“Super Troopers 2” (2018)
Running Time: 100 minutes
Written by: Broken Lizard
Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar
Featuring: Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, Rob Lowe, Brian Cox
Genevieve Aubois: “I coach a girls hockey team so I know my way around a gash.”
This week sees the release on DVD of “Super Troopers 2” (2018) a sequel to the 2001 movie that set up the comedy troupe, Broken Lizard, for the next two decades as well as handing a directing career to Jay Chandrasekhar who has gone on to direct a large amount of television and, believe it or not seven movies, at least one positioned as a franchise starter “The Dukes of Hazzard” (2005), which actually did quite well at the US box office but failed to produce a decent sequel. In terms of the type of genre that Chandrasekhar and his friends are involved in, that is gross out comedy, they do very well, hitting the spot with all of their movies, even this sequel. The problem is of course is that the market for these type of movies is shrinking, plus audiences that want this genre can find cheaper versions streaming, as well as more and more online. The other issue is that these movies as well as any possible sequels the characters as well as their stories are very much the second and third element people care about; the first as well as most important aspect is making people laugh, cringe or maybe both. So to try and bring back characters from early movies (especially ones that are seventeen years old) there needs to be a reason to follow them, something real as well as organic so that people do not have to think too hard. In this case the comedy moves to Canada which has its benefits in that for the writers they can pump out perceived jokes easily, as one of the lowest forms of humour is to mock others in an extreme way, which the Lizard team do endlessly. That’s where any originality stops however as the actual story is about as routine and trope laden as you can get, which is a missed opportunity as the original movie had just about as much story as you need, I would have loved to have seen a redo of that but with some ramped up action and humour.
There is no doubt that director Chandrasekhar as well as the rest of the Broken Lizard team has a brand as well as a self-awareness about what they have and are creating with their movies. In fact each movie since the original “Super Troopers” (2001) has been good enough to receive theatrical distribution making money so to fund their subsequent projects of which there have been a few, with their most successful being this new movie, although it is still a limited amount of success that seems to have a foxed following. To be honest Chandrasekhar is a very able director who has an understanding of the camera as well as narrative which is key when making a movie, he also has no doubt talent with comedy, one need only look at his oeuvre which is large especially when considering how long he has been at work which is some time. What I would like to see is him make a movie that has some substance to it that he has some stake in, something one could say personal which I believe would be very interesting indeed.
“Super Troopers 2” takes place several years after the first film, the officers have been fired from the Spurbury Police Department after taking Fred Savage on a ride-along that resulted in his death. Farva (Heffernan) is now a construction supervisor, with Mac (Lemme) and Rabbit (Stolhanske) working for him. Thorny (Chandrasekhar) works in logging, and Foster (Soter) is living with his girlfriend and former coworker, Spurbury Police Chief Ursula Hanson (Coughlan). Mac receives a call from his former boss, Captain O’Hagen (Cox), to gather the group and meet for a fishing trip in Canada.
Once the group arrives, they find that O’Hagen’s intention had been for them to have a meeting with Vermont Governor Jessman (Carter). She explains that during a recent land survey, it was discovered that land in Canada was originally designated for the U.S. Canada has agreed to hand over the land, and Gov. Jessman needs to set up a police department to take over from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the region. She invites the group to become state troopers again, with the promise that they will become full-time officers should they succeed at this task.
As with many movies, it seems especially comedies, casting is the most important aspect, with this and all the Broken Lizard movies the main cast remains the same, which shows in their timing as well as the jokes that are told and constructed. Of course what that also means is that there is a high amount of improvisation, which can be a strength, however if it is uncontrolled it can affect the plot and narrative negatively which I believe it has here. Many of the cast rely on old habits, tricks and their own personal relationships, which is not enough to make an evenly comedic movie, which this is striving to be. The highlights of the cast are the newer editions of Rob Lowe, Lynda Carter, Tyler Labine, Will Sasso as well as the returning Brian Cox. As with the first movie it is something special to see the great Scottish Brian Cox in a broad comedy, especially seeing him transplanted to the US. The supporting characters all know their jobs but the real pro who knows exactly what movie he is, knowing how to really go over the top is Rob Lowe the true veteran that almost steals the show with his no fear attitude, he is just fantastic, almost worth the price of admission alone.
So while this new movie lacks the surprise as well as the outright action as well as humour of the first movie it still manages to offer some laughs at the expense of all the character within the narrative, there is no real true hero or main arc of any of the players within this sequel, unlike the first “Super Troopers” which did actually have some goals for everyone to accomplish. In fact the one original as well as knowing thing to do was to place this story in a post-Trump world where the absurdity of the plot could actually be believed as a fact which is a nice twist to have in a gross out comedy because what could be more fitting when politics is so gross out absurdist as well.
If you enjoyed the first “Super Troopers” or any of Broken Lizards other movies then this will be for you no doubt, if you have watched any of them more than once then this will be a great buy as this will fulfil any need to watch “Super Troopers 2” more than once.
“Super Troopers 2” is out now only on DVD.