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Starring: Damon Wayans, Adam Sandler, James Caan Directed by: Ernest Dickerson Written by: Joe Gayton and Lewis Colick

The "buddy" action picture just won't seem to go away. For me, this concept is growing extremely tired, yet some may argue that it is simply a matter of how well the film is made. While I can certainly understand that argument, the new buddy action movie "Bulletproof" doesn't seem to back it up. Here's a case where we have a talented director at the helm, some decent cinematography, a couple of superbly-edited action sequences, and two bright young comedic talents leading the way. Yet with all these positive elements, "Bulletproof" plods along somewhat lazily, trying to stretch it's premise into a full ninety minutes. It's not at all helped by a script so exhausted it practically wheezes.

The movie stars Damon Wayans and Adam Sandler as former friends who now find themselves on opposite sides of the law. After a drug bust gone awry, Archie Moses (Sandler) now has a price on his head courtesy of his former boss, Colton (James Caan). Moses is ready to turn evidence against Colton, and it's up to Detective Jack Keats (Wayans) to bring him into custody unscathed. Both Keats and Moses resent each other; Moses feels he's been betrayed and Keats nearly lost his life because of Moses. However, the two men must put their differences aside to remain alive. Thus, the "buddy" concept is resurrected.

Both Damon Wayans and Adam Sandler are very likable, and have promising acting futures in front of them. Some of the banter between them is good. (When their plane has just run out of fuel, Wayans asks: "When we crash, we crash head-first, right? Okay, you stay here, I'm going to the back and sit on the black box.") Sandler is particularly interesting to watch, playing someone who got involved in crime not out of hate or resentment toward society, but out of sheer na´vete.

The film was directed by Ernest Dickerson, who worked on several films as Spike Lee's cinematographer. His directing career hasn't been as stellar. He's certainly capable of making top-notch, meaningful films, but needs to find a project he has a real passion for, rather than directing films like "Tales From the Crypt: Demon Knight", and "Surviving the Game". While those aren't terrible movies, they're not anywhere close to the level at which I know Dickerson can achieve. Perhaps he should try and write his own screenplay, instead of trying to make something good out of lackluster scripts like this one by Joe Gayton and Lewis Colick.

"Bulletproof" has some good touches but they come in a story without any life. Instead of feeding off the success of the buddy action concept, this movie feels victimized by it.

Copyright 2001 Michael Brendan McLarney Critically Ill

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