Published May 12, 2017It's no surprise that 2006's Bon Cop Bad Cop skyrocketed into the pantheon of great Canadian cinema: The film's exploration of Anglo-Franco relations, set to a charming buddy cop comedy was distinctly and uniquely Canadian — a bilingual film about a conspiracy to move major league hockey teams south of the border — without feeling too hokey. (Its $8 million budget, fairly large by national standards, didn't hurt.)
But the original's biggest asset was the rapport between its leads — Colm Feore as by-the-books OPP officer Martin Ward, and Patrick Huard as reckless Francophone detective David Bouchard — who whipped out joke after joke in two languages. Ten years later, much has changed for the characters, but their palpable onscreen chemistry is as engaging as ever, continuing to serve as the sequel's beating heart.
With a brand new plot, strong character development and a new breakout character (Quebecois comedian Mariana Mazza as an unhinged tech wiz named MC), Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 stands on its own, upholding the original's spirit without resorting to shameless cribbing.
Picking up a decade after the original, Ward is a hardened RCMP officer estranged from his son, while Huard is a (re-)married man deep undercover in the heart of a car-stealing ring. Both actors play their new roles convincingly, with Feore imbuing a steely cool into the formerly uptight Ward while Huard compels as a former lone wolf-turned-family man. Despite the role reversal, their charming banter remains, but it's now fluently bilingual.
Revisiting the language barrier as a source of conflict would be a cheap rehash of the original — in this sequel, both Feore and Huard get to show off their bilingualism, the pair's conflict now steeped in Ward's superiority as a federal officer while Bouchard remains provincial. All the while, the characters retain their familiarity, showcasing the strength of the leads both individually and in tandem.
But while Bon Cop Bad Cop was a charming send-up of Quebec-Ontario relations, the sequel's political commentary leads to its weakest moments. The film's take on American Islamophobia and generalized incompetence south of the border comes with a sense of smarmy condescension — while no one is commending the U.S. for social progress these days, the film completely ignores Canada's own history of Islamophobia, especially in Quebec, home of star/screenwriter Huard. What could have been an important look inward was instead spent doling out a couple of cheap shots at our neighbours.
In the end, however, it's all about Ward and Bouchard and the compelling interplay between Feore and Huard — though not the spot-on commentary the original was, Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 provides a step forward for the duo, furthering their stories in a fresh, engaging way.