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Bon Cop deux over

French-English action sequel adds an American twist

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The 2006 movie Bon Cop, Bad Cop may not have been an especially great movie, but one couldn’t help respect how it pulled off a brilliant trick.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/05/2017 (2089 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The 2006 movie Bon Cop, Bad Cop may not have been an especially great movie, but one couldn’t help respect how it pulled off a brilliant trick.

It was unprecedented that a Canadian movie could find both French-Canadian and English-Canadian audiences with a story told in both official languages: Scruffy Surété du Québec cop David Bouchard (Patrick Huard) is obliged to work in tandem with straitlaced Ontario Provincial Police detective Martin Ward (Colm Feore) when a dead body is discovered straddling either side of the Quebec-Ontario border.

The movie was something of a miracle for its freewheeling approach to a culture clash that is usually framed in more sombre terms along the lines of the Hugh MacLennan novel Two Solitudes. Sure, the movie played to stereotypes with Huard’s cop a shaggy loose cannon and Feore’s cop an anal-retentive square. Nevertheless, you had to admire how it managed to engage in gentle mockery of either culture in the framework of a police procedural. It didn’t hurt that the cast was headed up by deft Quebec comic Huard (Starbuck, Les Boys) and Stratford heavyweight Feore (ironically best known in Canada for his portrayal of Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the CBC miniseries Trudeau).

https://youtu.be/cxN6foqdpN0

With a script by Huard and an infusion of action-y heft from director Alain Desrochers, the sequel jettisons much of the French-English culture clash.

The end of the first movie left us with the impression of the beginning of a beautiful friendship. In the decade-later sequel, Bouchard and Ward have lost touch. Indeed, Ward, now a commander with the RCMP, is shocked to bust a Montreal car-theft ring only to discover Bouchard working deep undercover among the chop-shop miscreants.

Sébastien Raymond photo Lethal weapons: Colm Feore (left) and Patrick Huard reprise their roles a decade after first joining forces.

To preserve his old friend’s identity, the two stage an impromptu fight/hostage-taking. This bit pays off with Ward mystified as he is berated on-air by real-life septuagenarian TV crime reporter Claude Poirier, a guy with no love for the Mounties. (This scene will likely play better in Quebec than in English Canada, but it’s still pretty funny.)

Bouchard’s infiltration of the organized-crime ring may prove more valuable than anticipated when a plot to steal 50 cars emerges and may be linked to terrorists. Suddenly, the French cop and the English cop find common ground when they are obliged to deal with American cops with little understanding of Canada, especially French Canada.

A melodramatic turn involving Ward threatens to topple the spinning plates director Desrochers sustains through much of the film. Desrochers, the director of the fast-and-furious car movie Nitro Rush, ought to know that satiric comedy and tragedy go together like sugar and gasoline.

If the film ends up working, it owes something to the current news cycle. This time last year, the movie’s terrorism subplot would have seemed a little ridiculous, but since real-world politics is starting to get downright weird in the era of Trump, screenwriter Huard looks a little less fanciful and a little more prescient.

Certainly, he strikes a chord of the current Canadian zeitgeist.

In the first movie, the odd-couple cops came together with a realization of shared tribulation within their professional and personal lives.

In this movie, the English cop and the French cop share the consolation many Canadians are feeling these days as they contemplate internecine battles over health care and Russian influence south of the border:

At least we’re not American.

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @FreepKing

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Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

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