BON COP BAD COP: 3 STARS
Bon Cop Bad Cop is an interesting hybrid of a film. As the title suggests it is bilingual, blending both of Canada’s official languages and shining a spotlight on our two solitudes, while taking it’s cues from American action films.
When a dead body is found draped over the sign that delineates the border between Quebec and Ontario, the two provincial police forces are forced to work together to find the killer. We meet Martin Ward (Colm Feore), the WASPy Ontario cop who plays by the book and David Bouchard (Patrick Huard), his free-wheeling French counter-part who threw away the rule book a long time ago. They don’t like one another but over time they embrace the other’s differences and become a team.
If that sounds familiar it should because it is the basis of literally hundreds of buddy films from Lethal Weapon onwards. We’ve seen most of this before, but placing it in Canada against the background of French-English relations gives Bon Cop Bad Cop most of its zip. The movie pokes fun at the clichés that Ontarians are uptight and overly polite while French-Canadians are wild and laissez-faire, treating the differences with humor.
In this the movie is aided greatly by its French lead actor, Patrick Huard. A noted comedian in Quebec, Huard has an easy charm and rubber face that can flip on a dime from good-natured and goofy to hard-edged and dangerous. He’s a great choice to play the rule-bending cop who has both a light and dark side to his personality. Also well cast is Colm Feore as Martin Ward, the Ontario cop. Feore ensures that his character isn’t simply a cliché but a well-rounded person who slowly realizes that underneath it all feels that he is better than his French neighbor. Together they have good chemistry.
The best part of the film is definitely watching these two actors work together and they are so good they deflect criticism away from the preposterous story. It turns out the body draped over the border sign was just the first victim of a hockey-obsessed serial killer who has set out to kill hockey executives who are selling Canadian teams to American owners. It doesn’t get more Canadian than that. What’s next, the Maple Syrup Madman?
Bon Cop Bad Cop is an attempt to do something that is done all too rarely in this country—make a homegrown film that will appeal to Canadians. It is a blatantly commercial film that has all the elements of American blockbusters and poutine jokes.
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