I recently saw the film Third World Cop and I must say it is a great film for the Jamaican patois student or anyone who wants to learn Jamaica. The film is set in Kingston, Jamaica and has an all Jamaican cast consisting of famous dancehall artists like Elephant Man and Ninjaman and many prominent Jamaican actors and actresses. For those who have seen Dancehall Queen, many members of the cast also play a role in Third World Cop, such as Paul Campbell, Mark Danvers, and Audrey Reid.
The film is the story of a Kingston police officer who goes by the name of Capone (Paul Campbell). Capone is transferred back to Kingston from Port Antonio to take down organized crime in the Dungle neighborhood of Kingston, where Capone is originally from. Upon returning to Kingston, Capone is tasked with investigating gun smuggling in the neighborhood. As Capone heads into the Dungle, he learns that his best friend’s little brother, Ratty, is a big leader in the community. Despite being a hero in the community, Ratty is much more involved in the underworld than people would like to believe. When Capone learns that Ratty is involved, he does everything he can to stop and help Ratty and also stop the criminal kingpins from arming the neighborhood.
I don’t want to give too much away about the film because I really think it holds a special place for the person who wants to learn how to speak Jamaican. No, the movie will never be a Hollywood blockbuster and it’s not the best movie quality, but there are so many other gems in this movie. From a linguistic point of view, this film is in the top 5 for Jamaican patois. The main language used throughout the film is patois and the DVD allows you to use subtitles so this really helps in building your understanding. The most famous expression in the film is “We run tings, tings nuh run we”. The pronunciation is that of native speakers, so you’ll hear the words in the right context and with the right emotion. You also see people greeting each other and just having everyday interactions. This is invaluable and makes the film worth seeing.
From a cultural perspective, the film also explores the “bad man” element of Jamaica. This is a recurring theme in many Jamaican films. A “bad man” is a gangster for all intense purposes and many of the Jamaican films that don’t focus on Rastafarianism emphasize the gangster element of Jamaica. Along with the “bad man” you will see the role of the police in Jamaican society and how much respect or lack of it the community has. Finally, like most films set in developing countries, there is a glimpse into the struggle of people trying to make something of themselves but still being held down by other forces.
All in all, I can say that this film is worth your time and is really worth buying. As mentioned, the film is invaluable for learning about Jamaica. I highly recommend this movie.