Best On-Screen Crime Fighting Duos

December 16th, 2011 12:00pm EST

Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows Everyone loves a hero. They stand up for what’s right, battle the forces of evil, and somehow manage to look sexy in spandex. But sometimes one hero isn’t enough. Sometimes the problem is too great for any one man (or Superman) to handle. Sometimes audiences want to hear a dick-joke while justice is being served. That’s where Dynamic Duos come in. Two heroes, paired together, fighting the good fight and keeping us laughing the whole way through. That’s what audiences love more than anything. To honor the release of Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows, let’s take a look at the best on-screen crime fighting duos of all-time.

Every pair will need to meet a few criteria in order to make the list.

1. The “duo” must be comprised of two human persons. You could make a case for Superman’s left and right arms as a heroic pair, but for the purposes of this list two actual people are required. Also, no robots will be accepted (This disqualifies Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E for all of you Friends fans out there.).

2. They must fight for truth, justice, and the American way (OK, maybe the last one isn’t a requisite, but you see my point). The characters must live and breathe crime fighting. Or at least fight crime as a way to meet women, which brings us to…

3. At least one of the two must have some semblance of sex appeal. Nobody cares about the streets being kept safe by an ugly duckling. Fighting crime while smoldering is key.

4. The pairing must be hilarious. The whole point of having two heroes instead of just one is so they can goof on one another or make sweet comedy love through the differences in their personalities. This is why the “interracial buddy cop” theme will never die. It has endless comedic potential. Same goes for the “straight-laced cop meets the loose-cannon” theme. More on this in a bit.

5. Proven willingness and ability to kick ass. Everybody loves Law & Order, but if there’s anything those shows are missing, it was some good old fashioned good-guy-on-bad-guy violence. Real justice takes days, weeks, or months to enact. On the screen, crime fighters don’t have that kind of time, so they must dispense justice with the fists, feet, and weapons God gave them. There is no duo on this list which better embodies this crime fighting ideal than…

6. Highsmith and Danson - The Other Guys

Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson’s roles in The Other Guys may have been short lived, but in their five minutes of screen time they showed what a crime fighting duo is all about: kicking ass and taking names. Plus, going out in a blaze of glory never hurt anyone’s chances of making this list. “Aim for the bushes.”

5. Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowery - Bad Boys

This pair had everything: ass kicking, hilarious banter, and sex appeal (Women love them some Martin Lawrence. It’s the ears). The original Bad Boys came out in 1995. Bad Boys II came out in 2003. According to my very shaky math skills, it’s time for the third installment.
Good news for fans - IMDB lists Bad Boys III as in development! The bad news? Audiences may have to wait until Smith finishes making a slew of other sequels (Men in Black III, Hancock 2) and Michael Bay runs out of Transformers films.

4. Sean and Gus - Psych

If you’re not watching this show on USA, you should be (You have no excuse. The first five seasons are on Netflix Watch Instantly).
Set in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA (and shot in even more beautiful Vancouver, BC), Sean - a fake psychic - and his partner Gus solve murders in America’s most unlikely crime hotbed. They make the list despite their lack of ass-kicking because their hilarity-quotient is off the charts. Think about it. What could possibly be unfunny about a guy pretending to be psychic? Throw in both characters’ sex appeal and Sean’s better-than-The Mentalist powers of observation, and their inclusion is indisputable.

Next, we move from one pair of interracial buddies to the original…

3. Riggs and Murtaugh - Lethal Weapon

Mel Gibson may have gone off the deep end in recent years; but once upon a time, he and Danny Glover were the best American crime fighters on the screen. You can make the case the Lethal Weapon franchise held on one film too long, but in its heyday, there was nothing better. Sexy psycho Riggs and by-the-book, “I’m too old for this sh!t” Murtaugh were the cream of the crop, and this list wouldn’t be complete without them.

2. Batman and Alfred

I mean no disrespect when I say this, but Robin is a pansy. He brings nothing to the table. Bumping him for Alfred is a way of acknowledging the newest iteration of Batman’s triumph over previous travesties, the most notable of which is Batman & Robin. Together, Christian Bale and Michael Caine are an unstoppable force against the forces of evil. We have no better crime fighting pair on this side of the pond. That being said, this list could only be topped by…

1. Sherlock and Watson

Whether on the page or on the screen, there are no better crime fighters than Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s brilliant London detective and his affable accomplice/sidekick are one of the most addictive literary tandems of all-time. In bringing them to the big screen, Director Guy Ritchie has added a whole new layer to these beloved characters.
Sherlock, played by Robert Downey, Jr. is as sexy as he is dangerous; while Watson, played by Jude Law, is a perfect foil - both dryly humorous and loyal beyond compare.
While the action (particularly Sherlock’s fight sequences) is spectacularly well done, it is the interplay between Sherlock and Watson that really makes these movies worth the price of admission.
Game of Shadows promises to be every bit as good as the first installment. Not because Shadows will have more action, more twists, or more Rachel McAdams, but rather because Sherlock and Watson are the original and the ultimate Dynamic Duo.

Related: Bad Boys, Bad Boys II, Batman Begins, Christian Bale, Danny Glover, Dwayne Johnson, Guy Ritchie, Jude Law, Martin Lawrence, Mel Gibson, Michael Caine, Psych, Rachel McAdams, Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Dark Knight, The Other Guys, Will Smith, Starpulse Exclusives, Television, Movies, Comedy, TV Networks, USA

© 2011

Photo Credits: Warner Bros; Columbia Tristar

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