National Security

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
National Security Movie Poster Image
Indistinguishable dumb action comedy.
  • PG-13
  • 2003
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.


Action violence.


Kinky scene, no nudity.


Some strong language.


Some product placement.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has a great deal of violence, some strong language, and a kinky sex scene involving handcuffs.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byrrosup November 16, 2020


This is a racist story about a guy who blames another guy for something he did not do so he could advance in life and ends up sending an innocent man to prison.... Continue reading
Adult Written byJean C July 26, 2020

Probably one of the worst movies ever

This was a complete waste of time. Stupid plot. Bad acting. Weak storyline. DON’T waste your time.
Teen, 14 years old Written bymbhky.16 March 26, 2021

Why 15?

This is not too violent for tweens. They can handle it. Overall great movie
Teen, 16 years old Written byusername342343 March 25, 2021

Nice Movie

A really nice move for tweens and up

What's the story?

In NATIONAL SECURITY, police academy reject Earl (Martin Lawrence) is trying to retrieve the keys he locked in his car when police officer Hank (Steve Zahn), thinking he is trying to steal the car, asks him what he is doing. Earl's hostile response leads Hank to begin to arrest him. Earl, already agitated, gets even more upset when a bee flies toward him. A bystander making a family movie films what looks like Hank brutally beating Earl, when all Hank is doing is trying to get rid of the bee. Like the Rodney King video, it sparks a public outcry for justice, and Hank does hard time in prison for six months. They meet up again when the same bad guys Hank saw kill his partner show up in the warehouse Earl is guarding. They have to learn to work together and trust each other in order to save the day.

Is it any good?

National Security is another in a string of indistinguishable dumb action comedies. It is clearly modeled after classic action comedies like Beverly Hills Cop, but this one is less a movie than a three-minute coming attraction with 90 extra minutes of padding. Situations that can be set up in an instant are given drawn-out explanations that test the attention spans of even the most committed fans of the movie's performers. As in all buddy films, the buddies have issues they have to resolve with each other before they can resolve the issues they have together. In the sorry history of Hollywood "meet cute" set-ups, this one is particularly weak.

Zahn and Lawrence have no chemistry and they careen listlessly between dull banter and dull chases and explosions. Dugan has no feeling for action sequences. The only interesting moment comes when they hide something in the garage of Hank's ex-girlfriend. The movie wastes two exceptionally talented performers. Lawrence occasionally gets a chance to give a short riff that creates a bright spot, but Zahn seems bummed to be in the movie at all.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Earl's views on race and how he has to rethink his own prejudices when he takes Hank's ex-girlfriend for the maid.

Movie details

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