Opens: Nov. 22, 1995 | Rated: R
Don't go see "Money Train" expecting a thrill ride of an action-comedy, because just about every interesting moment in movie has been shown in the television commercials.
Yes, there is a runaway subway, but that's just a rehash from "Speed." A couple of well choreographed fight scenes might rouse a cheer from those who haven't seen anything Jean-Claude Van Damme, John Woo or Jackie Chan have done.
Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson take funny verbal jabs at each other, but that's not worth the ticket price -- they don't have nearly the banter provided them in "White Men Can't Jump."
"Money Train" is full of story-telling starts and stops and never hits a stride, partially because it can't decide what kind of movie it wants to be.
The commercials would lead one to believe that Woody and Wesley are action heros, but "Money Train" makes an aborted attempt at drama that will bore action fans silly.
Part of the story is about the boys as a pair of transit cops, setting up petty criminals for arrests in the subways of New York.
About half of the picture drones on about the brotherly love-hate relationship between the boys (they're both orphans who grew up in the same home -- brothers) and how their new woman partner (Jennifer Lopez, who was a "fly girl" on TV's "In Living Color") almost comes between them.
Another 10 minutes, here and there, is a sidetrack about Woody's gambling habits.
And once in a while we get a few lines about how the brothers have a fantasy of robbing the subway train that goes station to station at night collecting the day's fares.
I kept looking for titles between scenes saying "meanwhile in another movie," but none ever showed up.
It's not that Wesley and Woody don't make a good team, they do. They play off each other like poker buddies taking jabs over a semi-friendly game. However, they don't sell the grew-up-together, life-long-friends thing at all.
The girl doesn't help the picture either. Lopez is adequate for the part and sufficiently pretty (any of a score of actresses could have played the part), but she could have phoned in her part and shown just as much character.
Neither does the alleged romance between Lopez and Wesley Snipes fly. There goo-goo eyes begin with a shot of the two of them dancing and he's holding her like he's hugging his Aunt Gladys.
Except for the 20 or so decent lines between the brothers, the dialogue is so mundane it could be anyone's boring neighbor talking with his wife over breakfast and be just as interesting. It's generic, throwaway fare.
One subplot (meanwhile in another movie) about the cops hunting for a psychotic who sprays ticket booth attendants with gasoline then sets them on fire, provides the movie's only tension, and the psycho is dead 40 minutes before the credits roll.
"Money Train" just tries to be too many things. Steven Bochco could probably make a decent TV series about New York transit cops using this film as a seed, but to try to explore so many stories in a two-hour movie (and an "action" movie to boot) was the misplaced ambition of someone who wanted to take a shallow movie and make it deep. It didn't work.
This review appeared in the Daily Republic, Fairfield, CA.
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