It’s not surprising that Martin Lawrence was once a Golden Gloves boxing contender. After all, he’s spent his whole career fighting to get noticed. From his earliest days competing on the talent show “Star Search” to establishing his own, self-titled sit-com on Fox in the ‘90s to the ups and downs of his feature film career, Lawrence has always worked hard to make himself a star.
He’s also fought plenty of personal demons, whether it was his arrests for brandishing guns in public or accusations of sexual harassment on the set of “Martin.” Things got so bad, he was even banned from “Saturday Night Live” after he slipped into an over-the-top, raunchy monologue while hosting the show. Despite the constant battles, Lawrence seems to have emerged unscathed with more than his share of hit films. And as he celebrates his 48th birthday this week, take a look back at the popular comedian’s work with this Streampix collection.
When this action film first came out in 1995, it was remarkable not just for its blockbuster-level action scenes. It also featured a unique casting twist. Lawrence had a wild, raunchy reputation and Will Smith, who played his police detective partner, was known as the nice family man. However, in the film, Lawrence played the settled soul while Smith played the party boy. The result? A $100 million blockbuster.
If at first you succeed, try try again. Even if it’s eight years. Lawrence and Smith returned for this sequel to their big hit, and continued to blow things up in between wisecracks.
It was no secret that Lawrence had some brushes with law throughout his career. That added plenty of irony to his regular portrayals of various law enforcement officers. In this 2003 action comedy, for instance, he stars with Steve Zahn as mismatched personalities who must work as security guards to bust a gang of smugglers. Perhaps roles like these were a way to earn time off for good behavior if he ended up dealing with serious jail time.
Lawrence blended his controversial personality and his typecasting as a cop with this 1999 effort, in which he plays a thief who poses as a cop to hunt down loot he stashed many years ago. The role was perfect for Lawrence, as was the title, considering his tendency to work “blue” and to never shut up.
“Saturday Night Live”, Feb. 19, 1994
As previously mentioned, Lawrence’s hosting gig on this show turned out to be legendary. Although not necessarily in a good way. Riding high on the success of his sit-com, “Martin,” Lawrence was a natural to appear on the show but thanks to a crude monologue featuring a discussion of feminine hygiene, he was banned from the show and has never returned.