Just like every buddy cop movie needs a good sequel, so does every list about buddy cop movies!
This one even has the same intro as the last one:
The buddy cop movie, when done right, is a magical thing. So it’s a shame that we seem to be living in a fallow era for the genre, especially with the crop of performers and directors currently available.
If you ask me, it’s time for a resurgence. Every generation needs some great buddy cop movies, and every buddy cop pairing — whether darker or lighter in tone — needs its own theme tune.
It’s list time (again)! Hit it!
Catherine Keener and Andre Braugher
Two decades since they were rookie detectives assigned to each other as partners, Keener and Braugher meet their toughest challenge yet: age and exhaustion. A recent spate of apparently unconnected, vicious crimes make the streets of Los Angeles seem a battleground to their eyes, a lost cause. That is until Keener discovers something at the scene of the latest bloody altercation that points to something deeper. Something that links events previously thought disparate. Cautiously digging deeper while at the same time fighting to overturn her partner’s skepticism and weariness, she must get as close as possible to the truth without making her presence known.
Tom Hardy and Jon Hamm
1950’s New York. Jon Hamm plays the distinguished and decorated police captain with a dirty secret: he’s as crooked as the day is long. But with half the precinct also in the pocket of the mob and half too afraid to speak out or act, there doesn’t seem anything that could disturb the calm waters of his orderly world. That is until a hard-drinking Irish rookie (Hardy) with a deceptive eye for detail, a nose for corruption, and an unflinching (if idiosyncratic) sense of right and wrong begins working under his command. There’s only one way this can end, and not everyone will walk away from it.
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
John Cho and Samira Wiley
Suave, universally well-liked, and almost preternaturally good at his job, Detective John Cho is in line for a big promotion when the unthinkable happens: accusations of corruption start to fly. Accusations that seem surprisingly credible. Suspended without pay, pending a full investigation, Cho is at first flummoxed and mortified at the turn of events. His resolve soon hardens, however, and his detective instincts take over: he knows this is a stitch-up. Then he it hits him: this has happened before! He recalls the case from across town of the promising young detective (Wiley) suddenly brought low and busted down to beat cop by unbelievable but verified accusations. Never being one to leave a loose thread un-tugged, Cho resolves to make contact…
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Jessica Williams and Lena Headey
Jessica Williams never asked for this. She was perfectly happy in her slot as the best damn correspondent the Daily Show ever had. She didn’t wish upon a falling star for Lena Headey’s disembodied consciousness to come crashing into her mind in the middle of a quiet Friday night’s drink; for Headey’s voice to echo in her skull, ranting and raving about being a detective from the future, her mind-state having been projected back in time to stop a terrible crime before it even happens. She was sure she had the calculations right, she claimed. She should’ve ended up in the right body. But she didn’t. She ended up in Jessica Williams’, with the ability to temporarily assume control of her motor functions. While Williams tries to keep a hold of her sanity and patience, Future Detective Headey uses what little time she has in this form to figure just what the hell went wrong. Assuming control of Williams’ body mostly at night when her host’s consciousness is asleep, she prowls the streets of New York City, slowly coming to the realisation that maybe her calculations were right after all…
Directed by: James Gunn
Salma Hayek and Michael Fassbender
Salma Hayek’s mercurial but gifted detective clashes with the by-the-books and effective novice assigned to her as partner (Fassbender). As personalities and methodologies clash, the two have to learn to put their differences aside to solve the case before things go from bad to worse.
Also they totally become lovers.
Directed by: Brian De Palma (but, like, early Brian De Palma)
Forest Whitaker and Hugo Weaving
Once the best of friends and consummate professionals, Whitaker and Weaving are retired detectives, broken mentally by a major case they just could not crack, and which eventually got buried. Scattered to opposite ends of the country and living lives of varyingly relaxed retirement, they both notice signs in the media of the case bubbling up again. While a seemingly toothless federal effort gets underway, they both independently realise that the only people who can really get this done are the two of them, together. All they have to do is pick up the phone and rekindle the partnership. No badge? No problem.
Directed by: Dan Gilroy
Emma Stone and Jake Johnson
Two happy-go-lucky beat cops with an above-average predilection for marijuana stumble upon a major international terrorist cell while getting high together after a shift one night. Through a combination of dumb luck, stoner logic, and friendship they somehow, against all odds, succeed in bringing down a deadly domestic terrorist cell in the heartland of America.
Directed by: Evan Goldberg
Nathan Fillion and Timothy Olyphant
Look, this is pretty fu**ing simple: It’s basically Malcolm Reynolds-as-space-sheriff, and it’s Raylan Givens. You shouldn’t need more than that. Do you want those bucketfuls of nerd money flowing your way? Then make this movie. It doesn’t matter how the two collide, they just do.
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Tessa Thomspon and Tom Hiddleston
Ambitious, career-driven, and a little bit ruthless, Tessa Thompson’s rising detective butts heads with a bumbling, ineffectual Hiddleston. Promoted ahead of her because of his British connections, she must put aside her pride to do what she knows is best for the department and her city. What she doesn’t know is that there might be more to Hiddleston than first meets the eye.
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh, who totally comes out of retirement for this.
Gina Carano, Amandla Stenberg, and Maisie Williams
Newly-orphaned street urchin Amandla Stenberg never had much chance at life. Scrabbling to get by on the rough streets of Chicago where it seems to be perpetually dusk or nighttime, she catches a lucky break when she is befriended by the more experienced and hardy Maisie Williams, who teaches her how to be a skilled pickpocket. Things go smoothly for the pair for a while, until one fateful night when they decide to target the wrong woman. After a good and measured beating, the mysterious and taciturn badass played by Gina Carano, forgives the two and takes them under her wing, promising to teach them the skills necessary not only to survive, but thrive. The fact that Carano is a cop deep undercover and she may offer a slight chance of figuring out who killed Stenberg’s parents and why is icing on the cake.
Directed by: Rian Johnson