Eight years ago, the French-Canadian action-comedy movie Father and Guns was a massive blockbuster. While a similar movie like Good Cop, Bad Cop managed to reinvent itself for a stunning sequel, the makers of Father and Guns decided to stick to the exact same formula again. The plot is almost exactly the same as in the first movie: Two police officers, an overambitious father and a troubled son, infiltrate a boot camp to get some information from a collaborator of Montreal's organized crime scene. The main difference between the two movies is that the first film focused on a boot camp for difficult relationships between fathers and sons while the second film portrays a boot camp for couples where the son participates with his girlfriend while his father acts as driver and psychologist.
Despite its repetitive formula, the movie works surprisingly well and is even a slight improvement over the first film in my opinion. The movie starts with a gripping and sinister opening sequence and then switches to a fast-paced scene with two amazing jokes that immediately get you into the movie. The pace of this second instalment is faster, the humour is more on point and the acting has also improved. Louis-José Houde has improved his wooden and stereotypical acting skills from the first part and his new on-screen partner Karine Vanasse is a much more versatile actress than Caroline Dhavernas in the first film. The movie focuses even more on lead actor Michel Côté than the first film as he incarnates an ambitious police officer, an emotional lover, a quiet driver, a radical psychologist, a sentimental loner and a tough father all at once. This idea pays off because both the character and the actor are very interesting.
On the negative side, the side characters and the activities in the boot camp are too similar compared to the first movie. There are some positive exceptions like the hilarious lesbian couple and the discussion about parents in the woods but these parts of the film are overall the least interesting ones. It was a good choice to focus more on what happens in between the boot camp sequences like the hilarious Scandinavian and Thai approaches. The finale was a little bit too predictable but didn't overstay its welcome.
Despite its obvious and predictable flaws, the second instalment of Father and Guns is a positive surprise and a movie with improved acting performances, vivid action sequences, focused emotional moments, hilarious jokes and a solid dose of tension. The film entertains from start to finish. It might not beat the second instalment of Good Cop, Bad Cop this year but it underlines the fact that this might be the most successful year in French-Canadian cinema in a very long time.
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