My Fave Five Buddy Cop Films

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Ah, February.  Home of Valentine’s Day, the day you spend with that someone special.  But that “special someone” isn’t necessarily always a significant other.  Your other half might possibly be your best friend. There are plenty of inseparable friends to be found in film.  Buddy cop films have some of the most memorable pairs in cinematic history.  Whether they were friends at the start of the movie or forced to work together, they are always the best of friends at the the end.  We realize they are two peas in a pod and they wouldn’t be the same without each other. In the spirit of love and friendship, here are my five favorite buddy cop films.

Bad Boys movie poster 5) Bad Boys / Bad Boys II

Marcus (Martin Lawrence) and Mike (Will Smith) are long-time friends by the time we meet them at the beginning of Bad Boys.  Their friendship is without question, which is easily sold by the chemistry of the two leads.  Throughout the first film, we see how close they really are.  Even though their relationship is on the rocks in Bad Boys II, they clearly still have each others’ backs, as evident by the scene when Marcus’ daughter’s boyfriend comes by for a visit.  If the characters aren’t cool enough for you, these films are tried and true popcorn action flicks, very reminiscent of the classic 80s buddy cop films.  These are the type of films you can just sit back and enjoy.

End of Watch movie poster4) End of Watch

End of Watch might be the most realistic buddy cop film on this list. End of Watch follows Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena), two beat cops in Los Angeles in a documentary style.  Despite the found-footage-esque camera style, the action is still very tight and crisp.  Normally I’m not a huge fan of it but it is well done and works for the story.  Also through this technique, the friendship can really be felt between Brian and Mike.  From patrolling in their squad car, to making a drug bust, to their home lives and everything in between.  Their friendship is displayed so well that the ending comes as a punch to the gut.

21 Jump Street movie poster3) 21 Jump Street / 22 Jump Street

Based on a TV series from the 80s, Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are tasked with bringing down a drug dealer by infiltrating a high school… as students.  Schmidt and Jenko start on opposite sides of the popularity ladder but become extremely close friends, almost inseparable.  One of my favorite scenes from the series is when the pair is talking to the counselor in 22 Jump Street about their relationship, where they sound like a married couple. The whole premise of the series is to parody reboots and sequels, to which it does a fantastic job, including many tongue-in-cheek jokes clearly aimed at said reboots and sequels. In the current day and age of Hollywood, it’s nice to see films that can poke fun at themselves.

The Heat movie poster2) The Heat

When I first went to see The Heat, I didn’t expect to fall in love with it as much as I have.  Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) and Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) come from complete opposite sides of the spectrum.  Ashburn is a very by the book FBI agent and Mullins is more of a do-anything-to-get-the-job-done detective.  Although this dynamic has been done many times before this film came out, Bullock and McCarthy make it feel fun and refreshing.  The two comediennes show that they can kick ass with the best of any 80s action male duo.

Lethal Weapon movie poster1) Lethal Weapon series

The best buddy cop films start with the two leads at odds with each other.  Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is a sergeant in the LAPD about to retire when he is forced to work with Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson), a seemingly insane narcotics officer of the LAPD.  Riggs and Murtaugh are absolutely nothing alike, at least they seem that way at first.  Although they are at each others throats in the beginning, they become very close friends.  Together they stop drug smugglers, weapon smugglers, and illegal immigrant smugglers.  They dealt with a lot of smugglers.  Lethal Weapon shows what a buddy cop film can be at the genre’s best.

Honorable mentions include Rush Hour, The Other Guys, Starsky & Hutch, Hot Fuzz, and Tango & Cash.

What are some of your favorite buddy cop films?

The Heat Review

The Heat was the the next movie of my Original Six reviews.  I really, really enjoyed it as you will soon find out. It can be formulaic as a buddy cop story but Bullock and McCarthy work so well together.  Definitely up there as one of my favorite buddy cop movies and maybe even a favorite comedy.

The Heat movie posterSynopsis
By-the-book FBI special agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) must work with tough-as-nails Boston detective Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) to bring down a drug lord. The problem is neither works well with others. They must learn to work together or risk losing what is most important to them.

The Heat is absolutely hilarious. McCarthy steals the show in this film. The first time I really saw her in a leading role was Identity Thief earlier this year and I thought she was great in that movie, too. She is quickly becoming one of my favorite comedic actresses and can’t wait to see what she’ll do next. Bullock, on the other hand, has always been one of my favorite actresses and she is great as usual. What makes the comedy work so well is the chemistry between these two. They play so well off each other, it is the female version of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly.

Although McCarthy and Bullock’s chemistry stole the show, the supporting cast was great as well. My favorite was a drug dealer played by Spoken Reasons (John A. Baker, Jr.). The scenes with the Mullins family where also pretty good. Of course being set Boston, there is the mandatory Boston accent joke.

The core of some of the best buddy-cop movies is the initial conflict between the two characters, particularly when the two are very different (see Lethal Weapon or Tango and Cash). The Heat is no different, and I think that is what makes it work so well. The first half of the movie when Bullock and McCarthy are conflicted make up some of the best moments of the film.

The plot follows in the footsteps of many cop movies and can be a bit formulaic. Unfortunately, this can make the make it predictable. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. But this is a tried-and-true formula, so I can’t knock it too hard, just don’t expect anything ground breaking in the story.

The Heat is one of the best buddy-cop movies I have seen in a long time. Although the plot was predictable, it was refreshing to see a buddy-cop film with female leads (none are coming to mind off the top of my head). With great chemistry between Bullock and McCarthy, and an excellent supporting cast, I couldn’t stop laughing.



Cast & Crew
Paul Feig – Director
Katie Dippold – Writer
Mike Andrews – Composer

Sandra Bullock – Ashburn
Melissa McCarthy – Mullins
Demian Bichir – Hale
Marlon Wayans – Levy
Michael Rapaport – Jason Mullins
Spoken Reasons – Rojas
Dan Bakkendahl – Craig
Taran Killam – Adam
Michael McDonald – Julian
Thomas F. Wilson – Captain Woods
Kaiklin Olson – Tatiana
Michael Tucci – Mr. Mullins
Jane Curtin – Mrs. Mullins
Joey McIntyre – Peter Mullins
Bill Burr – Mark Mullins
Nathan Corddry – Michael Mullins
Jessica Chaffin – Gina
Jamie Denbo – Beth