Beverly Hills Cop Axel Foley is returning to the big screen after grossing close to $800 million worldwide throughout the life of the series. True, the third one was weak and the recent CBS pilot was not picked up, but a fourth film still excites our sense of nostalgia for those great classic cop flicks of the ’70s and ’80s. It also got us to thinking: if we could bring back five movie cops for another run, who would they be?
Our picks are below, but first a word about who you won’t find on this list in spite of the fact we love ‘em: RoboCop, Riggs and Murtaugh (Lethal Weapon), and John McClane (Die Hard). RoboCop’s remake was completely mishandled and an insult to fans of the original; Lethal Weapon 4 is downright unwatchable; and that last Die Hard, let’s not even talk about. These failures kind of kill the will to see any of these characters again.)
Now, let’s get started! (Some spoilers ahead!)
5. Jerry Beck, Dead Bang
Don Johnson was expected to have a huge film career starting with Dead Bang. It’s a truly great film, and he’s superb in it; however, it was 1988, and the cop movie had hit a lull. As a result, we only got one go with Mr. Beck, but his scene with the police psychologist and then the verbal antagonizing of the film’s villain in the closing moments, are wonderfully cool and humorous pieces of dialogue.
4. Lloyd Hopkins, Cop
Hopkins (James Woods) is a train wreck. He hates his wife and loves his daughter, is an utter failure as a family man, but has a stinging sense of humor and an insatiable thirst for justice. The serial killer he deals with here is menacing, but you almost feel sorry for the guy in their final showdown. Fantastic last line. This is, of course, an adaptation of Blood on the Moon, the James Ellroy novel. He also wrote two more Hopkins adventures (Because the Night, Suicide Hill). Come on, Hollywood, let’s do this.
3. Popeye Doyle, The French Connection
Gene Hackman was amazing in this. There was one made-for-TV effort to revive the character in 1986, starring Ed O’Neil, but nothing became of it. Queue up the good detective for another round of bad guys, Antoine Fuqua.
2. Matt Cordell, Maniac Cop
William Lustig’s original is such great B-movie fun. With all the horror reboots out there, you’d think this is a no-brainer, but alas, all IMDb has for us is, Untitled Maniac Cop Prequel, listed as “in development.” Guess we’ll have to live with this and the two sequels for now.
1. Harry Callahan, Dirty Harry
Well, you should have known this guy would be on the list from the very beginning. “Dirty” Harry Callahan is the greatest of all movie cops to ever put on a badge. It would be very hard to replace Clint Eastwood, but we’ve established nothing is sacred to Hollywood any more. Might as well bring him back. We could use him to cut through some of the PC BS of modern times. Our vote for playing him: Thomas Jane comes to mind. Thoughts?
That’s it for our picks of movie cops we’d like to bring back. Who would you enlist?
And for more movie list fun, check out these 13 Intense Movie Moments We Can Barely Sit Through.