Directed by Dennis Dugan, starring Martin Lawrence, Steve Zahn, Colm Feore, Bill Duke, Eric Roberts.
There's good films and there's bad films and then there's obnoxious, racist should-never-have-been-made-let-alone-released films. 'National Security' falls fair and square into the latter category. Although ostensibly in the mis-matched buddie action-comedy genre, there's something far more disturbing going on under the surface.
Earl (Lawrence) is a wanna-be policeman who gets kicked out of the LAPD training programme for his over the top behaviour. After white cop Hank (Zahn) mistakenly tries to stop him from breaking into a car, Earl falsely accuses him of police brutality. Hank rapidly loses his badge, six months of his freedom and his black girlfriend. When he comes out of prison he takes a job as a security guard (equipment: "Flash light, pepper spray and a holster full of quarters to call the police") and ends up partnered with Earl as they try to track down a gang of criminals.
Hank's angry - understandably - at having his life destroyed over a false accusation but Earl is unrepentant, blackmailing Hank with the threat of putting him behind bars again unless they work together. Cue a series of bang-crash-wallops and interminable gun battles amidst Coca-Cola/Sprite product placement and the ubiquitous Eric Roberts as an indifferent villian.
As the put-upon Hank, Steve Zahn comes across sympathetically. Martin Lawrence, on the other hand, must have forgotten to read the script before he committed to 'National Security'. Portraying African-Americans as devious losers, too ready to reinforce prejudice by playing the race card surely cannot be seen as seen as an intelligent career - or social - move. Not only that, but Earl is also the most racist character in the entire film, denouncing inter-racial relationships - but only if it's a white man with a black woman.
When the funniest line in the whole film is "didn't your mama teach you some manners when you were humping her?", you know you're in the wrong cinema.