Metro Movie Review

After realizing that Eddie Murphy's new cop movie is not"Beverly Hills Cop IV" but something worse -- being far too longon action and far too short on laughs -- I began trying to salvage thispaticular trip to the theater.

What were the things I liked about "Metro," inwhich Murphy plays a police hostage negotiator in San Francisco? I counttwo.

First, there is a raucous chase scene involving an out-of-controlcable car that sends tourists and automobiles flying every which way. Thisscene requires an extraordinary ability to suspend disbelief since, asmost Northern Californians know, a penny on the tracks derails one of thesethings.

Second, director Thomas Carter ("Swing Kids")repeatedly builds fierce tension without climax, just to toy with the audience.The best of these scenes coming with heavy build-up, a shaky camera andswelling music as Murphy's girlfriend opens her medicine cabinet mirror(the music builds), takes out her perfume (louder, louder) closes the mirrorand...nothing happens at all. There's no one standing behind her, whichis what any seasoned movie fan would expect.

Even better, he does it again when she puts the perfumeback.

But "Metro" is two hours long and trifling withthe audience here and there doesn't pardon the fallacies that plague therest of the picture.

The fact that Murphy plays a hostage negotiator doesn'tcome into play at all after a couple establishing scenes with masked baddiesholding whimpering blonde bank employees. Neither does the standard "newpartner" plot device, a role filled by Michael Rapaport ("MightyAphrodite"). Murphy is just a cop who plays by his own rules, whichis nothing new.

He has a gambling habit that serves only to give him somethingto argue about with his girlfriend (British actress Carmen Ejogo), whoexists for the sole purpose of being kidnapped so the film can have a niceclimax at an abandon ship yard, resplendent with monstrous machinery andexploding 55-gallon drums.

"Metro" feels like Carter borrowed a paint-by-numbersset from action director Michael Bey ("Bad Boys," "TheRock") and filled in only the explosionsand car chases. But even those are sloppy -- especially to Bay Area moviegoers. In the aforementioned chase scene one of those tourist-toting fakecable cars on wheels stands in for the real thing and the wheels are clearlyvisible in multiple shots. Also hard to miss are the faces of the stuntmen standing in for Murphy and Rapaport.

There is a thread of a plot -- something vague about ajewelry thief (Michael Wincott, "The Crow") who is captured byMurphy after another prolonged chase, only to escape a couple days laterfrom the prison laundry. Um, folks -- uncharged prisoners in city hallholding cells don't work in the laundry. Hello?

After staging a huge comeback last year with "TheNutty Professor," "Metro" is a bad career move for Murphy.He's fine as the cop and he gets in the requisite of wisecracks at theend of each reel, but this movie is sub-standard cop fare at best.


Comments

Metro Rating

" Terrible "

Rating: R, Opened: January 17, 1997

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