Bon Cop, Bad Cop (2006)

(In theaters, August 2006) As a good little bilingual Canadian, I’ve been waiting for this film a long, looong time: A fully-bilingual crime comedy buddy-movie featuring a Québecois and an Ontarian, solving a case about a serial murderer going after those who ruined our national sport of hockey. Scripted and shot with fully naturalistic dialogues, Bon Cop, Bad Cop was distributed in Canada in two flavours: One has French subtitles and another has English ones, but bilingual moviegoers will lap up the dialogue without looking at the bottom of the screen as the film fluently switches back and forth, playing on stereotypes and promoting national unity with plenty of action. The film does miracles with a minuscule budget, but it’s the characters and the dialogue that makes the film more than the gunfights or exploding cars. There are tons of regional references throughout the film, from one-liners referencing October 1970 to inside jokes about recent hockey history. Don’t miss Rick Mercer playing Don Cherry, a jab at George W. “Arbusto” or how a character with accents in both languages is linked to former prime minister Jean Chretien. It’s hardly a perfect film, mind you: the plot mechanics don’t make sense, the film is predictable from start to finish and the clichés fly fast and low. More annoyingly, the film definitely lacks an epilogue, loud music often drowns out the sound during the cheaply-shot action scenes and there is a lack of tone consistency as the film goes from lighthearted cop comedy to gory serial killer thriller. But the film’s central conceit is fabulous enough that audiences (especially bilingual ones) are unlikely to care even if they notice: I saw the film in a sparsely-packed theatre, and the handful of viewers was collectively out-laughing many fully-crowded audiences I’ve heard. Bon Cop, Bad Cop takes the crowd-pleasing techniques of Quebec films and applies them to a broader framework: the result is well worth watching. Uncharacteristically enough for a Canadian-branded film, this one’s a crowd-wowing winner.

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