Kevin Smith’s take on the buddy cop genre, Cop Out, arrives in theaters on Friday, and early notices seem to suggest what the trailers portended: That it’s one of the worst movies of the year. I’m looking forward to the sucker punch.
It does, however, give us a chance to add a best buddy cop list to our SRL archives. There are three traits common to the buddy cop movie: Partners of a different race; one by-the-books partner and one freewheeling partner; and often, one partner with facial hair, and the other without. Also, a murder involving a drug dealer or distributor often sets the narrative into motion, demonstrating that if drugs were legal, there’d be a lot fewer movies in the buddy cop genre.
And with that, here are the seven best buddy cop movies of all time,
7. Turner & Hooch
Buddies: Det. Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) and Hooch (A Pit Bull)
Premise: A detective must adopt the dog of a dead man to help him find the murderer.
Buddy Philosophy: These are the simple rules. No barking, no growling, you will not lift your leg to anything in this house. This is not your room. No slobbering, no chewing, you will wear a flea collar. This is not your room. No begging for food, no sniffing of crotches, and you will not drink from my toilet. This is not your room.
6. Bad Boys
Buddies: Mike Lowery (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence)
Premise: Two hip detectives protect a murder witness while investigating a case of stolen heroin.
Buddy Philosophy: My shit always works sometimes!
5. Training Day
Buddies: Alonzo (Denzel Washington) and Jake (Ethan Hawke)
Premise: On his first day on the job as a narcotics officer, a rookie cop works with a rogue detective who isn’t what he appears.
Buddy Philosophy: To protect the sheep you gotta catch the wolf, and it takes a wolf to catch a wolf. (I’m da po-lice, King Kong ain’t go nothing on me!)
4. Point Break
Buddies: Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) and Angelo Pappas (Gary Busey)
Premise: An FBI agent goes undercover to catch a gang of bank robbers who may be surfers.
Buddy Philosophy: Fear causes hesitation, and hesitation will cause your worst fears to come true.
3. Beverly Hills Cop
Buddies: Detective Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) and Det. Sgt. John Taggart (John Ashton) / Det. William ‘Billy’ Rosewood (Judge Reinhold)
Premise: A freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills.
Buddy Philosophy: You know, you don’t have to be embarrassed if your dick gets hard. Your dick is supposed to get hard. See? That’s the whole object of this. Taggart’s dick is hard, but he won’t let you know ‘cause he’s the boss. Boss’ dick got to stay limp, right? See, I ain’t on duty so my dick can be hard.
2. Lethal Weapon
Buddies: Sergeant Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Sergeant Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover)
Premise: A veteran cop is partnered with a young homicidal cop. Both having one thing in common, hating working in pairs. Now they must learn to work with one and other to stop a gang of drug smugglers.
Buddy Philosophy: Do you wanna hear that sometimes I think about eatin’ a bullet? Huh? Well, I do! I even got a special bullet for the occasion with a hollow point, look! Make sure it blows the back of my goddamned head out and do the job right! Every single day I wake up and I think of a reason not to do it! Every single day! You know why I don’t do it? This is gonna make you laugh! You know why I don’t do it? The job! Doin’ the job! Now that’s the reason!
1. Hot Fuzz
Buddies: Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) and PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost)
Premise: Jealous colleagues conspire to get a top London cop transferred to a small town and paired with a witless new partner. On the beat, the pair stumble upon a series of suspicious accidents and events.
Buddy Philosophy: Police work is as much about preventing crime as it is about fighting crime. Most importantly, it is about procedural correctness in the execution of unquestionable moral authority.