#1520 Partners (1982)

When I first learned about Partners, a comedy about two cops – one straight, one gay – going undercover to a gay community as a couple to solve a mysterious chain of murders, I could not but to cringe. I’ve witnessed on numerous occasions how gays have been portrayed in the 80s and 90s comedies, and it’s generally not pretty.

Partners isn’t devoid of these stereotypes, but in general it’s quite kind with its approach, poking an equal amount of fun of the projudice of the society was well as the inept police force and his womanising partner.

In the end Partners makes for a refreshingly different and charming buddy cop movie that earns my recommendations, but people that are easily offended of stereotypes should probably steer clear

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 83%


#1366 The Jigsaw Murders (1989)

I’ve gone through this before; given the sky high quality of the thrillers these days that offer plot twists after plot twists, it’s hard to get impressed with the 80s offerings.

But what actually works for the benefit of The Jigsaw Murders is the way how refreshingly straight forward it is: someone gets murdered, the evidence gets piled up against a suspect, and finally it’s a question of getting enough evidence (with legal means) to put him away.

As the book of movie clichés would have it, the senior detective struggles with alcoholism, but the movie handles this side of the story interestingly, stripping any sorts of movie glamour out of it.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 72%

#1128 Feds (1988)

Part of a wave of novice cop comedies that was launched after the huge success of Police Academy, Feds mixes in some female buddy cop action into the mix and takes the story to a highly fictional FBI academy where two women fight to graduate and to break through the glass ceiling.

It’s a predictable show where you know that the underdogs will come out as winners in the end and there aren’t too many delightful events along the way. Both leads fare fairly well, but don’t possess nowhere near the comedy muscles of Shelley Long or say, Goldie Hawn.

As long as you accept that the movie doesn’t offer much surprises nor originality, Feds offers an easy to watch comedy, surprisingly enjoyable in its own mediocrity.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 68%

#1033 Murphy’s Law (1986)

A decade of buddy cop movies, the 80s also saw a minor wave of cop & criminal buddy movies with a similar formula, but more concentration on seeing the two clash together.

Murphy’s Law is a pretty decent Charles Bronson action crime flick, but a totally worthless buddy movie. The petty criminal sidekick – who was probably something of a last minute add on to the movie as she doesn’t really contribute to anything here plot wise – never grows along with the movie and suffers from possibly the worst case of inept dialogue I’ve yet witnessed in a film.

Bronson pretty much walks through the movie without passion and can’t breath any real life into his character of the alcoholic cop battling with his demons.

80s-o-meter: 86%

Total: 58%

#1003 City Heat (1984)

What was it with the obsession with the 1940s gangster movies? City Heat is another movie to join the club with Harlem Nights, Hammett, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, The Cotton Club, Johnny Dangerously and many, many others in this seemingly pointless exercise of taking a hard boiled classic crime story and recreating it in color.

Sure, I get it. These are the movies that generation lived up with and they want to pay a homage to the bygone era, and possibly get a spark of that old movie magic along with it. But the movies often rely too heavily on just the atmosphere with a paper thin plot, and if told in contemporary setting just wouldn’t fly at all. So is the case with City Heat as well.

On top the 1940s visuals the movie relies heavily on the personal charism of the two major leads, Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood, but the chemistry is just anywhere to be found. To save your time, just watch through the last minute of the movie and you get a thorough overview of what the movie has to offer.

80s-o-meter: 21%

Total: 17%

#925 Red Heat (1988)

Towards the end of the eighties the Hollywood movies started to reach out to gap the bridge torn between the two nations by the Cold War. Red Heat joins up two sides of the same coin kind of detectives from the rivalling nations together in a buddy cop movie that gets some extra mileage out of its nonconventional setup.

Ivan Danko, the CCCP detective played by Schwarzenegger draws a strong resemblance with Ivan Drago, a big framed antagonist from Rocky IV that famously muttered out only 9 lines of dialogue during the whole movie that he starred in. Both of the characters’ emotionless, powerful and almost non human qualities seem to meet very well the movie going publics’ expectations of the Russians – personally I’ve yet to meet anyone from behind the iron curtain even closely resembling either one.

At the top of his career in 1988 Schwarzenegger could very well pick the movies he wanted to be in, and in that light Red Heat is a somewhat weird choice since the wooden acting style is a step back from his earlier movies towards, on par what’s seen in 1984 Terminator. The character Schwarzenegger plays is also atypical for him as it has many comical sidekick qualities to it and keeps on making one bad decision after another throughout the movie, getting beaten up, shot and getting multiple people killed along the way.

Guess the Hollywood wasn’t ready to for an actual Russian hero just quite yet.

The fish out of water backstory provides a good base to this action comedy but if this wasn’t a Schwarzenegger movie, Red Heat would be average at best.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 77%

#898 Tango & Cash (1989)

In the beginning sequence lieutenant Ray Tango rides his Cadillac Allanté ahead of a fleeing 10-wheeler, does a bootlegger’s turn, steps out of his car and forces the 18 ton truck to a full stop with his .38, effectively launching the two henchmen through the windshield. The sequence may be loaned from Jackie Chan’s Police Story, but it still very effectively sets the tone for the following 100 minutes of class A action.

As you may have already gathered, Tango & Cash takes place deep in the alternative world of Hollywood action movies where no restrictions of the normal world apply what it comes to laws of the physics, chases, police stations and even the prisons. There is a good tradeoff to all this thought, as Tango & Cash offers a very entertaining 80s buddy cop movie with a high rate of escapism.

I don’t know how Stallone and Russell fared outside the sets – probably bad due to Stallone’s reputation at the time – but on screen their oil mixed in with water kind of chemistry works a treat, often bursting out in an entertaining way. The always stunning Teri Hatcher provides the visual treat as well as gives the movie its dame in distress motif towards the end.

Speaking of which, the movie is maybe mostly known for its lengthy end part where Tango & Cash ride their armoured custom truck to the enemy base, wreaking all sort of havoc – and this is where the movie unfortunately took a wrong turn that I never really cared for.

80s-o-meter: 94%

Total: 85%

#875 Running Scared (1986)

Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines as the lead actors in an 80s buddy cop movie? What at first seems like a somewhat bland combination actually works out much better than anticipated.

Although a picture book of the genre clichés and not as famous as its other counterparts of the era, Running Scared still manages stands firmly on its own. It’s the kind of a movie where the plot is secondary and most attention has been put into showing the two cops have a good time and battle against the authority. Every event in the movie is layered with constant stream of wisecracking; even when getting shot with an uzi Crystal and Hines make sure to first stop to exchange some puns before diving to safety.

The jesting does get tiresome at times, but it’s all done with such a good – if not exactly funny – humor that most viewers that will let it slip and just go with the flow.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 72%

#789 48 Hrs. (1982)

One of the movies that really kickstarted the 80s as we learnt to know it, 48 Hrs is an action packed buddy-cop comedy with a twist of the buddy being convict.

It’s a landmark movie for another reason as well, being the theatrical feature debut of one Eddie Murphy. Demonstrating a street smart, cheeky character he’d perfect two years later in Beverly Hills Cop, Murphy’s transition from a Saturday Night Live comedian to the silver screen is a triumph.

Equally praiseworthy is Nick Nolte’s portrayal of a cynical, drunken dog of a cop, a role that Nolte dives into head first with his raspy, deep whiskey voice. Although there’s a lot of light-hearted wise-cracking going on at most times, 48 Hrs concentrates to be an action film first – a choice that really works for the film’s benefit.

With these kind of movies speaking about any plotlines or character development is kind of besides the point, as long as the movie is entertaining. 48 Hrs is just that; a highly entertaining, unapologetic package that’s never shy on action, shootouts – nor the f-words.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 90%

#696 Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

You know the drill: A movie with a huge financial success gets the inevitable sequel. This time around it’s not entirely bad news as most of the key players from the first movie were willing to participate, with some beefed up payroll no doubt. The big investment paid of as Lethal Weapon 2 netted a whopping $147M total gross, making it the third biggest box office hit of the year.

In addition to the amped up action sequences there’s also lots of additional humour and one liners this time around. Much of the credit is due to the Joe Pesci’s hilarious man child sidekick character, who successfully walks the tightrope of being annoying but still likeable, and does deliver some good laughs along the way.

Lethal Weapon 2 is in many ways more well rounded and mature action movie than its predecessor, but also a bit more calculative which shines through every now and then, making the end result feel less organic than the first iteration.

Still, most people who loved the first movie will feel right at home here – and that’s what really counts.

80s-o-meter: 94%

Total: 88%

#695 Lethal Weapon (1987)

An iconic 80s action movie and a subject to numerous imitations, spoofs and even blatant copies, Lethal Weapon soon became a fundamental part of the 80s pop culture imagery that still gets referenced to.

As with always when you watch a movie you’ve seen many times when it first came out, but missed it for the last 25 years, the question arises if the movie is really as solid as you remember it to be. Not a problem here: Lethal Weapon is a tight-wound guilty pleasure action pack that leaves very little to improve.

Danny Glover and Mel Gibson make a good pair here, and Gibson delivers the intensity that perfectly suits the part of the suicidal cop on the verge of a breakdown. With that same vigor he absolutely nails the part of fighting off his demons in a suicidal rage in his trailer. It’s a scene that could’ve turned embarrassingly awkward and phoney if done by an actor with less acting chops.

The only minor gripe lies with the ending. Passable, but surely the immense buildup until that moment had a promise of a showdown of a much more epic proportions. As a proof of that, Lethal Weapon is a movie much better known of its other scenes, not its ending.

Lethal Weapon is a landmark 80s a-class action movie that totally belongs up there with the greats like Die Hard, Beverly Hills Cop and Predator.

80s-o-meter: 97%

Total: 94%