(The always zany filmmaker Mark Potts is back with the spooftastic Cop Chronicles: Loose Cannons: The Legend of Haj-Mirage which World Premieres Friday, February 9 at the Oxford Film Festival.)
Have you ever tried to think of the last genuine spoof movie you saw in the theaters? I’m willing to bet you were barely able to come up with two. Yes, it seems the spoof genre is on its way to becoming the genre of yesteryear. Where’s the next Naked Gun or the next Blazing Saddles? Heck, I’d take another Robin Hood: Men in Tights at this point. The unmitigated love director Mark Potts has for the parody genre in his film Cop Chronicles: Loose Cannons: The Legend of Haj-Mirage is undeniable. Pott’s has a firm grasp on the clichés in the buddy cop genre that should be parodied and does them well, but he is too eager to cram in directionless jokes that make countless scenes feel endless.
Benjamin Crutcher and Joe LoCicero play your typical hard-as-nails police officers Higgs and McGraw who’s backstories are far too long and tragic to mention in this review. Higgs and McGraw are at the lowest points in their lives when they hear the terrible news that their dangerous archnemesis Samir has plans for world domination.
No matter how much the film derails its flow with pointless jokes when Crutcher and LoCicero have the chance to bring the satire of classic buddy cop movies to life, Cop Chronicles is a joyous ride of the ludicrous. Crutcher and LoCicero have the right satirical looks which are effectively used to offset the familiar leads seen in most crime films. Their palpable chemistry is the driving force of the film and is what often keeps the high energy comedy going amidst spotty pacing.
Like any spoof, there should never be a moment of dead air when the audience can catch its breath. When the movie is done, the audience should leave the theater wheezing for air. The director needs to be willing to cut a joke down or cut it out completely if it’s not as funny as it was on set. It can’t be said there’s a moment when the film is tired of being funny. The problem lies in the lack of discipline with the humor. Frequently, scenes will start, end and be interrupted by jokes that have little relation to the buddy cop and crime genres or basic film tropes in general. It’s expected for every joke in a spoof not to stick the landing because we know the director will move on and see how we’ll react to the next one. This methodology creates a breakneck pace for the audience’s benefit.
Mark Potts deserves the respect for keeping the spoof genre alive when Hollywood won’t. Cop Chronicles has the best cast it could have to make this kind of material work. Granted there are too many moments in the film when the humor creates uncomfortable awkwardness. If you’re a fan of the unadulterated silliness of Airplane! and Young Frankenstein, then Cop Chronicles could be your irreverent cup of tea.
– Patrick Howard (@PatHoward1972)