Bon Cop, Bad Cop is a 2006 Canadian dark comedy-thriller buddy cop film about two police officers – one Ontarian and one Québécois – who reluctantly join forces to solve a murder. The dialogue is a mixture of English and French. The title is a translation word play on the phrase "Good cop/bad cop".
A sequel, Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2, was filmed in 2016 and released in May 2017.
When a body is found hanging on top of the sign demarcating the Ontario-Quebec border, police officers from both Canadian provinces must join forces to solve the murder. David Bouchard (Patrick Huard) is a rule-bending, francophone detective for the Sûreté du Québec, while Martin Ward (Colm Feore) is a by-the-book anglophone Ontario Provincial Police detective. The bilingual detectives must resolve their professional and cultural differences as well as their bigotry and prejudices.
The body is identified as Benoit Brisset, a hockey executive. The clues lead the pair to Luc Therrien (Sylvain Marcel) at a roadside bar. After a fight in the bar, they imprison him in the trunk of Bouchard's car. Bouchard has promised to watch his daughter's ballet recital, so he drives to the recital and parks the car in front with Therrien still locked in the trunk. When they emerge, they find the car being towed from the no-parking zone, and as they try to chase down the truck driver, the car explodes.
With their prime witness dead, they decide to search Therrien's house where they find a large marijuana grow-op in the basement. They also discover another body, a former hockey team owner. A laser tripwire is activated by Bouchard, which sets the house on fire, destroying the house and causing the two cops to get high on the fumes of the burning marijuana. When they are disciplined by Bouchard's police chief shortly afterwards, he angrily removes them from the case after they start laughing hysterically because they're still high.
The next victim is discovered in Toronto. They realize that the killer has a pattern of tattooing his victims, with each tattoo providing a clue to the next murder victim. Each murder is in some way connected to major league hockey. (The film uses thinly disguised parodies of National Hockey League teams, owners and players, however, rather than the real league). The pair anticipate the next victim, but he goes missing before they reach him. Ward and Bouchard appear on a hockey broadcast to warn people in the hockey community to be vigilant. The "Tattoo Killer" calls in to the show and threatens the two police officers, causing a brawl between them and the anchor (played by Rick Mercer) when they attempt to hang up.
Ward is attacked in his home by a masked assailant whom he discovers is Therrien. Meanwhile, Bouchard has sex with Ward's sister.
The "Tattoo Killer" kidnaps Bouchard's daughter, leading to the final confrontation with the two policemen. It is ultimately revealed that the murders are being committed by a bilingual portly hockey fan (Luc Therrien), as previously mentioned, under the direction and unequal partnership of a sadistic, psychopathic, sociopathic, fan of the notion of the game of hockey as a Canadian nationalistic symbol that he feels is being permanently corrupted by attempts to move ownership of Canadian teams to venture capitalist groups in the United States. He is therefore having Therrien commit the murders along with him (with the tattoos as a signature), as revenge against the hockey league for desecrating the game by moving Canadian teams such as the "Quebec Fleur de Lys" to the United States. They try to reason with him that hockey is just a game, but this only angers him. Ward distracts the man while Bouchard unties his daughter. After a fight, the killer is blown up by one of his own explosives. During the credits, a news report is shown, revealing that the hockey teams will not be moved.
Bon Cop, Bad Cop claimed to be Canada's first bilingual feature film, although that accomplishment in fact belongs to Amanita Pestilens (1963). Since the film revolves around the concept of mixed cultures and languages, most scenes include a mixture of French and English dialogue, with characters switching language rapidly. The entire movie was filmed using both a French and an English script, and the language used at each moment was finalized only later, during editing. The film was then released in two official versions, one for Anglophones and one for Francophones, which differ only in their subtitles and in a few spoken lines. On DVD, the film has multiple subtitle options, including every line in either English, in French, or in their respective languages; just the French lines in English (as released theatrically in English-speaking Canada) and vice versa (as released theatrically in French-speaking Canada); and an option for no subtitles for bilingual viewers.
- In the first scene in which we meet David Bouchard, his ex-wife walks into his apartment and Bouchard says "Bon matin...tout le monde." This means "Good morning...everyone," acknowledging her breasts.
- The Québécois stand up comic Louis-José Houde has a minor supporting role in the film, playing Jeff, the coroner in charge of explaining the causes of the death of the first victim. In a truculent monologue very typical of his type of swift verbal humour, Houde delivers his diagnosis. Martin Ward understands only half of this verbal logorrhea, partly delivered in joual, but is reassured when Bouchard tells him that he too understood only half of it (due in his case to the technical jargon) and that hopefully their halves are not the same half.
- When Jeff is updating the cops on Rita's autopsy, he mentions that Rita spelled backwards is "atir", which in French sounds like the present tense for 'attract'. It is an instance of double entendre, however, as the word also sounds like the Joual pronunciation of "elle tire" ("she pulls"; in Joual elle is often contracted to à), implying masturbation.
- When Luc Therrien, played by Sylvain Marcel, puts on the mascot outfit in the washroom, he poses in front of a mirror and utters the line "Are you talkin' to me?", a parody of a similar scene in Taxi Driver. However, he also says "Ah-ha!", a reference to Marcel's tagline in the popular commercials for the Familiprix chain of drugstores.
- The line "Vive le Québec libre" uttered during the sex scene between David and Iris is an allusion to an encouragement to Quebec sovereigntists made by French President Charles de Gaulle on the balcony of Montreal City Hall in 1967. The phrase inflamed Quebec separatists at the time.
- The scenes introducing Ward play on Québécois stereotypes of English Canadians (and Torontonians in particular) as boring or uncool. Examples include Ward ironing his pants in his kitchen while otherwise formally dressed for work, and his desire for a desk job. The film endorses the fanciful stereotype of an English Canadian obsession with the monarchy and Queen Elizabeth II.
- In an aside, Bouchard makes fun of the Anglo name "Ward", which resembles the actor's real name (Huard).
- When Bouchard's car explodes, (presumably) killing the suspect that was in the trunk, a totally stressed out Ward produces a brief series of joual swear words. The pronunciation of them, in his mix of international French and posh English accent, builds an irresistible comic effect between his classy verbal delivery and the vulgarity of the line.
- The name of the director of the Sûreté du Québec is Capitaine Leboeuf (Literally: "Captain Ox"). "Boeuf" (ox), pronounced beu, is Quebec French slang for "cop".
- Bouchard's erratic driving is a reference to long-standing Canadian jokes about the dangers of driving in Montreal, and of Quebec drivers in general.
- When Bouchard and Ward meet in Ontario at the scene of the dead agent of hockey's top draft pick in 1995, Ward says of Bouchard to one of his police officers "He is from Quebec", and the other one has a small "says it all" laugh.
Equal opportunity parody
- When Ward and Bouchard arrive at the heliport, Ward's division of French-English language jurisdictions ("...with the possible exception of some areas in New Brunswick") and the formal language he uses in doing so are allusions to the Canadian Constitution and its official language provisions.
- The Canadian stand-up comic Rick Mercer has a minor supporting role in the film as Tom Berry, a loudmouthed, bigoted and racist television sportscaster, who is a parody of real-life Canadian hockey commentator Don Cherry.
- Similarly, the character of Harry Buttman is a parody of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, and hockey team owners Michel Grossbut and Pickleton are parodies of Marcel Aubut and Peter Pocklington respectively.
- The top draft pick of 1995 refers to Eric Lindros, who in fact was the NHL's top draft pick in 1991, not 1995. Lindros was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques, but refused to play for the team and was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. In a situation similar to Lindros, the top pick in 1995 was Bryan Berard, an American defenceman who refused to play for the Ottawa Senators and was dealt to the New York Islanders in a three-team trade in January 1996. Coincidentally, Lindros won the Hart Trophy in 1995.
- When Ward explains that the draft pick fell and suffered a concussion, Bouchard says "What, again?" This is a reference to the series of concussions that plagued Lindros's career.
- In a way reminiscent of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, the film plays upon divisions of class as well as language in Canada; Bouchard is working-class, while Ward was educated at university and at Upper Canada College. Similarly, Bouchard speaks joual, a lower-class sociolect of the French language, while Ward speaks Canadian Dainty, a rarely heard, decidedly upper-class register of English, as well as French with a Parisian accent (due to having lived there).
Exhibition and box office
The film opened in Quebec on August 4, 2006 (and Canada-wide on August 18) and, as of December 17, 2006, had grossed $12,665,721 US ($12,578,327 CAD), making it one of the highest-grossing Canadian films of all time domestically. While the film has only generated only $1.3 million outside of Quebec, its success is significant given the difficulties that Canadian films normally face at the box office in English Canada.
In October 2006, Bon Cop, Bad Cop's producers claimed that the film had become the highest-grossing Canadian film domestically, surpassing the $11.2 million teen comedy Porky's earned in Canada in 1981. However, the numbers were later disputed as not having taken inflation into account.
The film was released on DVD in Canada on December 19, 2006.
Awards and recognition
|Wikinews has related news: Canada's best films of 2006 honoured at Genie Awards|
The film won in two of its ten nominated categories for the 27th Genie Awards in 2007:
- Best motion picture
- Overall sound
Its other nominated categories were:
- Best actor: Colm Feore
- Best actor: Patrick Huard
- Direction: Eric Canuel
- Art Direction/Production Design: Jean Bécotte
- Cinematography: Bruce Chun
- Editing: Jean-François Bergeron
- Sound editing
- Original song: "Tattoo", Éric Lapointe
The film was also nominated for four Canadian Comedy Awards in 2007, winning three:
- Best Direction
- Best Writing
- Best Actor (Colm Feore)
Its other nominated category was:
- Best Actor (Patrick Huard)
The film also won the 'billet d'or' (golden ticket) at Quebec's 2007 Jutra Awards. This award is given to the film with the highest box-office success.
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- Rabinowitz, Mark (November 21, 2006). "Beauty in Trouble" and "Kurt Cobain: About a Son" Take Top Denver Fest Prizes. IndieWire. Retrieved on August 3, 2009.
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