Thursday, 13 July 2017

ANOTHER WOLFCOP - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Glorious Hoser-Horror-Comedy at Fantasia

All-Canadian Lycanthropic Crime Fighter

Another WolfCop (2017)
Dir. Lowell Dean
Starring: Leo Fafard, Amy Matysio, Jonathan Cherry, Yannick Bisson, Devery Jacobs

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Beer guzzling small-town cop Lou Garou (Leo Fafard) is back in action in this sequel to the promising, but flawed WolfCop. Imagine, if you will, a horror-comedy franchise involving a crime-fighting werewolf? Great idea! Happily, this is a sequel that outdoes its predecessor a thousand-fold and rights many of the original's wrongs - and then some. Another WolfCop (not sure I'm crazy about this dullsville title) opens with an amazing action set piece - beautifully realized on every level - in which Lou is chasing down a truckload of heavily armed bank robber types (played by members of the Astron-6 filmmaking collective). Tires screeching, guns a-blazing and eventually, some delectable gore inflicted upon the bad guys by our lycanthropic hero, set the stage for one of the most giddily infectious combinations of gloriously crude Canadian Hoser Humour and plenty of horror movie tropes (and homages-galore, of course).

This new film offers up a delightful antagonist in the form of Swallows (Yannick Bisson), an industrialist planning to open a brewery and launch a new hockey team in the economically challenged town of Woodhaven, Saskatchewan. On the surface, this all seems mighty positive, but his real plans are (of course) nefarious. It's up to WolfCop, the babe-o-licious Chief Tina (Amy Matysio) and conspiracy-theory buddy Willie (Jonathan Cherry) to save the day.

The ribald rural humour is of the highest order - it's laugh-out-loud funny and certainly gives the classic SCTV Bob and Doug McKenzie a decent run for their money. It also has the funniest alien anal intrusion line I've ever heard: "They fuckin' violated me!" The magnificent delivery of it is thanks to the comic genius of actor Jonathan Cherry.

His is not the only first-rate piece of acting on display. Yannick Bisson, who stars in the utterly intolerable TV series "Murdoch's Mysteries", gives his staid, pole-up-the-butt Canuck detective persona a wonderful makeover as one of the scuzziest (and funniest) villains I've seen in some time. It's also great seeing Matysio back in action also - with a job promotion no less. Her straight-up line readings with no-tongue-in-cheek offer comedy (and heroism) in spades. Devery Jacobs offers babe-cop support with her lovely turn as Daisy. Chicks with guns are super-sexy. Then again, so are mixed martial artist lingerie fighting champs, and there's a wonderfully smarmy (albeit boner-inducing) turn from Kris "The Raven" Blackwell as Bisson's evil moll. (We even get a dollop of catfight action twixt Blackwell and Matysio, but it's sadly truncated by a "rescue".)

There are a few spanners in the casting works. Sara Miller plays Willie's sister, a female werewolf for Lou Garou to boink, but the role seems underwritten and Miller's performance seems wooden, as opposed to merely "straight-up". The role could have used a strange combination of warmth and danger, but as served up, she seems little more than eye candy. Not that I have a problem with eye-candy, mind you - it's just that all the female roles in the movie offer so much more. There's a slightly annoying monster android character called Frank played by Alden Adair and even more annoying is a cameo from filmmaker Kevin Smith as a sleazy town official.

What's wonderful is that the movie, unlike the first instalment, is clearly and resolutely set in Canada. No ugly American flags flying here - just plenty of Maple Leafs on display. Dean's direction of the action scenes is first-rate: lots of solid variation in shot composition, all of it delivering dramatic resonance and not just for simple visceral wham-bam, and most importantly, his sense of spatial geography is spot-on (in marked contrast to the all-over-the-place "qualities" during the big climactic moments in the original film). And of course, there's the brilliant work from F/X genius Emersen Ziffle - the film is replete with magnificent makeup and prosthetics and eschewing the cold, lifeless qualities inherent in digital effects.

And what Canuck movie would be complete without heavy metal, plenty of beer-guzzling and violent hockey goonery? There's plenty of all the aforementioned on display here, but given that it's a horror movie (albeit with a funny bone), the picture brings new meaning to the expression "blood on the ice"!

More Wolfcops are promised from creator Lowell Dean, whose continued above-the-line writing-directing talent will be imperative if the quality-level is to continue onwards and upwards. (One also hopes this gets a better marketing push and theatrical release than the perfunctory lame-ass treatment the first picture got via Cineplex Entertainment. The picture needs a kick-ass trailer on as many screens as possible, well in advance of the film's opening - which will hopefully be on at least 100+ screens and even better, just before Christmas - Yes! The movie has a Christmas setting!)

Another WolfCop is such a marked improvement and fulfills the initial promise of both the franchise and the filmmaker. This film superbly builds on the "universe" he laid out and takes it up several notches. With Dean's continued creative involvement, it's going to be onwards and upwards. And speaking of onwards and upwards, yes, we get a Mt. Everest-calibre shot of wolf dick. Welcome to Canada!

THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***½

Another WolfCop enjoys its Canadian Premiere at Fantasia 2017