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Cop Out - The best buddy cop movies

Cop Out

Feature by Jack Foley

The “buddy cop” genre was a staple of 80’s cinema. The premise was very simple. Take two very different characters that instantly despise each other and get them to like each other within about 120mins while they solve a crime, beat up some bad guys and clear their names.

Now legendary director Kevin Smith has taken up the Buddy Cop mantle with Cop Out, staring action movie legend Bruce Wills, and comedy king Tracy Morgan.

The pair play bickering-but-got-your-back Brooklyn-based NYPD detectives Jimmy Monroe and Paul Hodges, cop partners on the hunt for a gangster in possession of a very special baseball card.

To celebrate the September 20 release of Kevin Smith’s hilarious homage to the Buddy Cop genre, we’re going to travel through time to guide you through the best Buddy Cop capers ever produced!

BEVERLY HILLS COP (1984)

48 Hours may have been Eddie Murphy’s breakthrough role but it was his iconic turn as Axel Foley that made him the most bankable star in Hollywood throughout the 1980’s. Beverly Hills Cop is essentially a very simple fish out of water tale, with Murphy mastering the role of streetwise wise-cracker who has to use his big mouth to blag his way out of some big trouble.

RUNNING SCARED (1986)

The pairing of the late Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal may not seem like a recipe for success nowadays but back in 1986 these two actors were well known and well capable of drawing in the punters. The two stars play hard working Chicago detectives who make it their mission to bring down evil drug lord Jimmy Smits. The film also has one of the best soundtracks of the 80’s.

LETHAL WEAPON (1987)

Richard Donner’s Lethal Weapon introduced us to two very different L.A. Detectives, family man Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) and suicidal nut case, Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson). Riggs and Murtaugh clash in every sense of the word but after a succession of hilarious capers they manage to find a mutual tolerance for each other that blossoms when they track down Murtaugh’s kidnapped daughter. Without doubt the quintessential Buddy Cop picture.

KISS KISS BANG BANG (2005)

Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr take aim in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

It seems nobody went to see Kiss Kiss Bang Bang at the cinema and if you were one of the few that did then you can go directly to the top of the class. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a modern classic and it’s criminal that more people haven’t seen it. Featuring a spellbinding turn by Robert Downey Jr. and what could be a career best performance by Val Kilmer the film is about a criminal turned actor who starts taking detective lessons from a private eye. What he doesn’t realise is that he ends up knee deep in a murder investigation along with his high school dream girl. Downey Jr’s narration is hilarious as he breaks the third wall.

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TANGO & CASH (1989)

The breakdown… Sylvester Stallone plays the dapper Tango and Kurt Russell plays the dirty Cash in this awesome “scruffy cop hates smooth cop” classic. Of course we have to wait for a few bro-mance issues to be resolved between the two before they can really join forces to hunt down a criminal mastermind trying to frame them for murder. Snake and Rambo kicking ass on the screen at the same time… Now that really is enough to bring an adrenaline fuelled tear to the eye!

THE LAST BOY SCOUT (1991)

Lightning unfortunately didn’t strike twice for Bruce Willis or Shane Black at the box office. Screenwriter Shane Black had recently had major success with a little film called Lethal Weapon while Bruce Willis had just stared in the greatest action film ever made with Die Hard. The stage was set for the big money to come rolling back in but The Last Boy Scout didn’t light up the cash register. It’s a crying shame because this is a brilliant action film with its two stars riffling off each other to create some seriously intense Buddy Cop movie magic.

BAD BOYS (1995)

By the mid 90’s the Buddy Cop genre was a far cry from its 80’s heyday but a young director named Michael Bay instantly ignited it back to life. Armed with the fresh prince himself Will Smith and popular comedian Martin Lawrence, Bad Boys gave the general public two characters that were endlessly quotable and hugely likeable. Smooth talking ladies man Will Smith and devoted husband and father Martin Lawrence produced great chemistry as they team up to protect a murder witness while trying to solve a drug heist. The film raked in millions at the box office not least due to the fact that Tea Leoni is smoking hot in it. Michael Bay went on to make Pearl Harbor. I guess we all make mistakes.

HOT FUZZ (2007)

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Hot Fuzz

Edgar Wright is a creative genius and Hot Fuzz showcases his undeniable talent at spoofing various cinematic genres with the greatest of ease. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost chew the scenery like nobody’s business in what is essentially a love letter to every Buddy Cop movie ever seen. It has everything. A mismatched pair. Killer action set pieces. Crafty one-liners and a suitably evil baddie in Timothy Dalton. Nick Frost’s Danny Butterman is the ultimate scene-stealer with a ready-made obsession towards Point Break and Bad Boys II. The only thing missing is a cheeky wink to the camera. Glorious!

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RUSH HOUR (1998)

The fastest hands in the east versus the biggest mouth in the west. It can only be the brilliant Rush Hour. Forget about the sub-par sequels for a second and remember just how great the original actually was. It’s quite a challenge to excel in both the action set pieces and the fast-talking comedy elements in a Buddy Cop picture but Rush Hour is a perfect example on hitting the mark squarely on the head. Be it Chris Tucker’s improvised martial arts skills or Jackie Chan’s broken English, Rush Hour never fails to bring a smile to everyone’s face. But please, please, please… No more sequels.

TURNER & HOOCH (1988)

You’re Tom Hanks, it’s 1988 and you’ve just became a huge star after Big. You’re positioned to take Hollywood by storm. What do you do? You follow up with a buddy cop comedy that pairs you with a crime-solving dog! Yes Turner & Hooch is unequivocally the best buddy cop-dog movie ever made. Laced with brilliant comedic moments, usually stemming from Hooch’s drool and if you didn’t cry at the end then you must be dead inside.

Cop Out arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Platforms on September 20, 2010.