I need to explain the motivation behind this list. See, typically, I would avoid a list like this. The subject is just too broad and, while I like a little film discussion, I hate hearing about 900 people I left off my lists from you commenters (who I love). It just chips away slowly at my huge, Superman-like ego. However, I was inspired and here’s why…
Last week, I attended my first NFL game and had the joy of watching the Green Bay Packers defeat the San Diego Chargers (Go Pack Go!). As a result, I also enjoyed my first tailgating experience, which was amazing. The strange thing about it though is that the police are constantly driving by and monitoring the parking lot. It’s the only time in my life, I’ve been hammered drunk in public, with an open container in my hand, five feet from a police cruiser and not hassled. In fact, most times I was greeted by a kind wave or knowing nod. It was amazing. So, I’ve decided to honor the Men in Blue (Not Black… they fight aliens) with this list of my favorite movie cops. Let’s do this:
HONORABLE MENTION: T-1000 (TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY).
While he’d typically be a Top 3 pick, I just couldn’t bring myself to count him. After all, he’s not really a cop. He just plays one when he time travels.
10. HARTIGAN (SIN CITY).
Sin City is a severely underrated movie. Most people like it but I believe it should be lauded. The unfortunate thing is that the performances are often overshadowed by the technical creativity of the film. It’s unfortunate because Willis actually turns in a great performance as a Hartigan. A walking, talking stereotype that encapsulates everything a pulpy, beat detective should be.
9. STANSFIELD (LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL).
No offense to Commissioner Gordon (who just missed the list) but Stansfield is definitely Oldman’s best turn as a cop. How do you not love a crooked cop who commits more crimes than the people he puts behind bars while always maintaining a drug induced haze?
8. WALKER (TIMECOP).
Timecop is a great film. Even with JCVD in the lead role cheesing everything up with his mullet. I’m really surprised this film didn’t fall to a bigger star or that it hasn’t been remade for one. Still, it’s a damn fun film and you can’t help but root for Walker as he races through time to save his wife, Van Damnit!
7. JIM MALONE (THE UNTOUCHABLES).
Connery is a bad-ass. No one is debating that. Even when he does something ridiculous… like play an Irish cop with a Scottish accent. In The Untouchables, you can’t help but love him as the real brains behind the crew that brought down Capone and for bringing the guns to a gun fight.
6. AXEL FOLEY (BEVERLY HILLS COP).
I wish I could phonetically write Eddie Murphy’s laugh because that is half of the genius behind the success of these films. Now, most people would probably have him higher on their lists. I love the guy but not that much. Still, you have to respect this character when making a list like this one. After all, it made Murphy a star. On a funny side-note, did you know Stallone turned down this role for not being serious enough and made Cobra instead. Good call, Sly!
5. DET. ALONZO HARRIS (TRAINING DAY).
Our second crooked cop on the list is just awesome. I know this because, little known fact, I’m not a huge Denzel fan. I think he’s a great actor but he bugs me in a lot of his roles. However, in this film, I thought it was great to see him play the role of the villain and, unlike many other people, I think it was great to see him take home Oscar gold for it.
4. JOHNNY UTAH (POINT BREAK).
Okay, technically he’s an F-B-I Agent! But a cop’s a cop and I’ll allow it. And since it’s my post, I CAN DO WHATEVER THE HELL I WANT! (tee-hee) A lot of people like to bag on Reeves’ performances but there are some roles he was born to play. Utah is one of them. Not only is he balls to the wall in his pursuit of Boadie but he also never lets his friendship with the criminal get in the way of the job.
3. CAREY MAHONEY (POLICE ACADEMY 2: THE FIRST ASSIGNMENT).
What is this guy doing in such great company, you might ask? Look, everybody loves Police Academy. If you don’t, you should probably just bang your testicles with a mallet! And “The Gutts” (as I like to call him) as Mahoney makes these movies great. Need proof? How great were those sequels they did without him? Point. Win.
2. MARTIN RIGGS (LETHAL WEAPON).
Do you remember when everybody loved Mel Gibson? Me neither but that time apparently did exist. Look, Riggs is probably the funnest to watch on the list but I can’t give him the #1 spot. However, I’ve got to give the man props for, if nothing else, that magic trick he can do with his shoulder.
1. JOHN McCLANE (DIE HARD).
I realize it’s a boring #1 pick but so what? He earned it, damnit. Besides he gave me a shot-out in the film. Did you miss it? It’s the part where he said Yippee-Kai-Ay, Mr. Falcon!
So, who are some of your favorite movie cops?