BFI London Film Festival presents Cop Secret on digital from May 23rd.
Downtown Reykjavík cop Bussi (Audunn Blöndal) doesn’t believe in following the rules. Instead, his freewheeling, heavy drinking style of policing pushes the very boundaries of the law alongside his less-than-enthusiastic crime-fighting partner Klemenz (Sverrir Thór Sverrisson). However, Bussi is not the only supercop in town. Just across the city, Hörður (Egill Einarsson) is slowly becoming a celebrity cop in his own right. His buff, perfectly polished appearance and pansexual lifestyle are far from Bussi’s rough and ready persona. But, when a series of strange bank robberies break out across Reykjavík, Bussi and Hörður find themselves thrown together to solve the crime.
However, our dynamic duo is unaware that a sociopathic ex-model, Rikki (Björn Hlynur Björnsson), is behind each crime, his industrial estate lair home to a group of henchmen and women who question his every command behind his back. But Rikki isn’t the only challenge facing our crime-fighting heroes as an unexpected love shines through the smoke and bullets.
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Directed by Hannes Þór Halldórsson, Cop Secret is far more than a simple parody of the classic American action flick; it’s an intelligent subversion of the action genre and its ongoing failure to embrace change. Here themes of gender and sexuality sit centre stage as the heterosexual testosterone-fuelled action movie is turned on its head.
There is, of course, an unspoken golden rule in creating any spoof, ensuring your final picture parodies its target genre and embraces it to the max. Many parodies over the years have failed to realise this, with the result nothing more than a comedy sketch stretched beyond its worth. However, Halldórsson clearly understands this and offers us a high-octane action picture worthy of the genre it rips apart. Here Cop Secret’s narrative plays with movies ranging from Die Hard to Tango and Cash (1989) while embracing the comedic tone of Dragnet (1987). But, it’s Halldórsson’s embrace of LGBTQ+ themes that makes Cop Secret genuinely unique.
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For many years the action picture has embraced heterosexuality as the norm. However, at the same time, many action pictures are packed to the brim with bromance and homoerotic imagery (Top Gun, I am talking about you!). Halldórsson understands this and plays with the dual themes of homoerotic male love and Heterosexual norms to create a groundbreaking gay action comedy. Here we are offered two action heroes who just happen to be gay and in love.
Of course, any comedy relies heavily on the performances at its heart, and Cop Secret excels with Blöndal and Einarsson as our dynamic cop duo. But it’s Björn Hlynur Björnsson’s Rikki who steals the show with his Bond-inspired villain hell-bent on world domination. Cop Secret is a bright, fun and intelligent action-comedy that places feisty gay men, strong women and people with disabilities centre stage, joyously unpicking the American action movie with a ton of Icelandic charm, wit and creativity. I, for one, would love to see where Bussi and Hörður go next.