A man of the law who is removed from his natural environment (FBI agent Wendell Everett, played by Don Cheadle) is paired with a cop whose tactics or attitude is wildly unconventional (small town Guard Gerry Boyle, played by Brendan Gleeson) in order to solve a crime (a group of philosophical drug traffickers importing half a billion dollars worth of cocaine into West Ireland). That’s right. I said philosophical drug traffickers. In the tradition of POINT BREAK, LETHAL WEAPON — and a close relative of HOT FUZZ — Violet Crown Cinema’s latest film, THE GUARD, exemplifies every characteristic of a “buddy cop” film.
Make no mistake, this film is unusual. Even when using the most conventional plot as any mainstream film out there, THE GUARD goes above and beyond to make its characters as colorful and fun to be around as the town it is set in. Mark Strong stands out as a henchman who is smarter than every one around him. The character’s dialogue is so well written and hilariously delivered by Strong that every time he came on screen he almost steals the show from Brendan Gleeson — almost. Gleeson confidently portrays a character who is as wholesome as he is unscrupulous, as intelligent as he is ignorant, baffling anybody he comes across (especially Don Cheadle) with his unrelenting wit.
Yes, THE GUARD is a buddy cop film, but so is DIE HARD WITH A VENGANCE and it seems a little silly to compare the two. It has every thing that makes a buddy cop film great. As said in a self-referential line from the film, it has “lots of action and bits of humor.” But what makes THE GUARD special is the actors who add so much to their already interesting characters.