Then there's the director, Thomas Carter, who won Several primetime Emmy's for drama series. And he directed the masterpiece 'Coach Carter'. No, that one is not about himself. I'll have more to say about him later.
The star of the movie is Eddie Murphy who plays Roper, a hostage negotiator with the San Francisco PD. Is Eddie any good here? Well, yes. He is as good as it gets in this setting. If the script wasn't so generic and the general production moved up a notch, maybe the whole movie could have walked that fine line between comedy and drama.
Michael Wincott is the villain. He disappoints as Korda, mainly because his characted is so generic. He hardly gets to add any personality to his role. His lines and surroundings are so cliche, that the whole thing never really fleshes out. And I refuse to write that down to bad acting on his part.
So here you have two more than capable actors stuck in a story that is both predictable (no matter how many times our lovely director tries to trick us, be it with faux horror sound effects or plot holes) and ill-executed.
It all starts off fine, setting up location and the Roper character. Even though this movie depicts a very clean version of downtown San Francisco, the start is quite okay.
But as the film progresses and several story lines about Roper, his (former) partners, his (ex) girlfriend and up-and-coming nemesis Korda get fleshed out, the story falls apart. There are plot holes that will leave you stare at the screen with your mouth open for a few seconds. There are cringeworthy performances by extra's in the robbery/hostage scenes. There are outcomes so predictable that it kills all the suspense. And then, almost at the end of the movie, there are silly and ridiculous attempts at suspense that make you LOL.
All in all, for a 1997 action/drama/comedy, it kind of delivers in the action department, even though the chase scenes are mostly memorable for being in San Francisco. The drama is underwhelming and the comedy doesn't balance well here. Meh.
Pros: Eddie Murphy does an OK job
Cons: Generic, predictable, etc.
Verdict: Watch if there's really nothing else on.
There's nothing special about the story here, in fact it's chock full of action movie cliches, but I appreciated Murphy's intense performance and the moments when the film chooses to buck the familiar story. An example would be in his relationship with Michael Rapaport as the promising young rookie where the veteran cop chooses to nurture rather than resist him. I would have liked to see more of that dynamic.
The star is quite good in scenes that could have been laughable in which he is required to be fierce, such as his prison showdown with villain Michael Wincott. There are a number of thrilling action set pieces, most notably the chase scene involving a San Francisco streetcar, and the finale is exciting despite the set-up's predictability. It's a standard, police-issue ending but the film had already hooked me so it was hard to nitpick over its unoriginality.
In fact, there's nearly nothing in "Metro" than an avid movie buff hasn't seen dozens of times before, but I admired Murphy's willingness to take a chance and the overall tone of the picture. It definitely will never be accused of breaking any new ground, but it is a very entertaining film with a solid lead performance holding it all together.