B-movie producer Roger Corman somewhat famously used to tell his directors that they could make his movies anyway they wanted but they had to have either a scene of violence or of sex every fifteen minutes. The producers of the Johan Falk Trilogy must come from the Corman school of movies, though they tend to focus more on the action than the sex.
Within the opening scenes of the first film, Zero Tolerance we find Johan Falk (Jakob Eklund) in a post-coital glow with one of his coworkers quickly followed by a bloody shoot-out and car chase. It hardly slows down for a breath after that through all three films in this trilogy (though why they are calling it a trilogy is uncertain as their have been at least 12 films made about Falk and more are set to be on their way.)
After the shoot-out, with one robber dead and the other escaped three witnesses finger a big time thug Leo Gaut (Peter Andersson.) But after threatening all three witnesses, Gaut gets away clean. That is until Falk gets on his trail. What follows is a cat-and-mouse game of trickers, false accusations, and brutal violence.
Falk is a tough cop who doesn’t let criminals, his coworkers, or his bosses get in the way of solving any crime as quickly and with disregard to the rules as possible. This gets him into all kinds of trouble with everyone, but it also gets results.
The second film, Executive Protection, finds Falk being regulated to a desk job due to certain events in Zero Tolerance. This, of course, doesn’t sit well with Falk and he quickly finds himself drawn into a web of intrigue. An old friend of his is being bullied by mobsters and asks Falk for help. He does by enlisting a private security company to take care of the gangsters and finding himself pulled into another violent, action packed case.
The third film in this trilogy is The Third Wave. This time Falk is no longer with the police force. His old boss is now the head of an organized crime task force at Europol and during a meeting that is attempting to draw Falk back into crime-fighting, a woman rushes in explaining that she knows one of the head gangsters in Europe. Before she can spill her beans, said gangsters break in and start shooting the place up. And once again Falk is back to working on his own chasing bad guys.
If all of that sounds like typical cop-drama stuff, that’s because it is. The Johan Falk Trilogy doesn’t even begin to be anything more than an action-packed crime show. There is no pretext or pretense, no artful intentions or deep meanings. It's a series about a lone wolf cop who always gets the bad guys no matter what. It doesn’t do much more than that but what it does it does well.
Much of the plots don’t make a lot of logical sense, and many of the scenes stretch reality. For example, if someone tries to hide, you can bet that those who wish to find them will do so with a speed and efficiency that defies all reason. Sometimes they try to explain these moments with some flimsy bit of technological wizardry, but mostly they just let it be, knowing it doesn’t really matter.
Eklund holds the films together as Falk. He's rude to everyone from his bosses to his girlfriend, but still likable. He's passionate and that sometimes gets him into trouble, but that same intensity gets him respect. Eklund lets his humanity show through the tough exterior. Despite quite a few flaws, The Johan Falk Trilogy creates some rather enjoyable popcorn viewing.
After watching The Third Wave with me, my wife summed it up pretty well. “That was unrealistic,” she said, “ but fun.”