Review by Sean Boelman
A parody can be quite funny if it utilizes the tropes of the genre in a way that is funny and insightful. While the Icelandic film Cop Secret offers a few interesting spins on the genre, it is largely generic in its plotting and characterization, making it fall flat despite its potential.
The movie tells the story of Iceland’s toughest cop who struggles with his personal identity when he is assigned a new partner in a case involving a string of inexplicable bank robberies in which nothing is stolen. It’s an attempt at satirizing a genre that pumps out B-movies seemingly weekly, so it should be pretty funny in theory.
However, in execution, it falls victim to many of the cliches that it attempts to parody. The mystery at the center of the film is about as boring as they come, with stakes that are massive but never feel particularly urgent. And the movie isn’t nearly tongue-in-cheek enough for it to work in that regard.
One of the aspects of the film that shows a lot of potential is the gay romance subplot, but the movie is not nearly developed enough in that regard. It’s clearly meant to be a commentary on the aggressively toxic masculinity of many of the films of the genre, but it ends up feeling like little more than a noble attempt.
The character development in the movie is also riddled with cliches. Although there are some compelling aspects of the protagonist’s story, the only thing that makes his arc unique is the sexual awakening he experiences. And his partner-turned-love-interest isn’t much more well-written.
The cast as a whole is certainly giving it their all, but they are playing to the archetypes. Auðunn Blöndal and Egill Einarsson have very clear roles that they are playing, and they do some things that are quite funny within the context of their performances, but their schtick grows monotonous quite quickly.
Director Hannes Þór Halldórsson is replicating a very particular style, and he does so well, but the result is a film that still looks overwhelmingly cheap. In parodying B-movies and making a B-movie themselves, it’s tremendously ugly to look at. And even more disappointing is that the action sequences are underwhelming.
There are some aspects of Cop Secret that show the potential to do something interesting with the genre’s tropes, but it ends up being too similar to the things that it parodies. The idea of a gay buddy cop movie isn’t ever delivered upon in a compelling way.
Cop Secret is now in theaters and hits VOD on July 12.
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