After an 11 year wait, fans of the 2006 buddy cop comedy Bon Cop, Bad Cop were finally treated to its sequel earlier this year. I reviewed the original a number of weeks ago, which I found to be a witty, perceptive cross-cultural twist on the buddy cop formula, standing, in my opinion, as Canada’s best response to the Lethal Weapon series. While more of the same banter between two likeable leads helps this 2017 sequel avoid the same level of disappointment seen in Goon: Last of the Enforcers, Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2 nonetheless lacks a great deal of its predecessor’s creative bite, owing mainly to a formulaic narrative that requires more suspension of disbelief than should really be necessary.
Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2 once again unites the unlikely duo of David Bouchard (Patrick Huard) and Martin Ward (Colm Feore), as they find their respective investigations overlapping in a comically coincidental manner. This time around, they are investigating a car-jacking ring, though the two detectives sense there is a greater crime afoot, given the big-time players involved. Of course, all the while Bouchard and Ward are trying to balance the investigation with the complicated happenings of their own personal lives.
If my summary above sounds at all familiar to you, that is because it is not just the same thing seen in the first installment (but different!), but in many a buddy cop sequel. Churning out a truly original, standout idea in film today is almost comparable to reinventing the wheel; there is a defined structure considered to be the best form of storytelling (beginning, middle, and end). It is the duty of both the screenwriter and director, then, to at least make the audience forget about how similar it is to every other genre film they have seen, or deliberately draw our attention to it for comical effect. Unfortunately, neither Huard (who is the sequel’s sole screenwriter) nor director Alain Desroches do enough to make me forget how ‘been there, done that’ the film’s overall story is.
Although there is generally very little creative ingenuity seen in the film’s more comedic scenarios, there are still a few exceptions. Most notable is an interrogation of the French-Canadian Bouchard by the dim-witted sheriff of a small US town near the Canadian border, as his culturally ignorant deputies watch on with their own running commentary. This scene shows great comedic timing from Huard as both actor and screenwriter, while Desroches’ direction impressively elevates the scene’s biting satire of US law enforcement.
I only wish I had seen more of this creative flare, instead of the numerous uninspired moments that are typical of lazy filmmaking. I mean, why would a car that is supposed to blow up, unbeknownst to the driver, have a screen that starts insidiously counting down from a minute? Simply acknowledging the ridiculousness of this scenario would have served as an entertaining instance of self-awareness in line with its predecessor, but instead it just devolves into the very cliché it wants to parody.
Thankfully, Huard’s dialogue is better than his scene structuring, as the language-flipping interplay between the two veteran leads is almost as strong as the 2006 installment, proving to be the sequel’s saving grace. This makes Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2 a moderately respectable follow-up, but one that nonetheless tends to buckle under the pressure of its own expectations.