Which buddy action films have the most positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, in the wake of classics like Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours?
The buddy action movie is one of the most popular subgenres in the action film genre. As a result, these films are able to combine action sequences with stories about friendship.
In a true buddy movie, the two protagonists are often on different sides of the law. Antagonism is nearly always there from the outset before they are able to forge a professional relationship based on respect and cooperation. Rotten Tomatoes, on the other hand, tells which buddy action movies are considered the greatest by critics.
1. 21 Jump Street (2012) – 85%
While the television series 21 Jump Street dealt with serious issues, the movie skillfully plays up the premise. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill feature as two undercover cops who infiltrate a high school narcotics ring.
It’s fantastic to have Hill and Tatum as friends when they re-enter the high school scene in very different ways. The makers of 21 Jump Street definitely have a fondness for action movies, as the film is full with smart references to the genre’s conventions.
2. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) – 86%
It’s safe to say that Shane Black’s directorial debut is one of the greatest in the buddy action genre. Downey Jr. plays a small-time robber who ends up in Hollywood, where he is partnered with an eccentric private investigator (Val Kilmer).
Playing with the genre in a variety of ways, Black’s script is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. The return of Downey Jr. and Kilmer in this film is a great start to the actor’s pre-Iron Man comeback.
3. Unstoppable (2010) – 87%
There are many fans who may not have seen Unstoppable, but it is a movie worth seeing. In this scene, Chris Pine plays a train conductor on the first day of his new job (Denzel Washington). When a deadly train is on the verge of colliding with the rookie and veteran, they must put their differences aside.
This was Tony Scott’s final film, and his talents are on full display. Audiences are kept on their toes from the opening of the film, which is fast-paced and exciting. Washington and Pine’s delightful chemistry also serves as a foundation for the story.
4. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) – 87%
When it comes to MCU team-ups, Ant-Man and The Wasp is the first true buddy action film. After Ant-standalone Man’s movie, The Wasp makes her debut and shares the spotlight with the hero.
Marvel clearly drew inspiration for this sequel from buddy action movies. Fun to see the genre brought into a large superhero movie with a complementary pair of superheroes on board. For this reason, the third film will be an exciting one to watch.
5. Hot Fuzz (2007) – 91%
As with Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz follows in Edgar Wright’s footsteps by making fun of the buddy action genre. It’s clear that Wright enjoys making these kinds of films, but he also knows how to have some fun with how ludicrous they can be.
Simon Pegg’s serious cop tries to persuade Nick Frost’s inept cop that police work is nothing like what is depicted in movies. As a result, the film ends up being a typical chaotic action movie.
6. The Nice Guys (2016) – 91%
Shane Black’s latest dark comedy features a pair of unconventional heroes who forge an odd alliance. Two private investigators, one played by Russell Crowe and the other by Ryan Gosling, are thrown together to investigate a murderous plot.
Due to the twist-filled plot and many gags, The Nice Guys is one of the most rewatchable films of the past decade. It would be fantastic if Crowe and Gosling could reunite for a sequel, as their performances are among their funniest.
7. Men In Black (1997) – 92%
This time, Men in Black introduces a sci-fi twist into the action-packed buddy movie starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Smith is a new recruit in a covert agency that monitors aliens on Earth, and Jones introduces him to the untamed world.
With Smith’s charisma and Jones’s sarcastic tough guy demeanor, they form a great combo. Also, it’s a fun adventure film with lots of outrageous sci-fi action and a fascinating setting.
8. 48 Hrs. (1982) – 93%
Among the most influential movies in the genre of buddy action was 48 Hrs. The film stars Nick Nolte as a tough-as-nails detective on the hunt for the person responsible for the death of his partner. In a daring move, he enlists the assistance of an ex-convict (Eddie Murphy) in his search for the evildoer.
Nolte and Murphy’s on-again, off-again squabbles provide a tremendous deal of energy and entertainment to the film. As raw and unpleasant as it is, the movie is endlessly enjoyable. Eddie Murphy’s big-screen debut, though, remains one of his best films.
9. Hard-Boiled (1992) – 94%
It’s possible that Hard-Boiled is John Woo’s best film and one of his most impactful works. Chow Yun-fat appears as a fierce cop and Tony Leung as an undercover agent who work together to bring down a mobster in the Hong Kong action epic.
Two actors play off each other brilliantly in this action-packed film, which would inspire a generation of American action movies in the 90s. During the course of the film, their friendship develops into a deep and meaningful bond that culminates in a shootout where they stand side by side.
10. Midnight Run (1988) – 94%
Besides being an excellent buddy action film, Midnight Run also manages to be a fantastic road trip film. It’s a bounty hunter’s journey across the country to bring Charles Grodin (De Niro) to justice while mobsters, police, and competing bounty hunters pursue them.
When it comes to humorous performances, De Niro is at the top of his game. A brilliant and nice white-collar criminal, Grodin is the perfect counterpoint for him. This is a must-see for any fan of the genre who enjoys a good laugh and a good adrenaline rush.