I’m not a fan of the groansome wordplay of the title, but I can see how they got there. Hannes Þór Halldórsson was a pro footballer, playing in goals, and his directorial debut is a variation on the traditional buddy cop movie that’s been a genre staple, but this time, offers a novel twist. In the course of their investigations, the cops in question fall for each other, so it’s a gay bromance cop movie that takes the theme of Bad Boys and Hot Fuzz and doubles down on the subtext to comic effect.
Auðunn Blöndal plays Bussi, a Reykjavik cop with an attitude that makes Jason Stratham look positively milquetoast. With a shaved head, hard-drivin’ muscle car and a healthy cynicism about the authorities who supposedly command him, Bussi is partnered with his rival Hörður (Egill Einarsson) who he doesn’t get along with. But as the two men jostle for position in pursuit of a master criminal, they start to acknowledge that their competitive instinct disguises a growing attraction, and soon their unrequited feelings bubble up into a physical realisation of their love for each other.
From the opening chase, pursuing a motorcycle that smashes through a shopping mall, Cop Secret certainly ticks the boxes for action fans who fancy a slightly different flavour to their carnage. But although the gay theme is well handled, the narrative does become rather too conventional; by the climax, there’s only a ‘couples bickering’ comedy routine that distinguishes the last twenty minutes from the usual straight-to-streaming boiler-plate action.
That said, Cop Secret is at heart a progressive comic film that challenges our existing perceptions about cop movies; it’s fun to see how Bussi learns to accept and develop rather than repress his own feelings a la Frozen. Cop Secret is a route-one film that delivers the high concept it promises; for Hannes Þór Halldórsson, it’s a neat debut that should find a cult following. It’s not up there with classics like Busting or Freebie and the Bean, but it’s been a box-office winner at home, scored an international release, and it’s a welcome original story in world of shop-worn IP. And if nothing else, it shows that Halldórsson is a safe pair of hands when it comes to telling a story…
Cop Secret is out on digital platforms in the UK from May 23rd 2022.
Thanks to Vertigo for advanced access to this title.