of, Worst of… screw ‘em! It’s time to sink through the mire towards
the stuff down there nestled under the surface. Past the big hits, cult
classics, and respected middle-tier stuff where the filler lives. Maybe
even a little closer to the bottom than the top. Treacherously close to
the bombs, the stinkers, and the abominations. Films that not only
don’t get love but don’t really even deserve love.
Except here. So with that we bring you… Ten Mediocre Films We Can’t Help But Embrace.
Each of these films is embraced by a single editor. These are not
committee decisions, not are they representative of one unified
CHUD.com editorial focus. Each author is on their own.
Day Two – Metro
Embraced by David Oliver (email address for hate mail)
Director: Thomas Carter
Writer: Randy Feldman
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Michael Rapaport, Michael Wincott, Carmen Ejogo, Art Evans
U.S. Box Office: $31,987,563 (Budget: $55,000,000)
Rotten Rating: 16%
IMDB Rating: 5.3/10
There are few if any veteran actors working today whose prior work has been so undeniably entertaining, and whose current state of their career is so utterly disappointing more so than Eddie Murphy. But that’s an old, dead horse, and the postmortem beatings on that have barely left a skeleton on the topic. Suffice it to say, that in the midst of his run of films of, shall we say, questionable appeal, was 1997’s Metro. Metro was a not shining, but at least semi-luminous reminder that Murphy was once capable of doing action films rather than “hey look, another fat suit” extravaganzas of bleakness, horrible sci-fi comedies and family friendly clunkers that any good parent would be accused of child abuse for showing to their children. Yet, even so, when compared to Beverly Hills Cops I and II, 48 Hours and The Joe Piscopo Special, it’s mediocre. And that’s why I wrap my arms around it.
“Whoa, hold up. Daddy Day Care, I Spy, Norbit, sure. But I didn’t have shit to do with Tyler Perry.”
In the film, Murphy is San Francisco hostage negotiator, Inspector Scott Roper, a compulsive gambler and corner-cutter who can usually out-think his adversaries en route to a successful rescue of any bystanders during crimes that go bad. But his gambling and freewheeling past with women gets him into issues like having his car towed and former girlfriend, Ronnie (Ejogo) estranged. Still, he’s good enough at his job to warrant a $5,000 raise and some new wheels, which, to his chagrin, is one of the stunt vehicles from Sanford and Son. He is also tasked with training former SWAT member and negotiating probie, Kevin McCall (Rapoport).
Pluto Nash was drunk, texting, doing its make up and driving on the wrong side of the street. Murphy never had a chance.
The heavy of the piece is the always delightful Michael Wincott (check out his website here!), who portrays a smarter-than-the-average thieving, homicidal lowlife. He robs a joint or two, kills Roper’s buddy, and scares children with his voice. Along the way there’s some mutual black on white violence between the two stars, a pretty impressive Cadillac-on-streetcar chase through the streets of San Francisco and a brain teaser involving a pen cap and a coke bottle. What blows though is that, for no reason that I can discern, Wincott at no time has a sword in the entire flick.
This is actually one of Murphy’s better roles that’s not named Foley nor Donkey. Roper isn’t an SFPD poster boy, but he is solid at his job; plus he has a snazzy hairdo. After Metro, Murphy did the decent Life, the excellent Bowfinger, a few Shreks and Dreamgirls, the last of which the Academy gave him the big finger after he snagged every other pre-Oscar shoo-in award. But with the good came the bad in the form of Holy Man, and some of his all-time dreck: Pluto Nash, Meet Dave and Daddy Day Care.
“Lenny? Yeah, I just SQUID-ed sex with Amy Winehouse. I want my fucking money back right now.”
When compared with those last three films, Metro is friggin’ Heat. But when judged against Murphy’s overall body of work, this is middle of the road mediocre and that’s why I embrace it.