Top 10 Toughest Movie Cops

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 6:35 pm

June 1st is Donut Day in the United States, and I can’t think of a better way to recognize those fried sweets than by taking a look at the top 10 toughest movie cops. From Asian inspectors to soulful cyborgs, this list covers pistol-packing law enforcement officers from all over the globe. Don’t see your favorite cop on the list? Be sure and let us know all about it in the comments section. Just be nice about it, or I’ll have to go all Martin Riggs on you.

If you notice a movie cop whose name you’re unfamiliar with, you can remedy the situation by becoming a Netflix subscriber. They have tons of cop movies and action films, and membership starts for as little as $8.99 per month. Personally, I’m a five-at-a-time guy, but you can go as high as eight. We do receive a commission if you become a member, but it goes right back into the website.

10. Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) from Training Day – A narcotics officer with a mean streak a mile wide, Alonzo thinks nothing about murdering criminals or using fake warrants to search for unguarded cash. Denzel approached the role with zeal, giving this psycho a heavy dose of personal magnetism. He boasts, “They’ve built prisons because of me,” and there’s little reason to doubt his claim.

9. Detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) from In the Heat of the Night – It takes a tough African-American cop to stroll into a racist town and head up a murder investigation, but Virgil Tibbs (excuse me, Mister Tibbs) is just such a man. When a plantation owner slaps him in the face, Tibbs responds by slapping him right back. Now that’s what I call equality! A highly important cinematic character, especially considering that the film was released during the volatile Civil Rights era.

8. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) from Hot Fuzz – Here’s a cop so dedicated that he makes everyone around him look like losers. In fact, Angel gets himself transferred to a supposedly peaceful village due to his annoying habit of being uber-competent. Turns out the village isn’t quite at all, but Angel is the perfect guy to engage in shootouts with senior citizens and practice his advanced cycling skills. And if you’re really nice to him, maybe he’ll show you that secret spot where you can shoot a man to cause his head to explode.

7. Detective Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) from Beverly Hills Cop – A wise-ass cop from Detroit, Foley’s mouth is often as lethal as his fighting abilities. My favorite Foley moments come when he pretends to be something he’s not, such as when he marches into a posh L.A. eatery and poses as the gay lover of the very straight (and very murderous) Victor Maitland. And it’s hard to beat a guy who’s got his own theme song (“Axel F”) constantly playing when he makes an appearance.

6. Sergeant “Kevin” Chan Ka-Kui (Jackie Chan) from Police Story – A member of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force, Kevin is a one-man wrecking crew. If you need evidence, look no further than action sequences in a shanty town, on a bus, and at a shopping mall (with plenty of glass and light bulbs). But like most Chan characters, there’s also a comedic side to Kevin, something lacking with many of the entrants on this list.

5. Tequila Yuen (Chow Yun-Fat) from Hard Boiled – Not only does he have a cool nickname, but Tequila plays a mean clarinet. And when the bullets start to fly, well, nobody can fire off guns in slow motion like this guy. And if you’re his partner, you can rest assured that he’ll do whatever it takes to avenge your inevitable death.

4. Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) from Dirty Harry – An old school cop if there ever was one, Harry beats down the bad guys with a combination of his fists and his trusty .44 Smith & Wesson Model 29. He’s also pretty handy with the one-liner, originating such phrases as “Go ahead, make my day” and “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?” His partners, on the other hand, don’t fare so well.

3. RoboCop (Peter Weller) from RoboCop – Part man and part machine, the former Officer Murphy had a whole mess of metal grafted to his body following a fatal attack by criminals. But now he’s back as RoboCop, and he’s got a massive pistol, fist spike, and computer targeting to assist him. And did I mention that he’s almost entirely bulletproof? I’d but that for a dollar!

2. Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) from Lethal Weapon – He once did a guy in Laos from 1000 yards in high wind. Add an extensive martial arts background to his abilities with a gun, and you’ve got a dangerous combination. Then consider that he’s just a little crazy. Robocop may be tough, but Riggs could take him out with headshots from 10 football fields away (plus he’s perfected that wicked defensive roll).

1. John McClane (Bruce Willis) from Die Hard – This spunky New York cop makes the top of the list on sheer tenacity. In almost every action scene in the franchise, McClane finds himself outgunned and outmatched, but he always manages to find a way to win. It’s never pretty, but it’s always damned effective.

If this list of the top 10 toughest movie cops has you in the mood for action, then take a peek at these other fine posts from Only Good Movies. Also, don’t forget that you can see all these movies and hundreds of thousands more by becoming a Netflix subscriber. Click here and take advantage of their free trial membership.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 at 6:35 pm and is filed under Thoughts on Film. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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