By Kendra McDonald | Film | May 17, 2017 |
By Kendra McDonald | Film | May 17, 2017 |
Canada has put out some great films over the years, including The Sweet Hereafter, Away From Her, Crash (the other one), Black Christmas, Ginger Snaps, and many more, but our film industry is mostly known for producing great comedians, actors, and directors, who are then shipped south to try to actually make money. The biggest exception to this rule is Quebec, which has its very own film industry (and music, and television shows …). Much like Bollywood films, some Quebec films do manage to break into the mainstream (Les Triplets de Belleville, Incendies, C.R.A.Z.Y., Mommy, etc), but the majority of them are shown in theatres throughout la belle province and nowhere else. One of the few to crack into the (Canadian) mainstream, and one of my very favourite movies, was 2006’s Bon Cop Bad Cop, also featured in this excellent list of secret Canadian films put together by Ranylt Richildis. This movie spoke to me on a visceral level, given my childhood experiences in both Ontario and Quebec, and the many language and cultural barriers depicted were completely familiar to me. The long-awaited sequel FINALLY came out this past weekend, and did not disappoint.
Patrick Huard (Starbuck, Mommy) and Colm Feore (The Chronicles of Riddick, House of Cards) return as mismatched police officers David Bouchard and Martin Ward, drawn together once again due to overlapping jurisdictions. The stakes have been raised, and this time the outcome of their investigation affects more than just the NHL. Borders have also been expanded, as the film get a chance to poke some fun at American stereotypes as well as the QC-ON culture clash. From the ridiculous bureaucracy seen at the American Embassy to the incompetence of a small-town sheriff’s department, the over-the-top presence of the FBI, and the non-stop terrorism suspicions, this movie manages to encompass how Canadians see their southern neighbours (and even sneaks in a bit of social commentary). Lest you think Canucks are spared, there are still plenty of jokes aimed at Quebeckers and “têtes-carrées”.
The movie starts with a scene ripped straight from The Fast and The Furious, as a bearded David walks among the scantily-clad ladies and smoothly gets into a Mustang. I assumed this was going to be a setup for Bouchard to race his way into the Toretto family or something, but instead, one of the spectators starts yelling about her stolen car as he speeds off. We are thrown right into the action, as a high-speed chase ends with David delivering the stolen car to a sketchy garage, which promptly gets busted by the cops. As Dave tries to flee, he come face to fist with his old partner Martin Ward, now with the RCMP and on the hunt for crime boss Dipietro. David is adamant about maintaining his cover within Dipietro’s organization, and Martin still wants to catch the bigger fish, so he allows Dave to stay undercover, with some new gadgets and oversight. As Bouchard tries to deliver a list of stolen cars to his bosses (*cue Low Rider*), he and Ward discover that there is a lot more at stake than stolen vehicles and shady American clients.
Nothing here is really breaking new ground. The script, by star Patrick Huard, is obviously inspired by Fastest & Furioustest, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Bad Boys, and many more - but the movie is just so much damn fun that I didn’t even care. I found this film more accessible to non-Canucks and/or hockey-haters, and while there are a number of callbacks for fans of the first one (an excellent new version of the giggling scene was my fave), I don’t think it’s necessary to have seen the original to appreciate this one. Basically, you just need to know that these two guys are chums and they’ve worked together in the past, the rest pretty much speaks for itself. Veteran director Alain Desrochers ramps up the action this time around and the bigger budget is on display, but in a refreshing change, there’s no sex scenes, some violence but no gore. Instead, this movie chooses to earn its rating with extensive cursing in both official languages, as the rapid-fire dialogues switches easily from proper English to pure Montréal slang. In Toronto, the film is being screened with English subtitles, though I understand it’s got French ones in some Quebec theatres. (The DVD of the first movie allows you to watch with either, both, or none).
As for the performances, Patrick Huard is fantastic, still embodying that roguish charm, even if he has managed to grow up a little. His overly expressive face is pure Quebec, and makes for some excellent comedy. Plus, once Dave is forced to ditch the floppy boy band hair, he has an excellent silver fox thing happening. Colm Feore is great as usual, finally able to have some fun after playing the straight man in the original. Some of the attempts at drama felt heavy-handed, but Feore still managed to ground it and punch me in the feels. The rapport between the two of them is just phenomenal, and the little touches keep it so realistic. The biggest one for me was the use of language: Martin’s French has gotten a lot better (especially the swearing!), but it’s still obviously not his native tongue, so having Martin generally answer David’s French questions in English was perfectly reminiscent of my own Franglais conversations.
While the film likely doesn’t pass the Bechdel test, it does manage to have a couple strong female characters, though there are some background strippers that fare less well. Lucie Laurier shines as Suzie, David’s wife, and while the filmmakers clearly appreciate how hot this woman is, they let her have some sexy fun without making that her entire character. As an added bonus, Suzie doesn’t have to be shrill and hysterical in this one. Her and David’s little girl Gabrielle (Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse) doesn’t get much screen time, but she’s all grown up and hoping to follow in her father’s cop footsteps, even if he can’t stand her hairy boyfriend. My absolute favourite new addition is MC, the stereotypical “weird tech chick”, played be French-Canadian stand-up comedian Mariana Mazza. At first I was worried her schtick was a bit too much, but she quickly became one of my favourite parts of the movie. Plus, she’s allowed to exist without being required to flirt with anyone! Madness! I was worried that the “sexy bartender” Jen (Catherine St-Laurent) was going to be the obligatory eye-candy, but she turned out to be a fucking badass in one of the movie’s best scenes.
The baddies are all pretty generic, especially a totally meh bossman Dipietro (Noam Jenkins), and his nameless American clients. The villainous bright spot is Mike Dubois (Marc Beaupré), who stands out thanks to some hilarious verbal sparing with David. There are a couple of unnecessary attempts at gravitas, especially surrounding Martin’s family drama, but they get looped in nicely in the final act. These parts definitely could have been trimmed, as the film runs over 2 hours and drags a bit in the middle.
Overall though, this was the rare sequel that managed to keep the spirit of the original, while turning everything up to 11. Plus, considering the current clusterfuck that is American politics, isn’t it nice to know that a couple handsome Canucks are all it takes to save the day? As stated in the film’s tagline: “It’s okay America, les Canadiens sont là.
Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 is currently playing in limited release across Canada, and the producers hope to expand its release if it does well. So décrisse-toé du couch, pis va voir le film, tabernak!