Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bon Cop Bad Cop - Review

I used to love going to the movies. When we were kids we'd trade in a dozen beer bottles for a quarter and go to the matinee. Even now the smell of fresh popcorn can stop me dead in my tracks. I like the feel of a movie theatre; that large, dimly lit space, full of expectant people and they're all there to enjoy the same spectacle.

It's different now. The theatres are smaller, the audiences are smaller and somehow the movies just aren't as good. If the movie starts at 12:45 and you are courteous and arrange it so you are seated in the theatre at that time, you are subjected to fifteen minutes of commercials and trailers of other movies. The volume on the speakers is set at an ear splitting level that I find uncomfortable to the point that I sometimes leave and wait out the fifteen minutes in the lobby. I can hear a gnat fart at a thousand yards and tell you if it's in tune or note. Extremely loud and discordant noise is a form of assault and I don't like being assaulted by people I've paid money to. They insist that the volume levels are set by the movie studios and there's nothing they can do. I heard Ms Bronfman interviewed (she's Canada's movie-theatre queen) and that's what she said when asked. I call bullshit. It's their theatre, their sound system and we're their customers, whose comfort and good will they want. They've got a funny way of showing it. Oh, and the popcorn stinks. You have to work at making bad popcorn, but they've really got the hang of it. It's invariably stale with an off taste that is never improved by the yellow, watery flavouring they put on it. The pop is watery and huge. Roll all of this into a ball and you've got a pissed off, over charged audience who are predisposed not to like what happens next - the movie.

We went to see Bon Cop Bad Cop because of the trailers on TV and the good reviews it seemed to be getting. It was produced by Kevin Tierney, directed by Erik Canuel and the people responsible for the screenplay were Patrick Huard, Kevin Tierney, Leila Basen and Alex Epstein. There are four main players in this story: the two cops and their women. They are Colm Feore (Ontario cop), Patrick Huard (Quebecois cop), Lucie Laurier Quebec cop's ex-wife and Nanette Workman, the Ontario cop's sister.

I like all of these actors. They do a fine job and they are very sympathetic and believable, but Jesus wept, what an abortion of a screenplay. It doesn't hold together at all. It is hokey and relies on Canadian in-jokes, camera effects and a bit of sex and violence. None of this works very well. The two police chiefs are almost imbecilic, the villain is a cartoon character. The guy who plays the villain has no charisma, no charm, no weight and no good lines. I've seen tougher guys sweeping up in McDonald's. The story is poorly developed and it did not get me to suspend disbelief at all. Apparently the villain murders people who have sold Canadian hockey to those evil, gawdless Amuricans. Those aren't the only cliches employed. The two cops are Felix and Oscar, the odd couple. The Quebecer is disheveled, disorganized and late. The Ontarian is just the opposite, of course. Canadian law, Canadian law enforcement practices and hockey lore are sketchy at best. How it is that the villain manages to obtain power over his victims we never know, they just seem to fall haplessly into his clutches. Apparently he kills them with a hockey stick, while wearing a goalie mask. Initially there is a hint that the mask covers some terrible disfigurement, but this is later thrown away, which is sloppy writing.

I applaud the effort devoted to getting this movie shown in main stream Canadian theatres. Hallelujah. I just wish the promoters were promoting a better movie. They picked four nice, talented actors, stirred in a bit of action, camera effects, violence, sex, Canadian in jokes and anti-Americanism and called it a movie.

What a shame. Somebody owes me seven dollars and seventy cents.


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