The Heat (and 10 of the best ‘Buddy Cop’ movies)
Following 2011’s hit Bridesmaids, Paul Feig is back in the director’s chair, and his latest film is a rare thing: a female buddy cop movie. The Heat, released on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 25th, stars Sandra Bullock as uptight FBI agent Sarah Ashburn and Melissa McCarthy as Boston Police Dept. cop Shannon Mullins, making up a classic ‘odd-couple’ and finally providing a female counterpart to a genre that has traditionally been very male-dominated.
Ashburn is chasing a promotion at the Bureau, but to get it she must track down a drug lord by the name of Mr. Larkin. She visits his associate, Rojas, who has been arrested by Mullins. When Mullins finds out why the FBI want to speak to her suspect, she decides to try and track down Larkin herself.
The laughs come thick and fast and The Heat is in a similar vein to Bridesmaids in its style of comedy. Bullock plays it relatively straight with most of the belly-laugh moments coming from McCarthy’s foul-mouthed character, and though she’s been around for a while now (gaining kudos her run in TV series The Gilmore Girls), you get the sense her star is on the rise.
Most of all though, it is refreshing to see an all-female buddy movie on the big screen and it’s something we’d like to see more of. In the meantime, here are our Top 10 Buddy Cop movies:
10. The Other Guys
We all know how buddy cop movies go: two mavericks breaking all the rules, getting into car chases, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake etc. and Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's characters are no different. But this film isn't about them.
Starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as two pen-pushing cops spending most of their time at their desks, The Other Guys follows these two ambitious wannabes as they finally get the opportunity to take on a big case. Will they screw it up? Probably.
9. Lethal Weapon
Mel Gibson and Danny Glover star in Richard Donner's cop movie from 1987 as Martin Riggs (Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Glover). Murtaugh is a veteran cop who likes wroking alone. Having just turned 50, he is assigned to a case involving the murder of a prostitute, who also turns out to be the daughter of an old friend. He is firced to take on a new partner in Riggs, a cop who has been struggling with suicidal tendencies since the death of his wife in a car crash. They soon find themslves in the crosshairs of a gang of ex-Vietnam war mercenaries who want them dead for meddling in their affairs.
As buddy cop movies go, this has got the lot: the odd couple, explosions and plenty of cheesy one-liners.
8. Beverly Hills Cop
The film that turned Eddie Murphy from stand-up comedian and Saturday Night Live regular into box office gold, Beverly Hills Cop stars Murphy as Axel Foley, a Detroit P.D. cop whose friend Mikey is killed in front of him. Foley follows the killer all the way to Beverly Hills and instantly begins causing trouble for the local police department, so the local police chief assigns Billy (Judge Reinhold) and Sergeant Taggart (John Ashton) to keep an eye on him. Foley soon drags them into his own personal investigation to find the people responsible for his friend's death.
Complete with one of the most recognisable soundtracks of the 80s, Beverly Hills Cop spawned two sequels and launched Murphy's acting career. Still a favourite almost 30 years later.
7. 21 Jump Street
Based on the 80s TV series of the same name, 21 Jump Street stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as two underperforming cops who are sent to a high school to pose undercover as students in order to crack a ring of drug dealers.
Unlike the series, this film is a reboot that is heavy on the comedy and in a similar vein to 2004's Starsky & Hutch - but don't let that put you off, this film is actually a lot of fun.
6. Bad Boys
With starring roles for Will Smith as the super-cool Mike Lowry and Martin Lawrence as his partner Marcus Burnett, what begins as a drugs bust for these two renegade cops narcortics soon turns into a murder investigation - the victim of which turns out to be a friend of Mike's. When a witness calls insisting she will only speak to Mike, he is unavailable and Marcus has to speak to her instead. He is then forced by the chief to continue this charade until the drugs are recovered, so family man marcus has to switch lives with single, ladies man Mike - all the while keeping this a secret from both the witness, and Marcus' wife.
Equally split between action and comedy, this is by no means a highbrow film but is still a lot of fun.
In another reboot of a TV series - this time from the 50s - Dragnet stars Dan Akroyd as the nephew of the original series' protagonist, Joe Friday (and, confusingly, he also shares the same name). Sgt. Friday is, much like his uncle, a straight-laced cop who likes to do things by the book. Tom Hanks, meanwhile, plays his much more relaxed partner Detective Pep Streebek, and together the pair try to solve some very strange robberies, all connected by the perpitrator's calling cards bearing the word 'Pagan'.
Their love/hate relationship makes this comedy and it is perhaps one of the more underrated films from the era. If you have a slightly juvenile sense of humour, this is not to be missed.
4. End of Watch
This crime-thriller starring Jake Gyllenhall and Michael Pena couldn't be more different to our last entry, but what it lacks in comedy it more than makes up for in tension, action and drama. Set in South Central Los Angeles, Brian (Gyllenhall) and Mike (Pena) are two swaggering tough guys working in one of the city's toughest neighbourhoods and fighting against crime from the area's Mexican and African-American gangs. When they make one bust too many, the Mexican Cartel wants them dead.
More gritty and realistic than most on this list, David Ayer's film from last year is definitely one to watch for fans of shows like The Wire.
3. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Robert Downey Jr. stars as Harry Lockhart, a thief posing as an actor who is accidentally sumbitted for an audition to play a cop. It isn't long before Harry finds himself caught up in the middle of a murder invsetigation a private investigator named Gay Perry (played by Val Kilmer).
Featuring great performances from both Kilmer and Downey Jr., this is a crime-thriller peppered with well placed comedy that should entertain most.
While not exactly a traditional buddy cop movie, this tense thriller stars Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as two detectives working on the case of a psychopathic serial killer (Kevin Spacey) who has comitted a series of murders based on the Seven Deadly Sins. Spacey's character toys with the detectives and keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat right up until the film's grisly finale. A stone-cold classic.
1. Hot Fuzz
While this might seem an unusual choice for the Number One slot for some, Edgar Wright's buddy cop comedy is, above all, a homage to the genre and features all the action and comedy you would expect from a Wright film starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The second film in the so-called 'Blood and Ice-Cream Trilogy', Hot Fuzz tells the story of PC Scott Angel (Pegg), a no-nonsense, by-the-book copper who is so efficient at his job he is making the rest of his department look bad. The solution? The chief inspector relocates him to the sleepy Gloucestershire village of Sandford - a place that has seen no murders in 30 years... but plenty of accidents.
Angel is partnered with Danny (Frost), the good natured but not-the-sharpest-tool-in-the-shed son of the local police chief. Before long, Angel suspects there is more to the recent spate of accidental deaths than meets the eye.
Action-packed and funny as hell, Hot Fuzz is our favourite buddy cop movie yet.