A good movie will draw you into the world it has created and make you feel part of it. So much so, that there’s a chance you’ll leave the theater after with a bit of an adrenaline rush. Maybe the latest Bond flick has you feeling like you can be the next 007. Maybe an over-the-top car chase has you pressing on the gas pedal and drifting like a pro. Maybe the story of a talented musician has you thinking you could pick up a guitar and strum a perfect rhythm.
Most of the time we’re left with wanting more. We want something similar, yet new at the same time. You don’t want to watch the same film again, you want to watch something that pairs nicely.
Here at ScreenAge Wasteland, we’ve selected six films that you should watch after Bad Boys for Life.
Die Hard with a Vengeance | Marmaduke Karlston
After two films of working (mostly) alone, the third installment of Die Hard decided to mix things up by giving McClane (Bruce Willis) a reluctant partner named Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson). The different personalities of the two clash immediately and that alone is worth the price of watching. Willis and Jackson must work together and follow the instructions of a man known only as Simon in order to avoid more casualties and destruction.
One scene in particular that has stayed with me is when McClane and Zeus have to fill a water jug with exactly 4L of water, but they only have a 3L and 5L jug. Watching the two solve the puzzle is an absolute blast (and it’s also a great problem to solve on your own to keep your brain sharp).
Die Hard with a Vengeance may not be as beloved as the first Die Hard, but in my mind it’s definitely the best sequel in the series. If Hollywood ever gets around to making that sixth film, it would be wise to bring back Samuel L. Jackson for another round with McClane. Because these two are right up there with Gibson and Glover of Lethal Weapon when it comes to buddy-cop duos.
Demolition Man | Mitch Roush
The beauty of Bad Boys is that it rides the line of comedy and high-octane action. It’s a full-blown entertainment juggernaut. In that same vein, I’m not sure there’s a better pairing or follow-up viewing than the early 90s futuristic blockbuster Demolition Man. What other movie could give us swole Sly Stallone squaring-off against peak Wesley Snipes and his blonde hair? Toss in an early career Sandra Bullock, some Denis Leary snark, and even a brief Rob Schneider appearance and you’ve got yourself an action picture. Lest we forget these glorious gems:
- “He doesn’t know how to use the three seasons shells.”
- “Now all restaurants are Taco Bell.”
- “Send a maniac to catch one.”
- Oh, and self-driving cars!!!
One thing I’ve always appreciated about this title is how much time we spend with Snipes’ menacing character Simon Phoenix (what a name!). We journey through his thawed-out bewilderment as much as we do John Spartan’s (Sly). An interesting narrative choice that keeps us on our toes in-between President Schwarzenegger references and Jessie Ventura cameos. And if that’s not enough, the final showdown takes place in a cryogenic prison. Demolition Man is every bit as comedic as it is energetically entertaining.
The Heat | Romona Comet
Pairing a straight-laced, by the book agent with an impulsive, hot-tempered detective who throws said book right out the window is not exactly a fresh approach to the buddy-cop movie genre. But with a smartly written script, two comedic gems in Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy and director Paul Feig, The Heat took a rather simplistic formula and breathed new life into it, creating a crude and genuinely funny action flick.
Detective Shannon Mullins and FBI agent Sarah Ashburn are the epitome of “odd couple” – slovenly versus tidy, aggressive versus restraint. When Ashburn, cocky and generally disliked by her own colleagues, arrives in Boston to try and bring down a drug cartel, Mullins pushes back, resenting the FBI’s interference in her case. The two women bicker over everything, but have to find some common ground and eventually learn to work together in order to solve the case.
Like their characters, McCarthy and Bullock have two completely different approaches to comedy, but here they’re perfectly matched and their chemistry is what really makes this movie worth watching. Feig doesn’t soften or sexualize the genre just because his leads are female. In fact, The Heat is raunchy and violent with quite a few grisly moments sprinkled amongst the outstanding physical comedy and McCarthy’s infamous potty mouth.
What I love so much about The Heat is that it dives headfirst into every buddy cop cliche with gusto, paying homage to the films that came before it, including Bad Boys, and it’s clearly having a blast doing so. At times it’s ridiculous, but it’s mostly just ridiculously funny.
Hot Fuzz | Lee McCutcheon
The second film in Edward Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy (and my personal favourite), sees Simon Pegg and Nick Frost team up once again. Following the success of Shaun of the Dead, the duo reunite to play a couple of policemen based in a rural English village. A village where there are some strange goings-on. People are dying in freak accidents at an alarming rate and it’s down to the local law enforcement to work out just what the hell is happening. The majority of humour centres around Nicholas Angel (Pegg) attempting to adjust to a sudden change of pace. He has been transferred from his high octane position in London, to ‘village of the year’ Sandford and gets a rude awakening in his first few days on the job. His frustration with the backwards Danny (Frost) and eventual bromance is definitely the highlight. Add in some mystery, hilarious cameos and well-directed action set pieces in the final act, and you’ve got yourself two hours of easy entertainment. You might have seen Hot Fuzz before, but It doesn’t matter. Just like the duo treat Bad Boys 2 and Point Break in the movie itself, it’s an effortless rewatch. Buddy cop movies don’t get much better.
48 Hours | Bob Cram
Without 48 Hours, the Bad Boys films wouldn’t exist. Yeah, I said it. The Buddy Cop movie didn’t start with 48 Hours, but it sure wouldn’t look anything like it does now without it. This was the first of what Roger Ebert ended up calling “wunza” movies – as in “one’s a hard-nosed cop, the other’s a wise-cracking con,” a pairing of two distinctly different and often diametrically opposed personalities in the pursuit of solving a crime. It’s a formula that became so ubiquitous in the 80’s that 1993’s Last Action Hero made it part of the satire, showing the ‘movie reality’ cops as all being paired with a conflicting partner – including a cartoon cat.
Walter Hill’s film is a bit more grounded than the genre would become, trading explosions and car chases for character interaction, comedy and the occasional good ol’ fist fight. This was really the film that made Eddie Murphy a viable movie star and pairing him with the gravelly voiced, lantern-jawed Nolte created instant chemistry. You believe in their relationship – punches to the face and all – as it develops, anchoring the drug-deal/kidnap plot.
Walter Hill isn’t known for his hand at comedy, but he knows when to let Murphy run and when to reign him in. Nolte proves to be no slouch at the funny stuff either and the duo works great together. At a lean 96 minutes running time, 48 Hours never overstays its welcome and is just plain fun to watch. Despite movie exec apprehension the film did great box office and even spawned a sequel. That success meant it got copied by every other studio that could get their hands on two (or more) leads with opposing personalities.
Without 48 Hours you don’t get Beverly Hills Cop, you don’t get Lethal Weapon, you don’t get Bad Boys and you don’t get Bad Boys for Life. Hey, Murphy and Nolte are still kicking around… where’s my One Last 48 Hours?
War on Everyone | Sailor Monsoon
There is no genre more reliant on chemistry than that of the buddy cop movie. You gotta believe the leads of a romcom actually love each other but if the film doesn’t follow the lockstep formula of every other romcom ever, it doesn’t matter how good the chemistry is, no one is going to like it. It’s adherence to the tropes is more important than the chemistry but for a buddy cop, chemistry is king. I couldn’t tell you for the life of me what the plot of 48 Hrs. was but I remember the two leads. The same goes for The Last Boyscout, Lethal Weapon and especially War on Everything. The plot is incidental, all that matters is that you like the two leads and while the leads of War on Everything aren’t exactly likable (which is by design), you can tell they’re having a fucking blast.
Michael Pena and Alexander Skarsgård play two corrupt cops who blackmail and frame every criminal unfortunate enough to cross their path. They delight in shaking down perps and engaging in every other kind of illegal behavior but when they try to intimidate someone more dangerous than they are—the shit, as Bad Boys once put it—gets real. The film is tonally inconsistent (the shit gets really real) and the plot is pretty forgettable but much like the Bad Boys trilogy, you’re in it for the leads and they deliver.
Those are our pairings; now it’s your turn. What do you think would pair nicely with Bad Boys for Life?