EW Staff
May 03, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Celtic Pride

Current Status
In Season
Judd Apatow, Dan Aykroyd, Daniel Stern, Damon Wayans, Gail O'Grady
Tom DeCerchio

We gave it a B-

At first glance, Money Train appears crasser and less enlightening than White Man’s Burden. But a little shorter and tighter and it would be a worthy alternative rental, if only because Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes, who were first paired as leads in the 1992 basketball-hustler comedy White Men Can’t Jump, make a genuinely appealing team. The two play foster brothers working as undercover New York City transit cops (Harrelson’s Charlie is the screw-up, Snipes’ John is the together one). Things begin to unravel when Charlie’s gambling debts catch up with him at the same time the pair are catching hell from their venal boss (Robert Blake) and raising eyebrows at their sexy new partner (Jennifer Lopez). Then Charlie gets the bright idea to knock off the seemingly unstoppable locomotive of the title, which collects all the token booth receipts. (Money Train got a lot of media attention last year when it appeared that a scene in the movie inspired the real-life torching of a subway token booth.)

Viewed strictly as an action-thriller, Money Train is a not-too-deft mix of its better forebears — movies like The Taking of Pelham One Two Three and The Gauntlet. Its interracial pairing, which is its real reason for being, is played mostly for drollery; when a brother who wonders why John spends all his time with a white guy instructs him to ”Stay black, man,” Snipes shoots back with ”Ain’t got no choice.” Underneath its playfulness, though, the movie’s core relationship embodies a patronizing white liberal fantasy — for all of his character’s ineptitude, Harrelson is still cool enough to be down with Snipes. Money Train provides discomforting evidence of the fact that when Hollywood plays the race card, it stacks the deck. C+

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