The undercover-cop genre gets a less-than-hysterical upending in Blue Streak, which features Martin Lawrence as a thief who poses as a detective in order to right a felonious deed gone wrong, but in the process winds up teaching the legit law enforcers a thing or two about crime fighting.
In a sleek opening sequence, Miles Logan (Lawrence) and crew perpetrate a $17 million diamond heist, but not before their boneheaded wheelman Tulley (comedian Dave Chappelle) draws the attention of the police. Before getting nabbed, Logan flees to a construction site and stashes the gem in the air-conditioning duct of a building-to-be, thus avoiding a larceny rap and hiding the gem where he can retrieve it later on. But said strategy backfires when, released from the joint two years later, he discovers that the now-complete building is home to a police precinct.
Before long — and after an utterly laugh-free scene wherein he tries to scam his way in as a gap-toothed pizza-delivery guy — Logan returns, this time posing as a transferred detective. The gambit works too well, as he’s pressed into a partnership with a corn-fed dick (”Home Fries”’ Luke Wilson) who, along with the rest of the squad, is wowed by Logan’s uncanny insight into the criminal mind.
What’s less impressive, however, is Lawrence’s ability to carry this flick, as it’s only in his scenes with Wilson (which lands them in rat-a-tat ”Rush Hour” territory) and Chappelle that ”Streak” approaches any real yuks. Dare I suggest a full-length buddy pairing with either of them would’ve been a lot more fruitful than Lawrence’s strained vamping?