Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I must be careful here because the last time I commented on a French Canadian buddy cop movie, that movie being Bon Cop / Bad Cop, a nice young lady very kindly and very politely let me know that me being an American, I clearly didnít understand the film for Ďall its cultural implications with its allegories, euphemisms, and stereotypes between French and English Canadiansí. A couple of years later I still donít understand any of that but the good thing for me is that this movie is straight French Canadian and not an amalgam of French and English Canada so I should totally be in dark when discussing director Emile Gaudreaultís action comedy ĎFather and GunsíÖ but it gets even better for me. Some unimaginative American production company has already snapped up the rights and is getting it ready for a remake! So we donít have concern ourselves with anything getting lost in the translation because the eventual American remake will lose it all for us. Yay unimaginative, unoriginal American Production Companies!

Somewhere in the grand city of Montreal we are witnessing a stakeout. Police detective Jeff Tremblay (Hubert Proulx) is micíd up and ready to get some incriminating evidence on some brutal biker drug dealer. Perched high on a city building observing this operation is the team of super tough legendary policeman Jacques Laroche (Michel Cote), with his son Marc (Louis-Jose Houde) perched on another building with his sniper rifle aimed and ready. Not surprisingly the op goes all to hell and Jeff Tremblay is kidnapped and Marc couldíve taken the shot to prevent this, but alas Marc seems to tense up in crunch time which is the bane of his old manís existence. Just so you know, you might not want to concern yourself with the actual police work going on in this movie because these have to be the worst cops ever. I mean who would put the entire team on skyscrapers so if something does go wrong on the ground everybody has to hustle down multiple flights of stairs to help somebody? And if a guy does tend to freeze up in crunch time, maybe he shouldnít be the primary sniper, or any kind of sniper for that matter. Poor Jeff Tremblay. But we had to get this comedy started somehow, so here we go.

Anyway, this biker dude wants his right hand man released from prison in return for Jeff Tremblayís life and considering Jeff is Marcís best friend he has a vested interest in the manís safety. Our cops have this bikers chief council, Charles Berube (Remy Girard), under surveillance and they have a learned a few things. That he talks in his sleep, that he has a miserable relationship with his son and that he wants a new, cleaner life. If they can get to him they think they can turn him. How can they get to him? Charles is forced to go on a father / son retreat with his suicidal adult son which means Jacques and Marc will be going undercover at this retreat, against their wills, to try and get Charles to tell them where Jeff Tremblay is being held and tortured. Poor Jeff Tremblay. And while Marc is a little concerned about Jeff Tremblay, he seems more concerned about fixing his failing relationship with his girlfriend and fellow police officer Genevieve (Caroline Dhavernes) who wants a man with a set of nuts. And Jeff Tremblay is getting tortured again. Poor Jeff Tremblay.

Hereís what I see as a potential problem of an American remake of ĎFather and Gunsí. The American version is going to try and Ďfixí this movie. The police work in this movie borders on parody itís so awful. Basically our cops are waiting for some guy tell them through sleep talking where poor Jeff Tremblay is, as opposed to doing stuff like regular police work, and thus fixing the shoddy, keystone cops in this movie would cause this movie to lose the majority of its charm. Watching Jeff Tremblay strung up with lipstick being sloppily applied to his face while his best friend and supposed savior was canoeing with his dad, and trying to charm his ex-girlfriend, was some inspired comedy. You gotta keep that stuff in the remake and I doubt that theyíll do that.

While the Ďactioní part of this action / comedy was suspect, at best, the comedy part was genuinely funny. Iíve seen Michel Cote in a number of films but Iíve never known him to be such a sharp comedic actor and his Jacques Laroche was pitch perfect as the tough cop caricature. In addition, Cote and his co-star Louis-Jose Houde seemed to genuinely dislike each other, at least on a father and son level, which made their comedic scenes during this retreat they were on work all the better. Plus Gaudreault found a way to humorously infuse a touch of social commentary into the chasm that exists between the two generations and the movie also had a lot of heart.

ĎFather and Gunsí is pretty lightweight all things considered, it doesnít take itself all that seriously and it features an awful lot of really broad slapstick comedy. But it is this comedy that makes this French Canadian action comedy worth seeing. Iíll pass on the remake.

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