BON COP BAD COP (Eric Canuel). 116 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (August 18). For venues and times, see Movies, page 92. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Yippee! Here's a commercial Canadian movie that avoids both slavish imitation of brain-dead Hollywood and our own tendency toward dreary earnestness.
Bon Cop Bad Cop is a smart, funny and polished cop buddy movie that delivers a good dose of hard action while laughing at the stereotypes of poker-up-the-ass Ontario and loose-cannon Quebec, sending up its own genre clichés at the same time. The high-speed car action hits new levels of gratuitous.
The body found straddling the provincial border is an ideal device to unite the prissy Ontario cop with the potty-mouthed Quebecer on the hunt for a hockey-masked serial killer. For once, the mask makes sense: the crimes are about hockey, and the movie takes some nice swipes in passing at the bozos who run the game.
As the battling cops, Colm Feore and Patrick Huard give high-energy performances that stay just this side of caricature, which lets them move smoothly between clown, action figure and believable human.
Feore does a great quiet shift into action-man mode that turns him almost imperceptibly from civil servant to terminally pissed-off civil servant. Very effective and about as far from Bruce Willis as you can get.
A sharp-witted script delivers brisk dialogue, dark humour and some cute variations on shopworn plot turns. A couple of scenes sag a little when the parallels between the cops seem laboured, but director Eric Canuel keeps the pace snappy. He's also got a knack for imaginative staging. There's a bar fight like nothing I've ever seen before.