Every once in a blue moon, a film comes along that takes an old idea, turns it upside-down, smashes itself into our psyches and ultimately becomes its own wild beast. How does one even classify new indie cult hit White Cop? Exploitation? Modern grindhouse? Cop thriller? It's even been called “caucasiansploitation,” if such a thing exists. Whatever you choose to label it as, this film is very funny and extremely self-aware. Director Jake Myers has mentioned this is geared toward an intended audience of fans of underground midnight madness films like Samurai Cop, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and The Room.
The hand-painted poster came from artist “Salvation” in Ghana via Brian Chankin of Odd Obsession Movies and Deadly Prey Gallery (opening May 8th). Brian also has a cameo as the DJ in the Stamp party scene.
The film opens at the Music Box Theatre this weekend, screening Friday and Saturday at midnight. Star Ben Kobold and director Jake Myers will be present for a Q&A after the film each night! After viewing a screener, I must agree that a midnight crowd is absolutely perfect for this one!
White Cop (2014) - Directed by Jake Myers; Screenplay by Lara Unnerstall; Starring Ben Kobold, David Liebe Hart, Liz Harvey, Joe Ferrell, Jamie Bragg
Officer Kip White (comically played by Ben Kobold) is a clueless Chicago cop oblivious to practically everything around, near, behind, and in front of his face. However, he embarks on a solo mission to destroy the European cartel after he screws up a drug bust and loses his partner. Determined to get revenge for the murder of his best friend, White stops at nothing to accomplish this–even if it means going rogue. He deals with a nosy reporter, a group of possibly righteous vigilantes, the Mayor of Chicago (David Liebe Hart), and encounters a new psychedelic street drug called STAMP. “That's right, the kids are going postal on Stamp!”
Kip White is a seriously awkward, endearingly stupid police officer who just wants to do the right thing and for justice to be served. Unfortunately, he is so incompetent that nothing seems to go his way and whining at high volumes is how he apparently deals with stressful situations. His character is an exaggerated take on the caucasian stereotype, which fits in with the rest of the over-the-top performances by each of the actors. The campy vibe simply works in this case. If you're going to do a low-budget comedy, go all out like Myers' Chicago comedy writing and acting team has done. Since everyone is performing at the same level of ridiculousness, the result is a highly entertaining film. Also: comedic timing is incredibly difficult, and the majority of these actors do it with ease.
The moment the film begins, the retro-styled synth music immediately brings on a feeling of sitting in a theater watching a grindhouse-type midnight movie with a rowdy crowd. It's rather surprising that a modern film can instill nostalgia, but there you go. There's a great opening sequence with the main character walking by notable modern sculptures and familiar locations around Chicago (total filming budget around $9500). We see The Green Mill, Margie's Candies ice cream parlor, and the Hungry Brain, among others.
Regarding cinematography, it was shot quite well. Good quality alternating with hazy black and white scenes for hilarious flashbacks, plus plenty of entertaining slow-mo shots for fight scenes. While some scenes do feel a bit long, extending them could very well be an intentional part of the overindulgence of the parody. The soundtrack is composed of music by American Draft, Sich Mang, Gold Top, and the majority of songs are from synthwave band LazerHawk, which all directly influenced the prevalent midnight madness vibe.
For me, the comedy in White Cop is strongly reminiscent of the good old days of The Kids in the Hall. Mix those insanely goofy, exaggerated performances with ’90s buddy cop flicks like Beverly Hills Cop and throw in a super awkward sex scene that almost rivals the condom bodysuit sex scene (as far as weirdness levels go) in The Naked Gun and you've got one entertaining midnight movie. I'd definitely watch this again. Jake Myers and his Chicago comedy group could make a whole series of similar films if they are so inclined. If so, I look forward to more bonkers insanity from them.
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