Julien Neaves, Editor
Let’s take a moment and travel back to 1984. The fades were hi-top, the jeans were acid-washed, and a super cool cop show called Miami Vice premiered in the US and blew everyone’s minds. The show was huge and influenced fashion, television and the creators of Trinidad and Tobago cop web series Island Law, a production of ElevationStudios.
The show was based on a screenplay by Maurice George called “Mayaro Vice” (Island Law was the better title choice) and stars George as a Trini cop named Sean Christian who is investigating a drug dealer called Johnny Cruz (of course that’s his name) played by Aaron Ricardo Koon Koon.
The setting is modern Trinidad but with that 80s vibe and aesthetic. And, unlike several Hollywood remakes of 80s cop shows, Island Law does not go for parody but plays it straight. You may smile or even laugh as you recognise some of the tropes, but the story is a serious one and even touches on the current crime situation in my twin-island homeland. But like the cop shows of the era it is paying homage to, there are a couple of moments of levity to balance things out.
And speaking of tropes, if you sliced up a bunch of 80s cop shows, put them in a blender, turned it on and poured it out, you’d probably get Island Law. Trigger happy, smart ass, play-by-his-own-rules cop? Check. Scenery-chewing Spanish bad guys? Check again. Beautiful women and femme fatales? Check and check. Cool-looking cars and car chases? Double check. Shootouts, assassinations and assassination attempts? Check cubed. The only thing Island Law was missing was a few explosions but I presume budget constraints prevented that.
Island Law is not a big budget affair (no surprise there, as getting local funding for shows and films is akin to pulling teeth from a greased manicou) but it is competently made. Sure some of the gunfire effects are less than convincing, and there is a scene where two men are talking and there is the caption “inaudible” which is unintentionally hilarious, but generally I had no major technical issues with the show.
And in the end the cast and crew achieved what (I presume) they set out to do – make an action-packed, entertaining and engaging 80s-inspired cop show. The first episode ended on a cliffhanger and I personally need to know what happened next. So go watch it, share it with your friends, and let’s get lots more eyeballs on it so the Powers That Be can get locked and loaded for episode two.
You can watch the first episode of Island Law for yourself here:
Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film, creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.
I can also be found posting on Instagram as redmanwriter and talking about TV and movie stuff on Facebook at Movieville.