Thursday, 18 August 2016

Kindergarten Cop 2 (2015)

Despite the rather unimaginative title this is not an actual sequel to the 1990 Arnie vehicle. This in itself is rather odd because why would you name the film 'Kindergarten Cop 2' when its actually a full blown remake? Yes that's right, we have yet another remake on our hands, there is no continuity from the first movie whatsoever. Its only the basic concept that remains the same here, that concept being, a cop needing to go undercover within a school in order to gain information to take down a criminal. The only one difference here is the protagonist has a partner to help him out, sorta.

So what have we got then, basically the same spiel, take away Schwarzenegger, enter Dolph Lundgren. Now when I say the same, I mean all the same beats albeit with some obvious minor changes. Lundgren plays Reed, an undercover cop who developed true feelings for Katja, the woman he was protecting (undercover) on his last assignment. Katja is placed in the witness protection program after the operation ends. Unfortunately the witness protection data has been recently hacked by some clever degenerate (to try and sell to the Euro trash baddies), with only one copy being put on a flashdrive. Said flashdrive was then hidden by the brother (an elementary school teacher) of said degenerate, but said brother was killed in a car accident so no one knows where the flashdrive is. 

At the same time the stereotypical eastern European baddies are trying to find Katja in order to stop her from testifying against them, so they need the flashdrive. Said flashdrive has of course been hidden in the elementary school where the now dead brother worked, hence Reed needing to go undercover in the school to locate it. So unlike the original (where the target was a child) the target here is a simple flashdrive, but the elements are near enough the same. Still, considering this is a dumb, straight to DVD flick, the plot build-up is quite in depth and easy to miss if you aren't paying attention. I had to go back and rewatch as I missed how and why the flashdrive actually ended up in the damn school! I might also add that the film spends at least 25 boring minutes setting up this plot...when all its really about is kids causing chaos for an ageing, 80's action star. Lets be honest that's all you're here to see isn't it.

Right so first thoughts...why can't the police just do some kind of secret sweep of the school, with the schools permission, to locate the drive? Is there really any need to have a cop go undercover?? Anyways, this film really  does play it safe, apart from new gags for the new age most of the beats, as said, are the same. This means everything we see Reed do with the kids feels like deja vu, we have seen it all before with Arnie, hell even with the same lines, 'my sister has a vagina'. There's even a mini subplot about one of the kids and her abusive father, although not that abusive, and naturally one of the young sexy teachers falls for Reed. Whilst this angle was completely predictable and cliched to hell, it also spoils Reed's character. The reason being because the plot already establishes the fact that Reed had/has strong feelings for Katja, despite the fact he brushes them aside. But this entire angle is forgotten when he starts to fall for the sexy teacher, at the same time this also diminishes the stakes somewhat because Reed needs to find the drive to primarily save Katja (amongst others).



I mention stakes, but in all honesty there are no real stakes or threats in this movie, and that's another problem. In the original movie the bad guy was a legitimate threat, here the bad guys are more cartoonish and never really give off any sense of danger. This film being a 12 certificate of course doesn't help either as there is nothing even remotely intense here, the original was a 15 rating here in the UK. The film breezes along with no real edge or excitement, the only bits of genuine fun come in the classroom but even then its mediocre and fleeting. The rest of the time is purely made up with Reed and the young sexy teacher getting to know each other interspersed with the odd cop moment. The whole western themed bar and line dancing sequence was pretty cringeworthy.

The only real clever or reasonably witty part that cropped up was bringing the story into the present day. By that I mean the obligatory and inevitable inclusion of political correctness. Yes the elementary school that Reed goes undercover in is a highly renowned, very expensive, liberal save haven for upper middle class kids. The schools wrestling team is labelled 'the gender neutral wrestling team', Reed discovers that he cannot say certain words like 'retarded' or sitting down 'Indian style'. He also discovers that the schools literature is heavily biased towards PC motives and ideals, he is unable to praise the kids abilities directly but must use certain words and methods, he is unable to correct their spelling mistakes but must encourage 'creative spelling' and of course all the kids are obsessed with eating healthy and their own allergies. In short, the kids are completely mollycoddled with their safe spaces and their lives are totally stifled. Now I believe this was a light-hearted satire of this current political climate...but I could be wrong, made my eyes roll that's for damn sure.

Anyways at the end of the day all this film has done is made me realise how good the original was basically (and it wasn't that good). Lundgren's performance is acceptable as the out of place lunkhead trying to control a classroom full of drooling scroats. He is clearly enjoying himself but he also clearly struggles to act his way through this. I kept getting the distinct notion he would be more comfortable tearing some limbs off someone or blowing someone's head off with a huge sniper rifle. Everyone else is pretty much a non-event and adds little, the fat black police chief is far too cartoonish for his own good, whilst the fat, white, bald, tattooed teacher is also far too odd (would they allow someone with tattoo sleeves to teach in an elementary school?). Generally the plot is way too heavy and plodding when it really doesn't need to be for this type of flick, and most of it goes nowhere. In the end the finale is very weak, non-threatening and you're left wondering what Reed ends up doing, does he continue as a cop or does he do what Arnie did and become a teacher? Dunno, but its not that much of a cliffhanger so no worries.

4.5/10