Lieutenant Jangles (2018)

The inherent danger of making parodies of bad movies is that if you’re not careful, what you end up with is a bad movie. This 2019 released parody of Ozsplotation and general 80s renegade-cop action movies skirts dangerously close to that outcome, and then dives headfirst into it whilst literally pissing all over the place. This is a shame, as it had the potential to be really good.

The basics of the plot are the obligatory catalogue of clichés, all tried and tested as comedy classics in the right hands. The titular Lieutenant plays by his own (incredibly childish) rules, so his partner dies at the hands of The Bad guys. He gets chewed out by the Captain, gets assigned a new partner who he doesn’t like, tries to break the case, get thrown off the force, gets the girl, comes back, and takes down The Big Bad. Nothing fancy, nothing innovative, and, if we’re honest, not the reason anyone would watch the film.

“hehehehe, I’m a bit shit, hohoohohoh”

What you’ll be watching it for is the faux-authentic 80s stylings, including grit on the film and horrible colour tones. You’ll also be watching it for the low-budget effects, which are comedically intentionally crap, and the very 80s fashions, which are just horrific but that’s what things looked like. There’s also a fair amount of reasonable action parody, which isn’t that fancy but should give fans of the budget end of the market a couple of good chuckles. You could possibly argue that the monotony is part of that observational comedy as well, but that’ll be a hard task.

“Man shot in dick, hilarious”

As well as that, you get almost constant wittering from Jangles and the rest of the cast. It’s intended to be comedic, but mostly it’s variations on “Look how crap I am”, “look how crap you are” and creative verbal abuse. Had it been edited down to just the killer lines it could have been great, but it feels like they saved money by having no real script and leaving in all the alt-takes. Like the film as a whole, with its ridiculous 103 minutes run time, it gets grating and dull very quickly as there just isn’t that much there.

Part of the abuse is, authentically, brazenly homophobic. This is not to suggest that the film is homophobic, all the gay jokes and in-character bigotry is presented as archaic behaviour to be held in contempt. But a constant stream of homophobic abuse gets tiresome fast as it’s still just an onslaught of people calling each other variations on the word faggot. This is really frustrating when one of the main characters being in a wheelchair is handled so well, in that it’s hardly ever mentioned and he just does the same action nonsense as everyone else.

Then there is the pissing. Oh lord, there is so much pissing. It seems to be Janglers signature move, and if you don’t want to watch people piss all over the place and each other then you’re not going to have a good time. Like many of the ideas in this film, it’s reused way more than it should be. It becomes both an incomprehensible choice and dull, so even the gross-out humour factor burns itself out.

T-Shirts were big in the 80s

To try and be most positive, it does have some good moments. Some of the lines are utterly hilarious, several of the scenes work very well, and there is overall silliness that keeps things on the chummy side of unrelenting verbal abuse. As said, it is very observant of trying to look like an 80s actioner, and the tunes will appeal to fans of 80s pop cheese.

Car go “Vroooom”

But that doesn’t cover such an unwarranted running time and, as apparently none of the fat has been trimmed off this mass ham bone, that’s why it gets thrown in the Trash. The tiresome characters, the repetitious comedic beat, and the absolute determination to give you as little to care about as possible means the few good moments become annoying in their own rights, as they remind you what it could have been. Maybe fans of absurdist non-humour will get more from it, but I prefer things that bit more crafted and a lot more streamlined

The Raggedyman

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