The Men in Black franchise endures in no small part thanks to the chemistry Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones brought to the alien-themed twist on the tried and trope buddy cop action flick genre. In Men in Black 3, Josh Brolin picks up exactly where Jones leaves off… or rather, where he should start, as he plays a younger version of the same character. Regardless, for some reason, we love buddy cop movies, and have continued to do so for decades… even with big time busts like these on the books.
Starring: Jay Leno and Pat Morita
Plot points: It’s kind of like the Rush Hour series, except with even worse dialogue and even more racist undertones… And without the “star power” of Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. And it takes place in late-’80s Detroit, when the city still rooted for Barry Sanders. But really, all you need to know is: It’s a movie where Jay Leno plays a cop. That’s almost as believable as Tracy Morgan playing a cop. No one’s ever gonna buy that… oh, wait. Right.
Big bust: Chris Sarandon unleashes more shoulder-padded ’80s villain glory than you can shake your mullet at.
Tagline: “Not so much a Lethal Weapon, more of a liability!”
Starring: Chuck Norris and a shaggy dog
Plot points: Where Turner and Hooch was a clever pairing of Tom Hanks and a slobbery mastiff, filled with heart and punchy slapstick humor, Top Dog is none of that. Its car-chase-explosion-fist-fight-explosion formula was underwhelmed only by the fact that Norris was upstaged by a dog… and we’re not talking Benji here. The pooch in this was pretty bland, too.
Big bust: Adding to the poor judgment of casting badly, the film was released just after the bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. Plus, the bad guys were white supremacists, which was a cause trumpeted by the terrorists involved in the bombing. In other words, this film bombed. Really, really badly.
Tagline: “They’re Licensed For Action!”
Starring: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans
Plot points: The Brothers Wayans team up as a pair of undercover FBI agents who end up posing as a pair of white, wealthy heiresses – sisters targeted by a serial kidnapper. In other words, it’s a Wayans Brothers movie (yes, even directed by Keenan Ivory), in whiteface.
Big bust: Aside from the complete suspension of disbelief needed to buy any individual second of this movie; wow, did the makeup team fail on this one. Those are two really frightening-looking women.
Tag line: “They’re boldy going where no black man has gone before”
Starring: Whoopi Goldberg and an animatronic dinosaur puppet thingie (no, really).
Plot points: So, apparently, scientists of the near future have figured out how to reanimate dinosaurs, clothe them, give them human vocal cords and turn them into cops. And Whoopi Goldberg makes for a great partner (just ask Sam Elliot). Pair it all up, add a dash of wise-crakin’ and a great title track from Was Not Was.
Big bust: Goldberg actually tried to back out of this one and ended up in a lawsuit that forced her hand. This movie also bears the distinction of being the most expensive straight-to-DVD release to date.
Tagline: “The world’s toughest cop is getting a brand new partner. And he’s a real blast from the past!”
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Rodman
Plot points: Van Damme comes out of CIA retirement for one last mission, runs afoul of random European bad guy Mickey Rourke, gets caught, tortured, has his family kidnapped, and his locked away in a secret spies-only encampment. He breaks out, befriends Rodman, who’s an arms dealer, then goes after Roarke.
Big bust: Even Roarke and action director Tsui Hark couldn’t save this one from itself. It’s probably safe to place most of the blame squarely on Dennis Rodman’s shoulders, as it was the first dramatic role of an otherwise short-lived silver screen career.
Tag line: “They don’t play by the rules!”