The moviegoing public in Mexico is letting out a collective groan after the release of “Dangerous Games” (“Juegos Peligrosos”), yet another movie that employs the tired “bad cop, really bad cop” trope.
“Dangerous Games” follows the story of Oscar, a cynical rural police sergeant a few weeks from retirement. He is partnered up with Rafa, a corporal who was transferred from a large northern border city because of rumors he murdered witnesses and has ties to drug cartels. While the handsome young Rafa suffers from an itchy trigger finger and wants to take care of pesky reporters the same way he puts down petty criminals, Oscar tries to teach him that sometimes a mere thorough beating or a series of graphic threats is enough. The two must reconcile their differing degrees of corruption when a beloved local weatherman is found mutilated, and Rafa thinks he knows who did it.
Writing for the popular website Cinepremiere, critic Fernanda Gonzalez praises the film’s cinematography and acting, saying cast members do the best they can given the stale dialogue and two-dimensional roles. The worst part, she says, is that the movie boils down to yet another predictable “bad cop, really bad cop” movie.
“We’ve seen this a thousand times,” she laments. “You have one jaded cop who bends the rules, only take bribes a couple times per week, and knows that sometimes a quick electrical jolt to the testicals can get a suspect to sing. Then you have another cop, always from some tough place like Nuevo Laredo or Culiacán, who swaggers like his balls are made of polished marble. He does what he wants, extorts and murders without remorse, and seems to have more loyalty to his cartel paymasters than to his fellow officers or even his on-again, off-again girlfriend.”
“Even the most trite telenovela romances have more originality than ‘Dangerous Games,’” she concludes.
Despite the negative reviews and low ratings by audiences, “Dangerous Games” is doing well at the box office, prompting director Antonio Vidaurreta to hint about the possibility of a sequel. “Maybe, just maybe, the unscrupulous and murderous Rafa will be promoted to inspector, and his first job will be to take in a cocky new recruit who also happens to be the kingpin of the largest and most violent drug cartel in Mexico.”