Sunday, June 24, 2018

Cinepocalypse ’18: Cop Baby

In Vladivostok, you can never find a gun-wielding infant when you need one. He might not look imposing, but he is one of the few honest cops in Russia. After a bust went bad, the wounded Major Igor Khromov did the old body-switcheroo with the newborn son of green-belt policing Oleg Leykin. Leykin is even less intimidating-looking than his son, but together they are cops and buddies in Alexander Andrushenko’s Cop Baby (trailer here), which screens during this year’s Cinepocalypse in Chicago.

Khromov did a year of jail time as part of his deep cover. As a result, he should be able to get close enough to bust the Triad boss who has taken over the Vladivostok drug trade. Unfortunately, Leykin ill-advisedly intervenes when the Triad limo crushes a flower bed, but it really isn’t his fault. Everything just unfolds according to the curse a fortune-teller placed on the rude, crude Khromov. Unfortunately, the consciousness of Leykin’s little boy is now stuck in the presumed to be brain-damaged body of Khromov.

Itching to get back into action, Khromov soon reveals himself and his impossibly deep, growling voice to the nebbish Leykin. Despite their radically differing temperaments, they will try to work together to bring down the Triads and lift the curse, because that is what you do in a body-switch movie.

Basically, if you thought the Baby Geniuses franchise had potential, but was too subtle and refined, then Cop Baby should be your samovar of tea. Let’s just say Cop Baby is no Wolfcop. The lycanthropic cop movies have real heart and some clever humor. Most of the gags here revolve around the contrast between the innocent looking rug rat and Sergey Garmash’s gravel-voice delivering a torrent of cynical dialogue. It is amusing for a short while, but it quickly dead-ends.

Garmash is as hard-bitten as ever, resembling Lee Marvin, circa Death Hunt. However, Andrey Nazimov is painful watch as the gawky Leykin. As his wife Katya, Elizaveta Arzamasova is also a pretty forgettable shrinking violet. Even the kid lacks screen charisma, which is a problem.

There’s really not much point to submitting a goonie goofball movie like this to a rigorous critical analysis. What people really want to know is just how long Andrushenko can keep up the ridiculous premise. The answer is forever—at least, that is what it feels like. Not really recommended, unless you want to see something defiantly stupid, Cop Baby screens again tomorrow night (6/25) at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago as part of Cinepocalypse 2018.