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‘Money Train’ (R)

By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
November 22, 1995

If you ever had the inclination to ride the New York City subway, "Money Train" will change your mind.

Calculated to capitalize on the return of the popular team from "White Men Can't Jump," this feeble action-adventure picture stars Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as a pair of New York Transit cops. The twist here is that John (Snipes) and Charlie (Harrelson) are brothers (foster brothers, actually), making this a more familial—though no less cliched—sort of buddy movie.

In their capacity as subway cops, the brothers patrol the stations posing as drunks to bait muggers. Along the way, though, they lock horns with their boss (Robert Blake), an evil administrator obsessed with his "money train"—that is, the special train that collects money from the toll booths.

And Charlie has a gambling problem. In hock up to his ears, Charlie dreams of robbing the train, partly to get himself out of debt, partly to mess with their boss. Charlie, as it turns out, is an accident waiting to happen. Since they were kids, John has been bailing his baby brother out of trouble. This time, though, Charlie is in so deep that even John can't help him, and in an effort to help himself, Charlie decides to rob the train on his own.

Not for a minute do we buy this—or, for that matter, anything else in this crude, grueling movie. To further complicate matters, the filmmakers provide a love interest—a gorgeous transit cop played gracefully by Jennifer Lopez—who pits the brothers against each other. But, like everything else here, the relationship functions only as a setup for the action sequences, which are occasionally thrilling but mostly routine. We've seen most of it before, in "Speed" and other films.

The rapport between the two stars has by now reached a level of effortlessness that is appealing, and between them, they have the personality to carry some of the movie's weaker moments. But ultimately, di rector Joseph Ruben ("The Stepfather") and screenwriters Doug Richardson and David Loughery have shackled their heroes with an unplay able mess. Even if they only charged a token, it would be too much.

Money Train is rated R for profanity, violence and some nudity.

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