it's hard to see why Sony felt both EPKs were needed on the disc. Three music videos round off the features, and it's interesting to note that the title track is nowhere as tinny as it is in the actual move. Also included is a link to BD-Live.
While Blue Streak is not a bad film by any stretch, there is an air of indifference surrounding it. While it's competently made and inoffensive, the movie desperately needs a cohesive tone. While the comedy is solid and moves the film along at its own little pace, the rest of the movie seems to be lacking the narrative drive and structure a thriller demands, and the whole affair feels fairly forgettable as a result. Blue Streak is a harmless film that will entertain, and probably be forgotten about by the time the eject button is pressed.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page.
Review by Leigh Riding
Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over
Release Date: 3rd November 2008
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Italian Dolby TrueHD5.1, Czech Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1, Polish (VO) Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, English, Estonian, Finnish, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Slovene, Swedish, Turkish
Extras: Setting Up for the Score Featurette, Inside and Undercover Documentary, Three Music Videos by Jay-Z, Tyrese Featuring Heavy D and So Plush Featuring Ja Rule
Easter Egg: No
Director: Les Mayfield
Cast: Martin Lawrence, Luke Wilson Peter Greene
Length: 91 minutes
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