5. Showdown In Little Tokyo (1991)
Directed By Mark L. Lester
Starring Dolph Lundgren, Brandon Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa & Tia Carrere
An American with a Japanese upbringing, Chris Kenner (Dolph Lundgren) teams up with Japanese-American rookie Johnny Murata (Brandon Lee) to take down a vicious yakuza crime lord and his gang of thugs, while protecting a witness who can testify against the baddies.
Continuing in the vein of camp ‘90s action comedies, Showdown In Little Tokyo is a riot, packed with laughs, one-liners, homoerotic undertones and martial arts. It epitomises everything that’s great about cinema for the B movie action connoisseur, but it’s upsetting to watch as it reminds us that Brandon Lee was a terrific talent who was taken from us far too soon.
4. The Hidden (1987)
Directed By Jack Sholder
Starring Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Nouri, Claudia Christian & Clarence Felder
An alien parasite with the ability to possess human bodies goes on a violent crime spree in LA, pursued by a human cop and an alien cop inhabiting a human body.
The Hidden is one of the most overlooked horror comedies of the 1980s, as well as one of the best buddy cop films ever made. If you’ve ever wanted to see an alien steal a Ferrari then this is where you’ll get to see that happen. However, corniness aside, this is a fantastic action movie that plays with the traditional tropes of the buddy cop movie, by adding a fun otherworldly twist. Fans of the original Terminator will have a blast with this one.
3. End of Watch (2012)
Directed By David Ayer
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick & Frank Grillo
Shot documentary-style, this film follows the daily grind of two young police officers in LA who are partners and friends, and what happens when they meet criminal forces greater than themselves.
David Ayer is synonymous with buddy movies, albeit centred on dysfunctional characters. His debut directorial feature Harsh Times is grim, but friendship is the central theme to the story. End of Watch is a bit lighter, but it’s not exactly pleasant viewing either. However, it is a fantastically gritty film with authentic performances from Gyllenhaal and Pena. Just be sure to bring tissues.
2. The Guard (2011)
Directed By John Michael McDonagh
Starring Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong & Owen Sharpe
A vulgar Irish cop (Brendan Gleeson) and a straight-laced American FBI agent (Don Cheadle) uncover police corruption among the former’s superiors while probing a drug-trafficking ring.
Despite enjoying modest box office success and critical acclaim, The Guard is one of those gems that’s been under the radar for the most part. If you haven’t seen it yet, stop what you’re doing right now and watch it. The humour is razor sharp, witty and politically incorrect, made even funnier by Gleeson’s straight-faced portrayal as a racist Irish police officer that thrives on confrontation because he’s bored. It makes for an interesting pairing with Don Cheadle’s character, who bears the brunt of much of good natured ribbing. It takes smarts to make offensive funny and satirical, and The Guard has a lot of brains.
1. Hot Fuzz (2007)
Directed By Edgar Wright
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Jim Broadbent & Timmy Dalton
Exceptional London cop Nicholas Angel is involuntarily transferred to a quaint English village and paired with a witless new partner. While on the beat, Nicholas suspects a sinister conspiracy is afoot with the residents.
Following the massive success of Shaun of the Dead in 2004, Edgar Wright once again teamed up with the dynamic duo of British comedy – Simon Pegg and Nick Frost – for another hilarious outing. Only this time the zombie ravaged streets of the big city were swapped for a seemingly quiet English village. Friendship is the central theme of Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy, and they’re all memorable in their own way. It’s hard to pick a favourite. That being said, Hot Fuzz is, quite simply, one of the best cop movies of all time. It’s like Point Break meets Midsomer Murders, with a little bit of The Wicker Man, The Omen, giallo and slasher films thrown in for good measure. Every character in film stands out, not just the protagonists, and the laughs don’t stop coming until the end credits roll.