Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

This is a bit of surprise.  Normally when I see a film coming of the Great White North, it’s usually some kind of quiet character piece like ‘A Simple Curve’ or ‘Snow Cake’ that I’m fairly certain that nobody but film critics and families of the filmmakers actually go see.  Both those movies are very good mind you, but not big money makers I’m sure.  Every now and then I can expect to see the occasional lame horror movie like ‘Decoys’ or something, but today were watching ‘Bon Cop / Bad Cop’ which is actually an action filled, oil and water cop buddy flick!  Richard Donner is somewhere rolling over in his grave, that is if he were dead, which I don’t think he is as of this writing.  Do Canadians know action?  We shall see.

As our film opens were are introduced to our Hockey masked killer (no, not Jason), later to be labeled as the Tattoo Killer, who has some professional hockey executive tied up and is needling dude with a fresh new tattoo.  He then kills the poor sap with a hockey stick.   Let’s go to English speaking Toronto shall we, where we meet the totally L7 police detective Martin Ward (Colm Feore) who must be the good cop (Bon is French for good by the way. – along with merde, merci, and au revoir we have exhausted my French).  I figure this because he is spit shine clean, can’t relate to his teenaged son and is pressing his pants as only a by the book tight ass would do.  Now let's jettison to French speaking Montreal Quebec where we are introduced the much hipper, far cooler, way tougher David Bouchard (Patrick Huard) who must be the bad cop judging by the scars on his face, his ridiculously hot ex-wife (Lucie Laurier) as only a cop who ‘doesn’t play by the rules’ would let something like that slip through his fingers, and he has a young daughter who adores his total coolness.  Now how are these divergent personalities going to come together?

Well, our killer manages to drop our dead hockey exec on the sign between Quebec and Ontario which brings our two cops together with instant animosity for each other as neither of them wants to claim jurisdiction on the case.  But in the interest of relations between the two provinces, the big bosses decide that these two should work together and find this killer.  Oh but there are more killings to follow as now serial killer is targeting owners, agents and players who have betrayed the national sport to the soulless colonies beneath them.  Now Ward and Bouchard, though they hate other passionately, have to put their personality and language problems aside and find a way to work together to catch this crazed killer, who I’m thinking is going kidnap some kind of female who matters to these guys, and save the day.  Car crashes, nudity, action, explosions and ass kicking shall now ensue.

There’s an awful lot like about ‘Bon Cop / Bad Cop’.  The production values, set design and overall look at the film is about as good as anything you’re going to see.  Leads Feore and Huard are spectacular and are obviously having one hell of a good time with there respective roles.  There’s a lot of really good humor in this film from start to finish particularly by Pierre LeBeau as the typical overweight, English challenged, haggard on the verge of a heart-attack police chief.  Director Eric Canuel shoots the action well, stages the action well and makes it very thrilling to watch.  The bottom line is that ‘Bon Cop / Bad Cop’ is a one good fun time at the movies.

Now with all of that being said, understand that ‘Bon Cop / Bad Cop’ is 100%, completely and totally without exception and without excuses run of the mill.  The original bit that ‘Bon Cop / Bad Cop’ offers to the genre is the fact that it’s bilingual with French being spoken half the time and English being spoken the other half. Sometimes a question will be asked in French and answered in English or vice versa, and if you’re not bilingual it can become a bit irritating looking down at the screen in such an erratic way.  Ultimately though, this was just a gimmick that was cool for about the first thirty minutes of the film.  Practically everything else in this film was completely derivative of a bunch of movies that has come before it.  Now this ain’t so bad since there hasn’t been a decent one of these kinds of movies in good little while, but from polar opposite partners, to bombs ticking to zero, to a damsels in distress it’s not the least bit original. 

Though I’m not a hockey fan, I did dig the serious hockey angst that is quite real in this film.  With pot shots being taken at ‘No .99’ who went to Los Angeles or ‘no. 88’ who absconded to Philly and the most brutal attacks being levied on NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, or Buttman as he is recreated here, somebody is very upset with state of their sport.  To put it in perspective, imagine if every single NFL team except for the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raider moved to Mexico.  I can almost guarantee you that folks would be dying over that one. 

Though it lacks any real semblance of originality, ‘Bon Cop / Bad Cop’ is a damn entertaining movie playing out as almost an homage (Another French word!) to the buddy cop flicks of yore.

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