There are some funny action movies that gave a brand new dimension to one of the most celebrated genre mash-ups – the action-comedy.
Today, such movies attract visitors of every age to the theaters like a magnet.
It turns out that the mass viewer adores chewing popcorn while enjoying a light-hearted actioner with plenty of laughs along the lines of ‘Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle’ (2017) or ‘Loaded Weapon 1’ (1993) for example.
But when did it all start?
Many moons have passed since the apparition of the first ever comedy movie, entitled ‘L’arroseur arrosé’ (1895), also known as ‘The Waterer Watered’.
Louis Lumiere’s 45 seconds long piece of work presenting a practical joke was a real phenomenon at the time and provided a basis for the future creation of similar films.
In regard to the action genre, many historians consider ‘The Great Train Robbery’ (1903) as the first successful attempt for an action filmmaking.
Running for only twelve minutes, the silent western directed, written, and produced by Edwin S. Porter was a groundbreaking achievement in the early cinema industry.
On top of that, it has been declared as culturally significant in the United States.
It is difficult to trace which was the first combination of action and comedy and when it was created for the first time but one thing is sure – that symbiosis is a triumph.
In the following paragraphs, we are going to explore (just) some of the most successful and influential action-comedies that everyone loves to re-watch.
‘Beverly Hills Cop’ (1984)
Once upon a time, when Eddie Murphy was a promising young star, Martin Brest’s hilarious blockbuster marked the mainstream emergence of a brand new American hero.
The sympathetic black cop with slick mouth and criminal past Alex Foley easily conquered the audiences around the world and catapulted Murphy’s career.
Moreover, the ridiculous success of ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ helped in solidifying the action-comedy as a sustainable genre.
The plot revolves around a frenzy Detroit cop who comes to Beverly Hills to investigate a murder while having harsh time accommodating to the local vibes.
Filled with plenty of laugh out loud moments, action scenes, funny one-liners, and every imaginable film cliché of the 80’s, the movie grossed close to $240 000 000 in the domestic box-office.
True to its greedy nature, Hollywood produced two sequels that also delivered high-quality entertainment, even though they couldn’t entirely live up to the high expectations set from the first installment.
‘Hot Shots! Part Deux’ (1993)
Following the huge success of the ‘Top Gun’ parody ‘Hot Shots’ (1991), two years seemed like a long period to wait for a sequel.
‘Hot Shots! Part Deux’ marked the return of Charlie Sheen and the cult character of Topper Harley in what was about to become the most popular Rambo parody and arguably one of the most hilarious movies of the 90’s.
Coming again from the director Jim Abrahams and co-starring Lloyd Bridges and Valeria Golino, the hugely entertaining flick follows the adventures of Topper Harley in Iraq where he must rescue some important war prisoners and make his way out.
This sequel could easily helm a ‘top movies to re-watch’ list as it contains unparalleled comical situations with the help of which, one can shape a six pack while laughing.
If you don’t remember how Charlie Sheen makes fun of Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo by using hens as bow arrows, then you need to refresh your memory and watch the ultra-hilarious ‘Hot Shots! Part Deux’ right away.
‘Rush Hour’ (1998)
The year is 1998. The year in which Bill Clinton proclaimed his famous line “I want to say one thing to the American people; I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky“. So funny…and untrue.
Also, on September 15, Google.com was registered as a domain name.
Just three days later, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker were the most trending names in Hollywood, after the long-awaited premiere of ‘Rush Hour’.
Directed by the blockbuster guru Brett Ratner, the explosive action-comedy gathered on one screen the fastest hands in the East with the biggest mouth of the West.
The story centers on the funny cop duo Lee and Carter who must do the impossible and work together in order to bring down a dangerous kingpin and save the kidnapped daughter of the Chinese Consul.
Combining thrilling action stunts courtesy of Jackie Chan and the amazing comedy talent of Chris Tucker, ‘Rush Hour’ set a high standard in the genre.
It easily grossed the crazy $250 000 000 in the worldwide box-office.
‘Lethal Weapon’ (1987)
Let’s get back to the 80’s because it is so good with all these fantastic, clichéd action movies and that groovy disco music.
‘Lethal Weapon’ is probably the most famous buddy cop movie of all time.
The charismatic Mel Gibson and the hilarious Danny Glover give top-notch performances in Richard Donner’s memorable roller-coaster.
Written by Shane Black who helms the highly expected ‘Predator’ reboot, what makes ‘Lethal Weapon’ stand out is the slick writing, likable characters, and witty humor.
The two police officers Riggs and Murtaugh are alpha-males with egos bigger than Trump Tower. The last thing on earth they like is working in pairs. However, in order to destroy a dangerous drug smuggling organization, the old-school Murtaugh and the reckless Riggs must forget their differences and work together.
‘Bad Boys’ (1995)
Do you already know watcha gonna do when they come for you?
I don’t know about you but I am going to watch them in the theater near me.
Based on the latest information provided by Will Smith, the production of the highly anticipated third sequel has started so a movie is definitely happening.
‘Bad Boys’ became legendary successful thanks to the on-screen chemistry between the box-office star Will Smith and his pal, the talented comedian Martin Lawrence.
Michael Bay’s thrilling action-comedy tells the story of the buddy cop duo Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett who involve themselves in numerous troubles while investigating a drug case.
Slick, fast-paced and action-packed, ‘Bad Boys’ is an exemplary flick that proves that the clichés can’t make a movie bad if both the action and the comedy are perfectly executed.
Plus, the killer soundtrack of the flick additionally reinforces all the hype surrounding it.
’48 Hours’ (1982)
Same clichés, different movie you’d say and probably you’d be right.
That doesn’t change the fact that back in 1982, ’48 Hours’ was a huge hit and it is still considered as one of the best cop action-comedies ever made.
Walter Hill (‘Undisputed’, ‘Wild Bill’) knows how to make effective action flicks and this movie is one of his earliest and finest achievements.
The film also introduces the young sensation and a future Beverly Hills cop Eddie Murphy who shines on the screen along with the versatile Nick Nolte.
The plot revolves around the wild-mannered cop Jack Cates whose only choice to catch a murderer is to team up with the loudmouthed convicted criminal Reggie Hammond.
A curious fact is that in an interview, Nick Nolte revealed that the hilarious dialogue between him and Eddie Murphy in the movie was completely improvised.
’48 Hours’ is one of the oldest buddy cop action-comedies of Hollywood that gained huge mainstream success.
‘Big Trouble In Little China’ (1986)
Oh, those 80’s! They were so fruitful!
The visionary director John Carpenter (‘They Live’) achieved new heights when creating the atmospheric and adventurous action-comedy starring Kurt Russell and Kim Cattrall.
Kurt Russell is in the role of the American trucker Jack Burton who goes to San Francisco Chinatown only to get himself involved in a series of unfortunate events while trying to rescue his kidnapped fiancée. There, he must deal with sorcerers and mystical forces.
‘Big Troubles in Little China’ is a skillfully constructed mash-up of fantasy, action, and comedy.
The movie became a big hit, which is also the case with almost every film that John Carpenter helms.
The flick is full of the well-known filmmaking techniques, courtesy of the mastermind director.
‘Hot Fuzz’ (2007)
It would be a shame not to include a movie made in the new millennium in that list.
‘Hot Fuzz’ definitely deserves a place here.
Skillfully directed by Edgar Wright (‘Baby Driver’), the plot follows the adventures of the experienced London police officer Nicholas Angel who goes on a mission in a small town, only to discover its terrifying secrets.
Starring Simon Pegg (‘Shaun of the Dead‘) and Martin Freeman (‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’), ‘Hot Fuzz’ works well in every possible aspect.
Full of hilarious gags, fast-paced action, and amazing originality all along the entertaining ride, the movie easily sticks in the head for a long time after the final credits start to roll out.
It is really rare to see in one movie a brilliant comedy and outstanding, intense storytelling.
The action-comedy genre is one of the most fun-delivering in the movie industry.
Not only that, but it is the most lucrative one.
The eight winners outlined above gained both critical and commercial success due to the imaginative approach of its creators.
Most importantly, they succeeded in creating high standards which is great for us, the fans.
What is your favorite action-comedy movie which is not on that list? Leave a comment below!