Last night I was lucky enough to catch a preview of Shane Black’s The Nice Guys (2016). As much a satire about modern society as glimpse of the past. The film moves along at a great pace not giving you time to think too much about what is going on. The chemistry between Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling is fantastic but there is another more important angle to the movie, at times it is devastatingly funny, often because of Goslings physical, sometimes even slapstick comedy. We shouldn’t be surprised by this given Black’s directorial debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005). Not a commercial success, but a cult classic and probably the film that begun Robert Downey Jr’s renascence. Before all that, Shane Black’s greatest claim to fame was as the writer of Lethal Weapon (1997) the film that reinvented at set the bar for buddy cop movies. That the inspiration for this list of Buddy Cop Movies you may have overlooked, all released between Lethal Weapon and The Nice Guys,:
Alien Nation (1988) – Probably the most surprising movie on the list. A sci-fi movie about an alien civilization that has trying to integrate into human society. James Caan on excellent form plays a racist, xenophobic cop paired with the first alien detective. As you would expect it is an allegory for race relations. If you look beneath the prosthetics the alien cop, Det. Samuel ‘George’ Francisco is played by Mandy Patinkin best known as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride and Saul Berenson in homeland.
Taxi (1998) – Comedy , crime movie about a cop who inlists the help of a taxi driver. don’t be confused by the terrible American remake. This French modern classic is screwball delight. Written by Luc Besson before his more famous and nasty recent films as a writer and/or produced. The film works on some great set pieces and the chemistry between Samy Naceri and Frédéric Diefenthal. It also boasts an early performance from Marion Cotillard. The first sequel is worth watching, subsequent films are not.
Blitz (2011) – Cop, (Brant) An unlikely inclusion on the list. British crime thriller, Jason Statham plays on cop on the hunt for a serial killer. The buddy in question is played by Paddy Considine, an unlikely pairing as you would expect for the genre but one that makes the movie really work. An excellent film that doesn’t always go in the direction you expect. Lookout for Mark Rylance in a rare movie appearance.
Dredd (2012) – Karl Urban’s Judge Dredd puts right all the mistakes of Sylvester Stallone’s 1995 effort. Rooky Judge Olivia Thirlby provides the buddy and is actually the heart of the film. A great film that deserved a bigger audience. The constraints on the plot by the limited environment of the apartment block really help the movie. Comparisons to The Raid(2011) are inevitable but favourable for Dredd.
Miami Vice (2006) – An ultra slick, ultra stylish film take on the 80’s TV show. Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx are on great form as Crockett and Tubbs. Michael Mann crafted a film far better than it has ever given credit for, not a nostalgia trip based on the TV show or the high octane all action film the trailers promised, but an intelligent drama/thriller.
If you haven’t seen them recently, check out these five movies along with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and the first two Lethal Weapon movies. Also be sure to check out The Nice Guys when it is released next week.