KINDERGARTEN COP 2 Review: Better Than Expected, Still Not Quite Good

Not enough kids get killed.

In all seriousness, a Kindergarten Cop 2 starring Dolph Lundgren has little chance of rising above the novelty of just existing in the first place. Almost by design, its core entertainment value rests simply in telling someone “Hey, did you hear they made a Kindergarten Cop 2 starring Dolph Lundgren?”

But there really is a movie to go along with the novelty, and despite a proliferation of lame, generic DTV touches that automatically devalues the film, Kindergarten Cop 2 has areas where it succeeds, particularly when it comes to any notion of living up to the original. There are certainly ill-advised moments where it flat-out apes Schwarzenegger’s film, but when Dolph’s attempt at walking in these shoes gets to do its own thing, there are definitely bright points.

Dolph plays a womanizing (or so we hear) FBI agent who lives in a trailer by a lake where he spends all morning working out and all night cooking big-ass steaks. He and his partner, played by Bill Bellamy, need to find a flash drive holding sensitive FBI documents before it falls into the hands of a dangerous drug dealer-type. For reasons that don’t really matter (though the film spends a whopping twenty-five minutes setting them up), that flash drive is hidden somewhere in an elementary school.

You know the drill. Dolph has to go undercover as a kindergarten teacher to see if any of these little brats know where the flash drive is. He also begins to fall in love with the school’s other kindergarten teacher. He gets peed on, etc.

What separates Kindergarten Cop 2 from its predecessor is the culture of this school. While Arnold’s movie mined laughs from seeing a tough muscle man unable to control a bunch of kids, this one builds on that humor by taking place in a highly liberal educational environment, which means we also get a lot of successful jokes about language policing, the evils of a gluten diet, and the school’s therapy pig.

The movie is at its best when hitting these notes. There’s a good bit where Dolph’s told it’s not okay to tell a kid his work is “smart” and Dolph simply responds with “that’s retarded”. There’s another great scene where Dolph goes on an extreme right-wing tirade after reading the kids a book about the virtues of sharing. Rather than let this stuff drive him crazy, Dolph’s character greets most of this participation trophy culture with a “yeah sure, I don’t give a shit” casual dismissal that allows the movie to both make its jokes and be gentle at the same time.

Of course, Dolph learns to love the kids eventually, and the movie loses this slight bit of edge, falling once again into a generic stroll through a plot you’ll have no trouble predicting. Overall, Kindergarten Cop 2 is filled with the kind of ridiculous temp-track music and lame attempts at partner banter between Dolph and Bellamy that automatically hinders any attempt at delivering something above the DTV level. But when it hits its highest notes, it’s not exactly a joke movie, either.