Look, this film is rubbish. Pick any of the established criteria of film-making and Blue Streak will fall short of it. Plot? Logically impaired, coincidence-dependent and guilty of nicking great chunks of action straight from Beverly Hills Cop. Acting? Performances which wouldn't pass the audition for a junior school nativity play. Script? Strings of gags shoehorned into dialogue. Direction? Don't get us started...
But, somehow, it is also bizarrely, mystifyingly enjoyable. Maybe it's a mass hysteria thing. Watch Blue Streak on your own, on video, and you'll be pounding the stop button long before Martin's first 'hilarious' attempt to get into the cop shop (disguised as a buck-toothed, curly haired pizza delivery man). You won't even get close to the bit when he hits the streets and starts putting his insider tea-leaf knowledge to good use by solving crimes like there's no tomorrow.
But try watching it in a crowded cinema on a rowdy Friday night. Especially surrounded by a bunch of clearly up-for-it and partially tanked people. A strange alchemy occurs. You can almost hear the sound of grinding gears as people place their critical faculties in neutral and allow this clearly uninspired rabble of a flick to become cheerily tolerable.
Ripples of chortling sweep the theatre as hoary old gags about cops and doughnuts are wheeled out. People start smiling at Lawrence's sub-Eddie Murphy, wannabe-Will Smith schtick. You actually start rooting for the tubby little fella as he and good-guy cops Wilson and Forsythe face the partner who betrayed him in the original heist.
Blue Streak is never offensively bad, and works exactly like a pantomime for big kids buy into it, make your own atmosphere and you'll have a fairly good time. All together now: "He's behind you, Martin!"