Bon Cop, Bad Cop is a 2006 Canadian comedy-thriller buddy cop film about English Canadian and Québécois police officers who reluctantly join forces. The dialogue is a mixture of English and French. The title is a translation word play on the phrase "Good cop/Bad cop".
When a dead 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. Although both detectives are bilingual, they 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 booby trap 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. He was about to appear on a hockey talk show, and the two cops chase him off.
Ward is attacked in his home by a masked assailant whom he discovers is Therrien. Meanwhile, Bouchard makes love to 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 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
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. The DVD also includes an option for bilingual viewers to switch off all subtitles.
- 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...to all of you," a reference to his ex-wife's 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 humor, Houde delivers his diagnostic. 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 half is not the same half.
- When Jeff is updating the cops on Rita's autopsy, he mentions that Rita spelled backwards is "atir." This sounds like attire (from French verb "attirer", literally: "to attract"), which in Quebec French, means that she is "(sexually) very good".
- 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. Although the film indicates otherwise, the phrase is in fact notorious among English Canadians.
- 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 stereotype of an English Canadian obsession with the monarchy and the Queen.
- 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") in Quebec French means "cop".
- The Canadian stand-up comic Rick Mercer has a minor supporting role in the film as Tom Berry, a loudmouthed, bigoted 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 Benoit Grossbut and Pickleton are parodies of Marcel Aubut and Peter Pocklington respectively.
- 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 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.
- 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. The player in question is actually a reference 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. Ironically enough in a situation similar to Lindros, the top pick in 1995 was Bryan Berard, an American defenseman who refused to play for the Ottawa Senators and was dealt to the New York Islanders.
- When in the same scene, Ward explains that the player fell and suffered a concussion. Bouchard says "What, again?" This is a reference to the series of concussions that plagued Lindros's career.
Hockey Personalities/Teams parodied and referenced
Exhibition and box office
The film opened in Quebec on August 4
(and Canada-wide on August 18
) and, as of December 17
, had grossed $12,665,721 USD
), 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 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. The claim, however, does not take into consideration inflation: Porky's domestic gross in 2006 dollars is approximately $24.2 million, still far ahead of Bon Cop, Bad Cop; the latter is thus likely the third highest-grossing Canadian film domestically after Porky's and 1970s Deux femmes en or.
The film was released on DVD in Canada on December 19, 2006.
The film has not been released theatrically outside Canada, although it has been screened at film festivals in the United States, France , Australia
. In June 2007, it was shown on Cuban television - the Spanish subtitles struggled to convey the bilingualism.
Awards and recognition
The film won in two of its ten nominated categories for the 27th Genie Awards
- Best motion picture
- Overall sound
Its other nominated categories were: