The Guard

Year: 2011
Production Co: Reprisal Films
Director: John Michael McDonagh
Writer: John Michael McDonagh
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle

It seems an obvious fish out of water comedy, with loving nods to Lethal Weapon, Rush Hour and a hundred other buddy cop comedies. But the setting is a bit more extreme than most and provides most of the culture clash as rural Irish cop Boyle (Gleeson) is joined by FBI agent Everett (Cheadle) to investigate links to a drug running organisation.

Where Everett is a by the book straight arrow, Boyle seems to be a lazy layabout, more interested in shagging the local hookers than seeing justice done.

But the difference between Boyle and the characters that would be his equivalent in most other films of the genre (Murtaugh, Carter, etc) is that you're never sure just how dumb or smart he is, a question even Everett asks himself. When one of the gang has him bailed up in his house and it seems his number's up, Boyle's escape is as brilliant as it is shameless.

The requisite climactic shoot-out is the least exciting part of the whole movie, all the fun is to be had between the leads. You've seen some of Boyle's gormlessly racist comments in the trailer, but there's a lot more to be found in the film.

It makes great use of the legendary sardonic Irish wit and it's a great example of how characterisations can be everything – Boyle and Everett are laid over a very oft-trod action thriller template and it's still a great movie.

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