Review: Super Troopers 2

Sarah Ward

17 years after the first comic cop effort, this stretched sequel proves a dire rehash.
Review: Super Troopers 2

Movie still image Super Troopers 2 via Fox Studios.

Two police officers flag down a car, walk up to its windows and begin to question the vehicle’s occupants. It’s a routine scenario, but in 2001’s Super Troopers, it rarely resulted in a routine outcome. Following the bumbling slacker antics of a Vermont highway patrol unit, the comedy relived the situation over and over, giving rise to most of the movie’s best gags. The cops played games with civilians, tormenting stoners or trying to work the word 'meow' into every sentence. They pranked each other too, while specifically hazing their new recruit. Enlivening a broader narrative about local law enforcement spats, the replayed skit showed just how funny repetition can be – while also illustrating exactly where the film’s writers, comic troupe Broken Lizard, had focused their energies.

Returning for another round of revelry and rivalry with Super Troopers 2, the gang make the same point all over again. Comprised of director and actor Jay Chandrasekhar and his co-stars Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske, they try to make the same movie all over again as well. Alas, while recycling still works in their roadside bits, it stumbles elsewhere in this rehash of a feature. Rather than improving an otherwise average but amiable comedy, as happened the first time, the scenes prove the rare highlights of a stretched effort. That the film’s new material mostly pokes fun of Canadians and women, relying upon stereotypes and sexism, speaks volumes. 

Years after they took down a cop-linked drug-smuggling ring and took over the local police force, Thorny (Chandrasekhar, Beerfest), Mac (Lemme, The Origins of Wit and Humor), Foster (Soter, Badlands of Kain), Rabbit (Stolhanske, Freeloaders) and Farva (Heffernan, TV’s Time Traveling Bong) aren’t quite living their law enforcement dreams. After a ride-along with Fred Savage ended badly, they’re all working regular jobs and lamenting the loss of their former lives. Enter a fishing trip with Captain O'Hagan (Brian Cox, Churchill), an offer from the governor (Lynda Carter, Supergirl) and a two-week trial posting along the US-Canadian border, where part of the northern nation is set to be resumed by its southern neighbour. 

It’s a flimsy premise, which Super Troopers 2 puts very little effort into. Getting the guys back in uniform, back on the road and back to bickering with their counterparts – this time, the three Mounties (Tyler Labine, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency; Will Sasso, Kevin (Probably) Saves the World; and Hayes MacArthur, Angie Tribeca) they’re replacing – is the film’s only real aim. Of course, taking the boilerplate sequel approach is a safe move for a movie that owes its existence to fan crowdfunding, but there’s a difference between moulding past glories into something similar and simply being content to even make a follow-up. As laboured gags about culture clashes, women’s hormones and brothels fail to meet the lewd, crude but generally entertaining standard set by its predecessor, the feature smacks firmly of the latter. The addition of Rob Lowe (Code Black) and Emmanuelle Chriqui (Shut Eye) to the cast, playing a Canadian mayor and liaison respectively, can’t replace the missing comic spark, and nothing is energerised by its flat, by-the-book direction either. 

What Super Troopers 2 serves up instead, then, is the answer to a question. For those wondering why this 17-years-later second effort didn’t eventuate earlier, its lack of laughs – and corresponding lack of engaging material – makes that clear. The film also demonstrates why that’s such a lacklustre outcome and what might’ve been instead, all in its introductory scene. With Chandrasekhar and company all still visibly willing and eager, they turn the movie’s opening into a humorous twist on what could’ve come next for their characters, while simultaneously opening up the fold to new players. It’s short-lived, but it’s spirited, silly and amusing, and it takes a risk. Even when the familiar car chatter hits the mark, nothing else in this sequel earns that description.

★☆

Super Troopers 2
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
USA, 2018, 99 mins

Release date: 19 April 2018
Distributor: Fox
Rated: MA

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Sarah Ward is a freelance film critic, arts and culture writer, and film festival organiser. She is the Australia-based critic for Screen International, a film reviewer and writer for ArtsHub, the weekend editor and a senior writer for Concrete Playground, a writer for the Goethe-Institut Australien’s Kino in Oz, and a contributor to SBS, Metro Magazine and Screen Education. Her work has been published by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Junkee, FilmInk, Birth.Movies.Death, Lumina, Senses of Cinema, Broadsheet, Televised Revolution, and the World Film Locations book series. She is also the editor of Trespass Magazine, a film and TV critic for ABC radio Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, and has worked with the Brisbane International Film Festival, Queensland Film Festival, Sydney Underground Film Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival. Follow her on Twitter: @swardplay

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