Here Come The Fuzz: An Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Police Movies!
by Barry Wurst
April 19, 2007
As a warm-up for Hot Fuzz, an enjoyable spoof of action movie clichÃ©s that opens this weekend nationwide, it's worth going back and looking at a few of the film's targets. Bad Boys II and Point Break are lampooned on screen by the film, but they are but a few of the movies that Fuzz is gently teasing. Here are some of the films it references, as well as some of the best action movies from the past 20 years.
For additional reference from Hot Fuzz's own posters, check out our article comparing of Hot Fuzz's posters to the ones they mock.
Not the first of its kind, but one of the best. The dark, character-driven first film (as opposed to the action/comedy fueled follow-ups) isn't as much fun as the sequels, but it still packs a wallop.
One of the best action films ever made, it changed the look of the modern action hero. Out with muscular, untouchable he-men (Schwarzenegger, Stallone) and in with working class, blue-collar, everymen (the hero even cries at one point - I'd like to see Cobra do that!). We all could relate to John McClane and we're in his corner for the whole ride. This film has been copied countless times and spawned two (now three) very good sequels, but the original is still where it's at.
In addition to being Michael Mann's best underworld crime thriller (and a magnificent character piece if there ever was one), the climactic bank robbery is one of the best, most jaw droppingly thrilling shoot-’em-up sequences. Ever!
The Last Boy Scout
This one is dumb, sexist, overly profane, ridiculously violent and MTV-slick. It's also hilarious, chair-grabbingly thrilling, clever and crowd pleasing. Some hate it. Some love it. You know who you are.
Of all the buddy/cop action comedies, this one is really one of the very best. Pairing Robert De Niro with Charles Grodin doesn't sound like it would work… until you see the film. Character and laughs get bigger priority than action, but, from Danny Elfman's perfect score to John Ashton's hilarious performance, Martin Brest's film remains a favorite guy's movie.
The follow-up, Another 48 Hrs, has the better action sequences, but the original is the better movie and has the bigger laughs. Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy - it was as strange a pairing then as it is now, but they're great together. You haven't lived until you see Murphy (in his prime) go into a redneck bar.
Okay, I know most are burnt out by John Woo, with his array of slow-mo and doves making their way into every one of his movies. His overseas movies (A Better Tomorrow, The Killer) are cult classics, but most hate to admit they like or have even seen his American films. Why? Well, even though it was huge worldwide, not a lot of people liked Mission: Impossible II (unlike myself) and the disappointment of Windtalkers and the disaster of Paycheck killed most of his enthusiastic fan base. Still, if you can look back about ten years, this offbeat, downright operatic and trashily enjoyable summer hit is still pretty exciting. It marked Nicolas Cage's successful summer reinvention as an action star (following Leaving Las Vegas and his terrible first go as a lead action hero, Con Air) and solidified the versatile (and then, top movie star) John Travolta as an actor who could play almost anything.
Another forgotten jewel, an action comedy with more heart, character, and laughs than explosions. John Badham's hit 1987 comedy came out when every other movie in theaters was a buddy/comedy, but the laughs in this are huge, the story (which begins in formulaic fashion) gets wilder and more unpredictable as the film progresses and, again, of all people, Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez are a golden screen team. Throw in the gorgeous Madeline Stowe and, really, what more do you want from life?
Not the greatest movie, but so what. The first one is better than the sequel, packed with laughs and is the best American film Jackie Chan ever made. Not only does he have crackling chemistry with Chris Tucker, but the action sequences more than deliver. I know, most hate this because Mr. I-ruined-the-X-Men-franchise directed it and part three looks like yet another money-grubbing sequel nobody asked for, so the original stinks, right? Actually, this was a surprise sleeper in 1998 and, if you give it another look, you'll know why.
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
From Shane Black, one of the greatest action movie writers ever (don't believe me? dust off your copy of The Long Kiss Goodnight and prepare to be amazed) makes a laugh-drenched thrill ride that deconstructs the very genre he helped elevate. It barely played in theaters, but has a HUGE following now and, along with Office Space and Donnie Darko, is becoming one of the biggest cult movies around. If you've seen it, you know why. If not, get thee to a video store!!
Make sure you head out to the theaters and catch Hot Fuzz this weekend, and then settle down at home and watch through this list of some of the greatest cop action films ever made.