Considering Hollywood’s blood-thirst for releasing sequels to box office hits, the ten-year wait to capitalize on Bon Cop Bad Cop‘s commercial success is just so Canadian. That 2006 film was all over the map, a satirical action/comedy/thriller that roasted buddy cop movies, Anglophone/Francophone tensions, and Canadian hockey culture. Despite its ambition, Bon Cop Bad Cop doesn’t work as an action movie or a comedy, but Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 isn’t the same cheeky farce as its predecessor, and it’s a better movie for it. Bon Cop Bad Cop 2‘s tighter script plants the film in a well-tread buddy cop movie groove, and the result is a much more focused film.
It’s been eight years since that fateful day when Martin Ward (Colm Feore) and David Bouchard (Patrick Huard) discovered a murder victim straddling the Ontario/Quebec border. Forced to team up, the duo’s reluctant partnership blossomed into a mutual respect, and eventually friendship. Eight years is a long time, and during that span the two men drifted apart. Ward, now a federal officer for the RCMP, is out one night busting a car theft ring, and in the middle of the bust he encounters Bouchard, deep undercover amidst a year-long operation. So that they can pool their resources and take down the operation’s higher ups, Ward opts not to blow Bouchard’s cover, but shortly after joining forces, Ward and Bouchard discover a larger conspiracy encompassing crime bosses, terrorist organizations, and covert government agencies.
For 90% of the first film, Ward and Bouchard’s relationship was all about one-upping each other. Every scene had the two men throwing shade at each other and dropping snark-bombs like they were at a Comedy Central Roast. Despite noble efforts from Feore and Huard, the rivalry feels like the Dollarama version of better buddy cop movies such as 48 Hours, Rush Hour, and Bad Boys. The biggest difference between the first film and its sequel is that in Bon Cop Bad Cop 2, right from the onset, Ward and Bouchard are, as the kids say, super-bros. When they first cross paths, there’s some of the silly one-upmanship prevalent in the first movie, but after the initial machismo outbursts are out of their systems, it’s all love and respect for one another. Ward and Bouchard aren’t just co-workers – they’re friends, and the characters’ camaraderie enlivens every moment of screen time they share.
The new, friendly dynamic between Ward and Bouchard is the most enjoyable aspect of the film, because it plays to each character’s strengths. Both men are noble, charming, and charismatic, and the series is 42% less enjoyable every time they’re dicks to one another. Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 kicks into another gear when Ward and Bouchard join forces and troll criminals. The same contrived dickishness that didn’t really work in the first movie functions perfectly when they’re picking on bad guys together. It took a film and a half, but director Alain Desrochers and Huard (also the screenwriter) stumbled into something special. I would pay to watch a third installment if it meant more scenes where Ward and Bouchard unite their trolling powers like a bastardly Voltron.
I walked away from Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 most impressed with Feore’s performance as Martin Ward. Since the last film, Ward has experienced drastic changes in his life, both personally and professionally. He’s no longer the Bon cop that he was before, and Feore dives into the role full force, running through a gamut of emotions. We watch Feore go from Mel Gibson Lethal Weapon-crazy to Mel Gibson late-night-drunk-dialing-an-ex distraught. There are a couple moments where Feore’s performance is so moving that it wouldn’t be out of place in an Oscar-bait film; Feore’s dedication to his craft is that on point. The man is a national treasure.
Despite the film’s improvement over the original, it still has a long way to go to compete for first-class buddy cop movie status. Bon Cop Bad Cop 2‘s action is less than spectacular, and the jokes miss as often as they hit. Feore and Huard’s strong performances counterbalance the fairly basic plot…somewhat, but Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 has its share of predictable beats, which will be a problem for some people. Movies feel corny and derivative when you can see plot twists coming from the first act.
I didn’t enjoy Bon Cop Bad Cop at all. That film felt like a two–hour gag better served as a Kids in the Hall sketch. I do my best to go into every screening with an open mind, but Bon Cop Bad Cop 2‘s 126-minute running time tested my optimistic outlook. Fortunately, I left pleasantly surprised.
The action scenes aren’t anything to write home about, and the jokes didn’t make me laugh out loud, but Feore and Huard’s comical rapport kept a silly grin planted on my face for most of the film. It took a decade and a new writer/director combo for Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 to do what most franchises never accomplish: make a satisfying course-correction. Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 reinvigorates the series by making Ward and Bouchard allies rather than adversaries. Whereas the first film is buddy cop movie pastiche, Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 offers up an earnest story with a touch of soul.