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As a genre, buddy cop movies are prone to becoming franchises. We’ve got multiple 48 Hrs. movies, Lethal Weapon spawned three sequels, and even Rush Hour birthed multiple chapters. The latest entry into this realm, Ride Along 2 won the weekend box office race, despite abysmal reviews. There have already been rumblings of a third installment in the burgeoning franchise, and we thought that this might be the perfect time to take a look at some of our favorite buddy cop movies that never had the opportunity to expand the franchise, but that we’d love to see.
Tango & Cash1989’s Tango & Cash was tailor made to birth a franchise. It had two big stars as the lead duo of mismatched cops—Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone—a slew of wacky side characters that could have made appearances across multiple films, and the end left the door open for more. But alas, the further adventures of Ray Tango and Gabriel Cash were not to be. Production problems plagued it from the start, as Kurt Russell was a last-minute replacement for Patrick Swayze, the budget ballooned, and there was even a protracted legal battle between producers. It was still a reasonably significant box office success, but given all the issues, Tango & Cash was not destined to become a franchise. Think of all the violent works of art we missed out on.
The HeatWith movies like Bridesmaids and the upcoming Ghostbusters, director Paul Feig has a penchant for taking traditionally male-dominated genres and giving them a female-fronted reworking. He did this for the buddy cop arena with 2013’s The Heat, pairing up a straight-laced FBI Agent (Sandra Bullock) with a slovenly Boston street cop (Melissa McCarthy). The result didn’t break any new ground, but it is really goddamn funny, with an emotional streak and legitimate connection between the two leads. Bullock and McCarthy are a perfect mismatched duo, and we’d love to see more of their Ashburn and Mullins, and given the $229 million worldwide box office take, there are a lot of others out there in the same boat.
Turner & HoochA sequel to the 1989 man/beast team up Turner & Hooch will never happen, as Beasley the dog, the slobbery Dogue de Bordeaux who shares the screen with Tom Hanks, is long gone by now. And Tom Hanks is all serious now and it seems unlikely that he’d want to partner up with a pooch for more on-screen shenanigans, unless there’s a potential Oscar involved. But how awesome would it be to see Hanks’ super neat and tidy detective go on another adventure with a drool-covered mess of a canine? It’s a fun take on the Odd Couple formula, and I’ll watch just about any movie where a cop has to work with a stubborn pup (K-9, Top Dog, The Rookie Cop). Someone needs to get Tom Hanks on the phone and make Turner & Hooch 2 happen, like right now. Maybe he can squeeze it in between prestige pictures.
Running ScaredA follow up to 1986’s Running Scared is also, sadly, never going to happen as co-star Gregory Hines passed away after a battle with liver cancer in 2003. Not to mention that Billy Crystal is pushing 70 and such action fare has never been his particular area of interest or expertise, so getting him to reprise his role as a wise cracking Chicago cop may be a task that no one can accomplish. But in a perfect world, the further adventures of Ray Hughes (Hines) and Danny Costanzo (Crystal) would have been good for at least another movie or two, and I would be on board for as many chapters as they wanted to make.
The Hard WayJames Woods as a tough as nails, grizzled New York cop on the trail of a vicious killer is a no-brainer. But pairing him up with Michael J. Fox playing a snotty, spoiled actor researching a role is a stroke of genius that propelled John Badham’s 1991 action comedy The Hard Way. While this formula could easily have fallen flat on its face, its entertaining as hell, full of solid action and stunt work, and is confident and self-aware enough that it presents something different that ultimately makes it stand out from the buddy cop herd. A reasonable hit at both the box office and with the critics, I could totally go for at least another helping of The Hard Way.
Hot FuzzTo be honest, I don’t actually want to see a sequel to Edgar Wright’s 2007’s send up of buddy cop movies, Hot Fuzz, though I’d still watch the hell out of one. Any time Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Wright get together is something worth watching, and if they wanted to deliver more adventures of hardcore big city cop Nicholas Angel (Pegg) and his small town compatriot Danny Butterman (Frost), I’d be game. Still, some things are better left alone, and instead of lamenting that there is no Hot Fuzz 2, we should just sit back and bask in the glory of a movie that is simultaneously a great spoof and a kick ass action flick in the vein of the movies it lampoons on the surface.
The Last Boy ScoutNo one plays a drunk, beaten down, world-weary schlub like Bruce Willis, and his disgraced former Secret Service agent turned private detective in The Last Boy Scout is one of my favorites. He has to team up with disgraced former professional football player Jimmy Dix (Damon Wayans) to solve a murder and expose massive corruption in professional football and local government. Directed by Tony Scott (Top Gun) and with a script from Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), the leads won best on-screen duo at the MTV Movie Awards. A moderate hit, Roger Ebert both praised The Last Boy Scout as a smart, slick thriller at the same time as he slammed it for being "vilely misogynistic." All of that is true, and there are some cheesy as hell moments, but I’d still sign up for another go round.
Freebie And The BeanHow can you not want more of a movie called Freebie and the Bean? Especially when the leads in this 1974 action comedy are James Caan and Alan Arkin, a pair of renegade San Francisco detectives. As usual, one, Freebie (Caan), is corrupt and wild, always with his hand out, while the other, Bean (Arkin), is a straight-laced career man with eyes on advancing up the ladder. During the Super Bowl, the two detectives try to put a bow on a 14-month case against racketeer Red Meyers, who also has a variety of hitmen on his tail. Freebie and the Bean has one of the greatest, insanely destructive foot and car chases ever put to film—what is it with San Francisco-based cop movies and awesome chase scenes? While there won’t be a sequel, there was a short-lived TV series in 1980, but it failed to capture the magic of the film and quickly disappeared.
2 GunsThere’s an old school appeal to the Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington starring 2 Guns that you don’t find as often at the theater anymore. It doesn’t break any new ground, by the wise cracking duo, made up of two undercover agents from different branches of law enforcement operating without knowledge of each other, is funny, full of fantastic action sequences and violence, and the two have great on screen chemistry. The convoluted plot has them rob the CIA, fight drug dealers, and learn to work together. And I’d totally be down to go on this ride again, especially if they find a way to bring back Bill Paxton as the skeevy CIA spook who, along with an assist from his mustache, steals every scene he’s in.
The Other GuysYou don’t get much more mismatched than a mild-mannered accountant and a hot-tempered detective who shot Derek Jeter, played by Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg respectively in The Other Guys. They’re not the greatest cops in the world, but they do want to be like the greatest cops in the world, but when they seize the chance to step up, save the day, and prove themselves, things don’t go quite a smooth as they hoped. The Adam McKay written and directed action comedy performed reasonably well at the box office and earned largely positive critical reviews, and all three of the key players are still going strong, so The Other Guys may have the best chance of any title on this list to get a sequel. For now, however, we’ll have to settle for the Ferrell/Wahlberg team up in Daddy’s Home.