Skeleton Cop (2019) Review by RevTerry

Because they can't get me from inside the TV, I'll watch anything with “cop” in the title. My interest is especially peaked when the word is preceded by something absurd. So far, the notion hasn't done me wrong (unlike actual cops which are kind of the reverse). I'm not even mad about Kindergarten Cop 2. I mean, I knew what I was getting into there, and I have seen a lot worse. So, of course, I jumped at the chance to check out something called Skeleton Cop.
With his no-frills approach to crime, Skeleton Cop is a lone force of extreme justice in a world gone mad. Quietly dedicated to cleaning up the streets, he will stop at nothing to get the job done despite facing anti-skeleton prejudice from his fellow boys in blue. His unorthodox take on law enforcement (i.e., riddling burglars with bullets) lands him in hot water with the chief (David Davis) who forces a partner on him with hopes to keep the renegade cop in line. His new babysitter Detective Nolan (Richard Buathier) is a by-the-book detective with a vocal prejudice against those without skin and isn't very happy with the situation himself. With no other choice, the two must find a way to coexist while continuing the righteous war against corruption, theft and deadly ninja gangs. Unfortunately, they won't have much time to get their shit together, as the evil Hang and his army of foot soldiers with large nuts have just begun to lay siege on the metropolitan area.
More spirit than used hard drive space, Skeleton Cop is a well-rounded fever dream induced by untameable ambition and a deep love for bad movies. The thirty minute short makes an eccentric run at the broader cop movie genre by replacing the main gun-waiving hothead with a sentient learning aid from a high school science class. Starting off in a heavy nod towards Larry Cohen's original Maniac Cop (1988) intro, the tale proceeds to lampoon a range of cinema and television in rapid-fire skits, tied together by the classic buddy-cop dynamic (and the whole skeleton thing). It's a parody recipe that's equal parts YouTube era irreverence and 90s low budget VHS trash, with just a dab of Police Squad! thrown in for flavor. In the tradition of the great cop films (like Psycho Cop, Bad Lieutenant and Vampire Cop), it promptly delivers on its title’s promise but generously sweetens the deal with ninjas, mutated furry creatures, and bootleg polka music. It is pretty fucking nuts and flawed by design, but it’s witty enough to avoid being wearing. Think a Kung Fury (2015) approach at Dirty Harry meets Dustin Mills except everyone involved is over thirty and has a day job.
Funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign (which brought in around eight hundred bucks), Skeleton Cop's production values proudly match its b-movie soul. The editing adds to the mood by leaving extra pieces on the trim, employing a variety of ridiculous effects and utilizing some well-picked stock footage. Its chronically underdressed star is brought to life with a combination of crafty angels, miniatures and, presumably, self-taught puppetry. In a cross between Toonces the Driving Cat and your neighbors yearly haunted house, the various tactics used to dole out violent, boney justice straddle a beautiful line between obvious and ingenious. All the film’s action is accompanied by hefty practical gore, leaving the fancy computer graphics for comedic moments. Nearly out of character, the blood splatter and wounds look fucking great for the budget with added attention to detail. Amidst its intentionally broken technical style, it pulls off tributing the classics in the genre with deliberate staging and buoyant warmth. There is kind of a Baywatch Nights thing going on as well, with the neon colors and derivative synth music tracks, only the David Hasselhoff stand-in has no flesh and is mute.
Altogether, it is goofy low budget fun with over the top performances, some nifty practical work and a ton of bloodsoaked charm. I enjoyed the fuck out of it, but I also have an affinity for lousy cop movies and discount Halloween decorations--so take that into consideration.
32mins | 2019
Director: Chad Knauer Writer: Chad Knauer

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Review by:
RevTerry

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