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 13+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Violence

Action violence.

Sex

Kinky scene, no nudity.

Language

Some strong language.

Consumerism

Some product placement.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking.

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 by4Spice October 22, 2009

funny movie 10 over

great movie very funny 10 and over
Adult Written byWhatdoIthink? April 9, 2008
Another hilarious movie from Martin Lawrence. A guy that was thrown out of a police school and a cop whose partner was killed get into a fight. Lawrence's... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byjadabub February 10, 2013

HEY

I hate you Common Sense Media! It actually has a lesson and teamwork! Not everything will be about unicorns and stuff for 9 year olds! Sure, it might be a bit s... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byDeclan1700 January 21, 2018

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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