DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Cop Secret

This unevenly plotted Icelandic cop action-comedy has laughs galore, a great villain and an affirming message at its heart - from the BFI London Film Festival

This Scandinavian movie answers one of the most important questions of our time: what if Tango and Cash, from Tango and Cash (Andrei Konchalovsky, 1989), were also lovers? Taking the homoerotic subtext of 80s and 90s buddy cop thrillers and putting it at the heart of the movie, this cop parody posits a new kind of hard-boiled masculinity for the 21st century. While ultimately an uneven take on the beloved genre, Cop Secret is a slick, at time hilarious production that shows off a lighter side to the usually dour and stoically-depicted Nordic nation.

Bussi (Auðunn Blöndal) is the toughest cop in Reykjavik, opening the film with blatant disregard for rules, restrictions and different jurisdictions. He’s your typical alpha-male, unwashed protagonist, a bald, leather-jacketed, jäger-swilling, punch-first-ask-questions-later kind of guy who represents an absolute nightmare for the police HR department.

The Sylvester Stallone to his Kurt Russell is the wealthy, metrosexual, impeccably-groomed, openly polyamorous and proudly pansexual Hördur (Egill Einersson). He’s already rich and speaks 15 languages fluently (it would be sixteen but he chose not to learn Danish on principle). Together they fight for supremacy of Iceland: when meeting at the heart of a robbery Bussi asks if Kenny Rogers is playing while Hördur asks if he’s at a casino. Nonetheless, they are both ultimately respectful of each other’s excellent police work and soon find their personal and professional lives tangling.

Villain Rikki (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson) is purposefully Europacorp-satirising Eurotrash, talking in English with an accent that feels like a parody of a Trump parody. Haraladsson’s performance is deeply inspired, deliberately bizarre and filled with pointless anecdotes about animal behaviour. It’s the only part of the movie that feels truly cut loose, channelling that raw energy that makes something like Tango and Cash, a complete mess of a movie that’s nonetheless utterly brilliant as a result, so unique.

The American influences, ranging from Lethal Weapon (Richard Donner, 1987) to The Other Guys (Adam McKay, 2010) are pretty pronounced, and the overall tone so polished, Dwayne Johnson — recently himself riffing off this same genre with the rather uneven Hobbs and Shaw (David Leitch, 2019)could turn up and it wouldn’t feel incongruous. Nonetheless, while American cop comedies thrive off gay panic jokes, baiting audiences with subtext before a Mark Wahlberg-type shouts he’s not “really gay” so everyone can understand he’s still a cool Boston cop, Cop Secret actually goes the extra mile, normalising the concept of a an alpha male cop who can be gay while beating the shit out of bad guys.

The ultimate scheme of the bad guys is mostly irrelevant — something to do with hacking, a football game and a gold reserve — and makes little to no ultimate sense. Thankfully, this satire manages to nail the basics of good, clean action choreography, realising that it has to look like the real deal in order to work at all. While the relatively smaller Icelandic budget sometimes shows in rushed CGI backgrounds and the odd awkward edit, director Hannes Þór Halldórsson (who usually spends his time in goal for the Icelandic national team!) has studied the basics of the genre well, resulting in a fun and easy film to kick back to with a couple of drinks in hand.

Cop Secret played in Concorso internazionale at Locarno Film Festival, when this piece was originally written. It premieres in the UK in October as part of the BFI London Film Festival.

By Redmond Bacon - 10-08-2021

Redmond’s tastes are pretty diverse – from the neglected cop classic Tango and Cash (Andrei Konchalovsky,1989) the lesbian drama Show Me Love (Lukas Moodysson, 1998) to Scorsese’s best film:...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Sexual diversity is at the very heart of [Read More...]
Films quotes are very powerful not just because [Read More...]

Read More

FIRST TIME [The Time for All but Sunset – VIOLET]

Nicolaas Schmidt

Redmond Bacon - 10-08-2021

Arthouse drama expertly uses a circle train in Hamburg to represent the painful feeling of romantic tension - live from Locarno [Read More...]

Locarno 2021 preview: a return to the magic of in-person discovery


Redmond Bacon - 03-08-2021

After a year break, the return of an in-person Locarno has this critic feeling both excited and a tad trepidatious. Read our preview now! [Read More...]


Alexander Zeldovich

Redmond Bacon - 10-08-2021

A modern myth for the Russian expat generation, this film excels due to the great command of tone by actress Tinatin Dalakishvili - live from Locarno [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *