Saturday, March 17, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Buddy Cop Films

With the release of "21 Jump Street" this weekend, we decided to dedicate our weekend edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide to films that share a common theme with this film.


In this newest release, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum team-up to fight crime and save the day. Right there - two regular looking phrases that when combined create for pure, unquestionable magic: 'team-up' and 'save the day'. In the movie world, what's better than that? Two characters, usually overcoming some early character differences, but ultimately forming a bond and helping each other out for the greater good. It's unstoppable. Then mix that with some comedy - look out, you've just created the perfect storm for a great movie!

Some may seem cheesy, and others more serious, but there's no question that Buddy Cop Movies contain some of the most heart (especially for us nostalgic 80's kids!) and epic team-ups of anything else around.

So with that, our favorites of the genre are...


Alex Schopp -
This was an incredibly hard list to construct as there were tons of films that I really wanted to include. But these are ultimately my favorite five, and at least a good starting point.

     1. Lethal Weapon (1987)

How can it be anything but this? These guys defined the genre. Lot's of great 80's action and style, and two characters that, while having completely opposite personalities, form a very real friendship through the course of this film and its sequels.
     2. Tango & Cash (1989)
A great pairing of two of my favorite action stars. This is very similar to Lethal Weapon, just a little more serious and action-oriented.
     3. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
I feel like I'm just copying down what everyone expects as the best buddy cop films... I can't help it though; they're called some of the best for a reason. And if you truly are unfamiliar with the genre, I'd like you to start out with the staples. Really good 80's comedy though, and you can't beat a partner of Judge Reinhold! Plus you know all of us here have an affinity towards that theme song.
     4. 48 Hrs. (1982)
Eddie Murphy making appearance number two. And the tagline for this film really says it all (such great 80s-ness!): "The boys are back in town. Nick Nolte is a cop. Eddie Murphy is a convict. They couldn't have liked each other less. They couldn't have needed each other more. And the last place they ever expected to be is on the same side. Even for...48 HRS". Perfection.
     5. Point Break (1991)
This would be higher if it truly embodied the "buddy cop" genre a little more. While Gary Busey makes for a perfect partner to Keanu Reeves, there isn't a ton of team-up action happening here. But anytime I can get Gary Busey and Patrick Swayze in the same film, you better believe I'm putting it on a list!

Derek Clem -


     1. Last Action Hero (1993)

The scene where the kid explains to Arnold how a Lieutenant would never make a kid a detective's partner is totally referencing "The Odd Couple" style pairing trope found in all buddy cop movies. A great utilization of metafiction.
     2. Dragnet (1987)
Nostalgia creates a special place in my heart for this movie. Tom Hanks is gold in this.
     3. Blue Streak (1999)
This movie is just hilarious! It has me laughing constantly.
     4. Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)
Obviously you have to see the first three to really feel "Lethal Weapon 4", but it really gives me chills all throughout my body because we are seeing pretty much every good guy from the entirety of the series in the final shot of this movie. Really brings that tear to my eye.
     5. Tango & Cash (1989)
Watch this movie, go to a mirror, take off your shirt, and count the new chest hairs you've grown.

Nathan Hinds -
When I think of buddy cop films, I don't think of a film that just has two cops that are partners - there has to be a comedy element to it. Also, I only used true cop films, so no "Men In Black" on the list, even though I really wanted to include it.

     1. Tango & Cash (1989)

Even as a child I realized how epic this team-up was.
     2. Bad Boys II (2003)
I have always thought the pairing of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence was prefect. Plus, I'm a Michael Bay apologist, and this has every element that I love about his movies: it's fast paced, great action/special effects, and it's hilarious.
     3. Last Action Hero (1993)
In a movie that looks so dumb on the surface, it has a lot going on underneath. Plus we get a glimpse of an alternate reality where Stallone was the Terminator. I would love so much to have that cardboard cut-out!
     4. Blue Streak (1999)
Wow, Martin Lawrence shows up twice on this list. Funny thing is, these are the only two films with him in it that would show up on any list I would ever make - outside of a 'Top 5 Martin Lawrence Films' list, of course.
     5. The Other Guys (2010)
This film slid in here because of the omission of "Men In Black". That's not to imply that I don't love this movie, because I do. Farrell and Wahlberg play off each other perfectly. Plus, the rooftop scene with Sam Jackson and Dwayne Johnson is one of the most unexpectedly hilarious scenes ever.

I know this is a light week - two of our writers were unable to find time to put a quality list together - but there's still a lot of great movie titles above. The only film showing up on all of our lists is the Sylvester Stallone/Kurt Russell film, "Tango and Cash". Great film, with tons of pure buddy cop action! Otherwise, "Blue Streak" and "Last Action Hero" showed up twice, and two different films from the Lethal Weapon series made the cut.

But all of the titles listed in our lists are ones that we feel best define this genre, and the ones you should focus your attentions on most when familiarizing yourself with its titles.

As always, feel free to leave your comments at the bottom letting us know what we missed and who got it right!

Happy watching!