Here’s why the 2006 Canadian action/comedy film Bon Cop, Bad Cop should be on your hockey movie bucket list.
Starring Patrick Huard and Colm Feore (Thor, Face-Off), the main plot is about how two detectives — one from French-speaking Quebec (Huard) and the other from English speaking Ontario (Feore) must work together to solve a murder — and neither are very happy about it. Similar to films where the local or state police are begrudgingly forced to work with the FBI in the United States, Bon Cop, Bad Cop (translated in Engish to mean Good Cop, Bad Cop) is the Canadian twist on that theme. But in addition to rival police forces, this film boasts rival cultures with the protagonists coming from Quebec — where French is spoken — and Ontario, where English is spoken. Released in two different versions — one for Anglophones and one for Francophones — both film versions are nearly identical with the exception of the subtitles and minor edits.
The Murderer in the Goalie Mask
Hockey is in the movie right from the start as there’s a tv in the background where a commentator is discussing recent goings-on in the league. In that same room, occasionally glancing at the tv, is a man wearing a goalie mask, busy working with a tattoo gun, tattooing what ends up being his first victim, a player’s agent. Before a death blow – made with a hockey stick to the back of the head, the man awakes and, terrified, recognizes the man holding him captive, who’s told it’s because he did nothing.
Fast forward into the next scene, that same man’s dead body is found hanging over a sign at the Ontario/Quebec border that, on one side, welcomes visitors to Quebec and on the other side, thanks the folks for visiting Ontario. Because of the location of the body — in both province’s jurisdiction, the two detectives need to work together to solve the case — the scruffy, divorced, French-speaking detective played by Huard (David Bouchard) and the uptight, turtleneck-wearing English-speaking single-father played by Feore (Martin Ward). In addition to playing with stereotypes from both cultures, the movie pokes fun at the often strained relationship between Quebec and English Canada, and includes some insights into opinions each has to the other’s culture and gives lessons on French profanities and not just what the words and phrases mean in English, but how they can be conjugated, made reflexive (i.e. things that you can do to yourself) and used as nouns — which may come in very handy for your next trip to watch the Habs play in Montreal.
Crazed Hockey Fan
Co-written by Huard, a famous Quebecois stand-up comic who often tours his home province with sell-out shows (for audiences of 18+) and directed by Eric Canuel, it turns out that the serial killer is a crazed hockey fan, upset that Canadian hockey teams are being sold to the USA and tries to right the wrongs by murdering those responsible. That makes for not just an interesting plot, but it’s fun for hockey fans because of its inclusion of thinly-disguised NHL real-life characters, with names like Pickelton and Buttman that are bound to make you smile — Harry Buttman, the league’s commissioner, is portrayed by 4’7″ Rick Howland. Clues to who the Tattoo Killer will kill next are left on the cadavers by the tattoos he inks into their skin.
The movie is available for view online with Netflix and iTunes Canada and is available for purchase on DVD through Amazon or other online outlets. The DVD version gives you both language versions (different subtitles) or an option to have all subtitles turned off, perfect for anyone who wants to brush up on their French — or English. Hitting 67% on the Tomatometer by Rotten Tomatoes – and an Audience rating of 82%, it’s thrilling, funny with the hockey sub-plot bonus, which you’ll get some giggles from too. Rated “R” as the movie does contain violence, profane language — as well as a sex scene you might to watch out for. The scene isn’t just steamy, but hilarious too as it’s between Ward’s English-speaking-only sister Iris (Sarain Boylan [Saw IV] ) and Bouchard, which ends in her suddenly speaking French, screaming out “Vive le Quebec libre” (long live a free Quebec) at the end of their tryst, a phrase made famous during French President Charles de Gaulle‘s visit to Montreal for Expo ’67, in a speech which sparked an international incident as well as the separatist movement in the province.
Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2 – Coming Soon
There will be more to look forward to, too, as Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2 has just received the funding it needs for filming. Written this time completely by Huard, the film, which will be directed by Alain Desrochers, will be about a ring of car thieves/terrorists and will bring the two central characters of Bouchard and Ward, now friends, back together again, years after their first case together. And why not? Bon Cop, Bad Cop cost $8 million to produce and was a box office hit, grossing over $12 million. In addition, Huard and Feore work very well together, and are fun to watch.
Bring it on! Allons-y!