Monday, December 4, 2017


by Patrick Bromley
More cop. More wolf. More Canada.

I was a fan of Lowell Dean's WolfCop back when it was released in 2014. It's a movie that could have drowned in kitschy, ironic distance -- a feature-length Kung Fury -- but succeeded because of Dean's attention to character, a fun sense of humor, and the fact that it actually felt like the kind of '80s horror comedy to which it was paying tribute instead of just shoving as many signifiers into the frame as possible to tell us that we were watching an '80s-style horror comedy. There's a big difference between capturing the spirit and just making a bunch of references. WolfCop succeeds by doing the former.
Its new sequel, Another WolfCop, again avoids making a bunch of obnoxious references but still seems to have learned mostly the wrong lessons from the first film. If the original WolfCop was very self-aware about what kind of movie they were making, Another WolfCop is far too self-aware about the beats that audiences responded to the last time and doubles down on that stuff. Normally, I'd be all on board for a sequel that sets out please its fanbase above all else, but Another WolfCop sacrifices much of what would make it work as a movie so that it can be increasingly outrageous. Case in point: one of the highlights of WolfCop was a super '80s love scene between WolfCop and the otherworldly Sarah Lind, all scored to "Moonlight Desires," a pop ballad by Canadian singer Gowan. It was such a special and memorable sequence in the film that Another WolfCop not only repeats it but attempts to outdo it in a way that robs it of the joke (how it outdoes it would require major spoilers, so I won't explain further). What's worse is that Gowan himself shows up for a cameo during a climactic hockey game, which crosses over from fan service into "Get it? Get it? We know!" territory.

I know it seems like such a small thing, but there was something very delicate about the line that WolfCop was able to straddle so successfully. Another WolfCop isn't interested in that, instead throwing itself head first into outrageous camp. The plot involves an evil corporation run by a guy named Sydney Swallows (Yannick Bisson) selling something called Chicken Milk Beer, which becomes hugely popular in the small town of Woodhaven and has some...unexpected side effects. Investigating the case are the returning Lou Garou/WolfCop (Leo Fafard), his former partner-turned-chief Tina Walsh (Amy Matysio), and his best friend Willie (Jonathan Cherry), who returns from an alien abduction as the movie opens, having been replaced by a shapeshifter in the first film. Also along for the ride is Willie's sister Kat (Serena Miller), a few new deputies, and even new town mayor Bubba, played by Canada-obsessed writer/director Kevin Smith in another cameo that tips the movie too far into self-parody.
There's very little logical reason why Another WolfCop shouldn't work for me when I had such a good time with WolfCop; there's just something in the approach that pushes me away when it should be even more fun. The movie is bigger and gorier, more ambitious and more overly comic. But where I felt like the original film misstepped in introducing one major supernatural element too many, the sequel goes even further. Not only is there more supernatural stuff included, but it's all a lot bigger and sillier and more cartoonish. The cleverness of WolfCop was that it introduced one crazy thing -- a werewolf cop -- into an otherwise normal landscape. When the sequel starts throwing in aliens and other monsters and winking cameos and everything that Another WolfCop does, it's putting a hat on top of a hat.
It's a hard thing to criticize a movie mostly for reasons of tone, because tone is such an intangible and subjective quality -- the part of the movie that exists between all the stuff we can see and hear. While I do think the characters take something of a back seat (primarily Lou Garou himself), I can't object to the performances or the filmmaking or the effects or even the jokes. This is clearly a movie that a lot of people will love specifically because it's "more" of the thing. I'm just unable to shake the nagging reaction that it's a sequel that feels like it bought into its own hype. Another WolfCop isn't the first sequel to do it, and it surely won't be the last. Maybe I'm just taking it more personally in this instance because I had been such a champion of its predecessor. I guess not every WolfCop can be WolfCop.


  1. I absolutely agree with this. It reminded me of something (I think) you, Patrick, said about Kick-Ass 2, that it's exactly what the first one was criticized of being. Not that I'm aware of WolfCop being much criticized, but like the first Kick-Ass, it toed the line perfectly and was just goofy and weird enough without going overboard. Both sequels went overboard.

    1. Could call on Kickass 2

      Sounds like a similar issue

      I bought Wolfcop because of Patrick, If I remember correctly It was released earlier in the U.K. and I got to get a nice Bluray early doors. I'm always liked it a lot.

      I am kinda intrigued by the Kevin Smith bit if I'm honest

  2. WolfCop missed my radar, but sounds like I need to see it right now.