10 December 2007

"Shoot first, translate later."

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I've been meaning to watch this movie forever, but I kept putting off ordering from Amazon. However, thanks to our friends at the AMPTP, I figured the easiest way to keep up the boycott of American DVDs was to Buy Canadian™. So it worked out all around.

Alex Epstein co-wrote the screenplay, and I was really looking forward to seeing how his works translate to the screen (because I do NOT have a bootleg copy of Charlie Jade downloaded from a torrent and have never seen Naked Josh.) I've learned a lot from his blog and books; here was a chance to see his craft(y) in action.

So Sunday afternoon I'm finishing up an upgrade of my desktop OS. I come out to the family room and TheWife's got a schmaltzy, feel-good holiday movie running on the Disney Channel. Turns out, it really was schmaltz: Full-Court Miracle. Really bad movie. But...TheWife likes her bad movies and when I sat down, it was two seconds before my buddy Dan Willmott's all-too brief scene. So I was invested. Damn you, Dan!

Suffice it to say, the oil in the backup generator lasted longer than expected and the little Maccabees had time to pull off their miraculous comeback against the crosstown Warriors. Yes. It was a Hanukkah miracle. Oy.

Okay. Enough schmaltz. I needed to cleanse my palette with a pair of mismatched buddies, some vulgarity, brief nudity, and lots of blood. Woohoo! Bon Cop Bad Cop into the DVD player!

First, my one and only complaint. While I can't discount the possibility that my tuner or speaker setup is to blame, for I do have this problem to a lesser extent with other discs, the audio mix on this disc sucked. Music and FX so loud they rattled the windows with the volume turned up appropriately for dialog. And no, I don't stand on my porch screaming at the kids to turn down their music. This mix was bad.

Okay, now on to the good.

And boy howdy was it good. The movie's much, much funnier than I expected. On a continuum from 48 Hours to Beverly Hills Cop I was expecting this to fall to closer to Nolte and Murphy. Instead, it shocked me and landed a lot closer to Reinhold and Murphy. And that's a good thing.

Any movie that can give me a dead body torn in half by a couple of bickering cops in the first 15 minutes is going to be high on my list. Higher still when they bicker in two languages!!! Unfortunately my French is as rusty as something or another made of iron that's been allowed to oxidize for a really long time, so I was compelled to leave on the English subtitles*, but the bilingualism is so central, so important to the movie that I was happy to be awash in the competing tongues.

One of my favorite scenes has our heroes - uptight Ontario detective Martin Ward (Colm Feore) and rogue Quebecois detective David Bouchard (Patrick Huard, who also wrote the story) discussing the forms, uses, and conjugation of a French word (I'll need to watch again to catch it and confirm, but it was one of the more colorful 'fuck's, I believe) all while beating a suspect to get him to fit in the trunk of Bouchard's car. Y'all should know how I feel: any linguistic humor is gold. Coupled with Stooge-level physical abuse like here, and I'm in heaven.

As this is a Canadian production, you know there has to be maple syrup, mounties, and hockey. It's a legal requirement. At least it is to get any government funding. That's what Epstein and Jim Henshaw and Dennis McGrath seem to imply, anyway. So it was with no small sense of mirth that syrup was poured on french toast, the buddies were only thrown together in order to keep the RCMP from taking over the initial murder (complex jurisdiction, what with the victim being impaled on a road sign between the provinces,) and the murders are all about hockey. Maybe I read too much into those things, but it felt like a thumb in Ontario's eye.

Get the movie. Seriously. Click above, buy a copy, and laugh your ass off. Assuming you find blood, bullets, and bilingual barbs amusing.

Oh yeah. Why did I bring up the bad holiday basketball movie when I started this review? Because it too was a Canadian production. So Martin Ward's teen-age son was also one of the mini-Maccabees. Such tonally (and quality-wise) different movies back to back, sharing an actor (albeit in two small roles) boned my funny tickler.

* There are three ways to watch the movie on the DVD: with English subtitles; with French subtitles; and with no subtitles.