At the beginning of Amazon Prime’s enjoyable new series, Comrade Detective, there is a formal introduction from Executive Producer Channing Tatum and host John Ronson thanking the Romanian Film Preservation Society for their painstaking restoration of the thought-lost 80s propaganda tv masterpiece.
“Similar to American propaganda films like Red Dawn and Rocky IV, that demonized the Eastern bloc, Comrade Detective was produced and funded by the Romanian government not merely to entertain, but to celebrate and promote communist ideals,” Ronson explains. Even the description on Amazon talks about how Tatum and other celebs have dubbed the series and are happy to finally bring it to US audiences.
Now, I come from the 80s and saw both of the referenced films in the theater when they were released, so to say my interest was piqued would be correct. But the rest is lies. All entertaining lies. There is no rogue Romanian detective Gregor Anghel who gets his partner, Nikita, killed or an old friend, Iosof, who joins his quest for vengeance as they attempt to stop a plot to bring down the Romanian government.
Comrade Detective is an incredibly elaborate device to allow stars Tatum, Nick Offerman, Kim Basinger, Jenny Slate and Joseph Gordon-Levitt give us some straight-up satire in a guise of dubbing this communist classic. There are some seriously funny moments that are clearly written as comedy mixed into the satirical. This includes the Jordache and Monopoly plot lines and especially the opening scene of the series that suggests that one of our detectives sleeping with as many women as possible is just basic Marxism (from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs) is hilarious. Satire and propaganda go hand in glove.
Really really short review: Dah, darling. Dah.