Cop Out or Chasing Andy

Ash Isaac

Cop Out attempts to answer the immortal question that all fans of the interracial buddy cop genre have been asking ever since Riggs and Murtagh first jumped into the saddle together: What would happen if Axel Foley (Beverly Hills Cop) teamed up with Die Hard’s John McClane? Surely it would be a guaranteed roller-coaster of thrills, spills, mayhem, carnage and no little laughs? Um… no, as it turns out.

Detectives Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) & Paul Hodges (Tracy ‘Jordan’ Morgan) are ‘White Lightning & Black Thunder’, a maverick partnership of unorthodox cops who do things by the book, if the book in question is Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. They smack suspects around, they mouth off to their superiors, they draw their guns and start shooting at every available opportunity, but they always get the bad guy and always make sure everyone is safe and sound at the end of the day.

When their latest case goes wrong and the bad guy escapes resulting in an informant being brutally executed, the two of them are suspended without pay and forced to hand over their badges and guns. Monroe’s suspension comes at the worst possible time with the bill for his daughter’s impending nuptials coming in at a cool $50,000 and his ex-wife’s slippery new husband offering to pay the bill thereby humiliating Munroe in the eyes of his daughter.

Hodges has his own personal problems with an attractive wife at home who’s spending an awful lot of time with the handsome and available neighbour. Monroe decides to raise money by auctioning off his prize possession, a mint collection Andy Pafko baseball card valued in excess of $80,000. Disaster strikes when the card is stolen from Monroe just as he is in the process of having it valued. The theft spurs the crime-fighting duo into action to recover the card, suspension or not. Their investigation leads them to a ruthless gangster who also happens to be a memorabilia collector, (yes, really) who is holding the card hostage in exchange for Munroe and Hodges recovering a mysterious package that has gone missing.

What follows is a series of clichéd set-pieces revolving around the same collection of verbally incontinent misfits that merely serves to gloss over the palpable lack of any wit, originality or indeed plot. Mexican gang members, off-shore drug money, parkour and nanny-cams all make an appearance, but not even these and the intervention of Seann William Scott as a self-tasering burglar can crank up the level of excitement above uninspired at best. Willis sleep-walks through his performance in a style akin to the One Show interview he recently gave. Morgan almost attempts to compensate by being even more wacky and odd than he usually is, but at least he doesn’t once again threaten to stab his son or make derogatory comments about disabled people which we’re all grateful for.

Cop Out achieves that rare distinction of being a film where the off-camera goings on are infinitely more interesting than anything the actual film has to offer. A troubled production saw the film start out life as ‘A Couple of Dicks’ before changing names to ‘Cop Suckers’, (yes, really) before finally deciding to dispense with the insipid double entendres and settle on ‘Cop Out’ which I suppose is less inappropriate than amalgamating the first two suggestions to come up with ‘A Couple of Dick Suckers’.

Kevin Smith, mercurial actor-director-producer-scatologist was criticised for smoking too much pot on the set of the film and then becoming embroiled in a stand-off with Willis who urged the director to punch him, presumably so he could justifiably retaliate. Because nothing announces your masculinity to the world than punching a middle-aged, obese, bespectacled stoner in the face.

Despite all these shenanigans, Cop Out is not a bad film. Its real crime is that it’s not memorable or vivid in any shape, form or way. In the pantheon of buddy cop films it would probably sit in the basement somewhere filed under ‘Almost, but Not Quite’. For all us fans out there, the search for the true heirs to Riggs, Murtagh, Foley and McClane goes on. Come back, Eddie Murphy, all is forgiven. Yes, even Pluto Nash and Norbit.

About Ash Isaac

I am a contributor of questionable taste, origin and talent. My one claim to fame is that I was born in the same hospital as Cliff Richard. I am still in possession of my soul unlike Sir Cliff who sold his to Samael the Desolate in return for eternal youth and the friendship of Sue Barker.