Right: Sadly, the Schwarzenegger/Stallone pairing has not occured as of yet (although I've heard rumors of a Sly/Arnie/JCVD vehicle coming soon). But you can sign a petition to get these guys together for Contra: The Movie here.
The action/buddy flick is a well-established institution in the film world, but a tough one to perfect. A "straight" guy and a "color" guy must be introduced, and the storyline must contain equal parts hijinks, ass kickery, character conflict, and large explosions. But I'm preaching to the choir.
Without a doubt, the heyday of the action/buddy film (heck, film IN GENERAL) was the late 80's and early 90's. So let's take a look at five of the greatest movies of the era, featuring many of the biggest action stars of their time. Crack a beer with a Bro and enjoy this, THE TOP 5 ACTION/BUDDY MOVIE PAIRINGS OF THE 80'S AND 90'S.
And remember, these are "buddy" pairings, not "enemy" pairings. So no Universal Soldier.
5) ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER AND JAMES BELUSHI, RED HEAT (1988)
Tag line: "Moscow's toughest detective. Chicago's craziest cop. There's only one thing worse than making them mad. Making them partners."
A classic example of the successful "straight guy"/"color guy" matchup. Forget Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, Belushi and Schwarzenneger nail it as far as mismatched-cop odd couples. Arnie is at his finest as straight-laced ass kicker Ivan Danko, a Soviet cop sent to Chicago to track down a nefarious Russian drug dealer. His sidekick, of course, is Sgt. Art Rizdik (Belushi), a hard-smoking, hard-drinking cop with a propensity for snappy one-liners. Hilarity ensues.
The opening scene pretty much sets the tone for the entire film, with Schwarzenegger kicking the shit out of a bunch of dudes in the snow wearing only a towel. And it only gets better from there. This movie actually lost a couple of points for the crappy Commodore 64 tie-in video game (below), a sad clunker that lived up to none of the potential the movie promised. Bummer.
4) SYLVESTER STALLONE AND KURT RUSSELL, TANGO & CASH (1989)
Tag line: "Two of L.A.'s top rival cops are going to have to work together... Even if it kills them."
Tenacious D sang about them. Inferior films mimicked them.
But Tango (Stallone) and Cash (Russell) had ALL of the elements working for them in this movie:
Co-starring roles for Jack Palance and a Seinfeld-era Teri Hatcher. Kurt Russell in drag. Explosions. Fistfights.
But most importantly: ROBERT FUCKING Z'DAR (right) as "Face". Fuck yeah.
Tango & Cash treads water plot-wise, telling the well-worn tale of two framed cops fighting to prove their innocence. But seeing Marion Cobretti and Snake Plissken in the same place at the same time is enough to put any movie in the Top 5. And I must add that Kurt Russell's gun in this flick is awesome. Cash indeed.
3) KEANU REEVES AND PATRICK SWAYZE, POINT BREAK (1991)
Tag line: "100% Pure Adrenaline!"
There really aren't words to describe how profound an effect this movie has had on my life. I've seen it dozens of times, but the Swayze/Reeves dudebro chemistry just never gets old. Along with Road House and Tron, Point Break sits high atop my list of All Time Greatest Movies. The dialogue. The action. The boobs. The beach. The firing a gun into the air while screaming in frustration. Point Break broke the mold for 90's action flicks, and was never again matched for coolness or Bro-points. The "enemies/friends/enemies again/friends again" relationship between Swayze and Keanu was a fresh take on the action/buddy film, and the surfer-bro role for Reeves was the last decent one he ever played (see also: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and Parenthood). An unbelievably awesome movie. But you already knew that.
Here's something you didn't know: Point Break's original title was Johnny Utah, and its working title was Riders on the Storm. Yeesh.
PS: In a rare show of common sense and good taste, Hollywood has recently aborted its plans to create a Point Break sequel. THANK. FUCKING. GOD.
Right about now, you're probably thinking to yourself, "Point Break at NUMBER THREE?! How is that possible? What could be better than the classic Keanu/Swayze pairing?!" Read on, my friends. Read on.
2) JEAN CLAUDE VAN DAMME AND DENNIS RODMAN, DOUBLE TEAM (1997)
Tag line: "He's a one-man arsenal... with enough voltage to rock the free world."
Movies don't get much more "1997" than Hong Kong director Tsui Hark's stateside debut, Double Team. A past-his-prime JCVD teams up with a "what-the-fuck-are-you-doing-here?" Dennis Rodman to track down a crazed terrorist (Mickey Rourke) and free JCVD's pregnant wife. This film is sort of a summation of everything simultameously pathetic and awesome about the action genre, featuring fading stars delivering unintentionally hilarious lines amidst a flurry of bad special effects. In other words, it rules.
Fittingly, Double Team won several awards, including three Golden Raspberries (Worst Supporting Actor - Rodman, Worst New Star - Rodman, and Worst Screen Couple - Rodman and Van Damme). Its soundtrack featured a collaboration track by Dennis Rodman and Crystal Waters (remember her?), and it currently holds an 11% viewer rating at Rotten Tomatoes. All in all, a must-see masterpiece.
1) JEAN CLAUDE VAN DAMME AND JEAN CLAUDE VAN DAMME, DOUBLE IMPACT (1991)
Tag line: "One packs a punch. One packs a Piece. Together they deliver."
HOLY SHIT!!! TWO VAN DAMMES!!!
This movie is made out of WIN. I'm proud to say that I saw it in the theater when it first came out. It was a defining moment in my life.
Go rent it.
Damn. Dig those Parent Trap-esque split-screen special effects. No CGI here, just pure early 90's editing wizardry. Simpler days, man. Simpler days.