National Security

January 17th, 2003


National Security

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Still of Steve Zahn in National SecurityStill of Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn in National SecurityStill of Steve Zahn in National SecurityStill of Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn in National SecurityStill of Bill Duke and Colm Feore in National SecurityStill of Martin Lawrence in National Security

Two mismatched security guards are thrown together to bust a smuggling operation.

Release Year: 2003

Rating: 5.1/10 (18,941 voted)

Critic's Score: 31/100

Director: Dennis Dugan

Stars: Martin Lawrence, Steve Zahn, Colm Feore

Earl and Hank have only one thing in common: they're both L.A.P.D. rejects. One just got kicked out, the other can't even get in. After confronting each other on opposite sides of the law during a traffic stop that escalates out of control, these two luckless individuals end up partnered as lowly security guards. Despite being damned to the lowest rung of the law enforcement ladder, Earl and Hank uncover a sophisticated smuggling operation led by Nash and his band of thugs. When Earl and Hank get their hands on some hot property, they go on the run from, first the bad guys, then the L.A.P.D.--led by Lt. Washington and Detective McDuff. What these two unlikely partners do to law enforcement is a crime, but they just might save the day. That is, if they don't kill each other first.

Writers: Jay Scherick, David Ronn

Martin Lawrence - Earl Montgomery
Steve Zahn - Hank Rafferty
Colm Feore - Detective Frank McDuff
Bill Duke - Lieutenant Washington
Eric Roberts - Nash
Timothy Busfield - Charlie Reed
Robinne Lee - Denise
Matt McCoy - Robert Barton
Brett Cullen - Heston
Cleo King - Woman in Car
Gerry Del Sol - Booking Clerk
Ken Lerner - Hank's Lawyer
Mari Morrow - Lola
Stephen Tobolowsky - Billy Narthax
Joe Flaherty - Owen Fergus

Taglines: They only look like cops.


Official Website: Columbia Tristar [France] | Sony [United States] |

Release Date: 17 January 2003

Filming Locations: Blue Cloud Movie Ranch - 20000 Blue Cloud Road, Santa Clarita, California, USA

Opening Weekend: $16,813,517 (USA) (19 January 2003) (2729 Screens)

Gross: $35,764,982 (USA) (2 March 2003)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

DVD has alternate ending.

Revealing mistakes: When Earl is behind the wheel of the driving-instruction car, he constantly moves the steering wheel from side to side, yet the car always drives straight.

Hank: Get out of the damn car!
Woman in car: [Slapping Hank] Didn't your mama teach you any manners? The least you could do is ask me nice!

User Review

It's lighthearted, fun and goofy --- I like it!

Rating: 6/10

Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn star in this funny comedy as two ill-fated security guards who team up to bring down a dangerous criminal organisation and a crooked cop. It may not be an excellent film, but it is a lighthearted, fairly fresh take on the classic "buddy cop" formula that's been used over and over again (Shanghai Noon, I Spy, etc...) This time, most of the laughs come from Lawrence, who does a good job of being the wise-assed, smart-mouthed partner as Steve Zahn does his stuff as the impatient lead character.

The plot of the film seems a bit rushed, and not developped to its extent, but that's no matter. What DOES matter are the laughs; and though "National Security" isn't the funniest film in the world, the comedy is sharp --- although, at times, it does seem a bit recycled. Come on, we've seen this sort of stuff WAY too many times before...

The point is, "National Security" provides some laughs and is an all-around good film, though not great. For those of you lookin' for a familiar, smile-inducing cop film, you can't go wrong with "National Security". I'm a bit put off, though --- a 4.3 rating for this flick is just way too low, and I don't think the film deserves the bad reviews it's been getting. The same thing seems to have happened to "I Spy" as well...

Come on, you guys need to lighten up. Of course these films aren't Shakespeare --- and they don't want to be! Sooner or later, you'll learn that a movie doesn't have to be perfect in order for it to be an enjoyable experience. Most movies don't aim to be Oscar-material, so they opt to bring to the general public the things we want from this sort of film: comedy, action, wise-cracks, and, if at all possible, a decent plot. We can't compare movies like these to, say, "Star Wars" or "Casablanca" or "Titanic", because they're in totally different leagues. I try to review each film while considering the different intentions of the producers. If a film is a clear Oscar contender, I may be a bit more harsh in my review --- but with most comedies and action pics, I give credit where credit is due.

And that's the moral of this story: GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE! "National Security" is a decent flick and is well worth the price of admission, at least in the eyes of this reviewer.


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