12 Best Comedies Like Rush Hour You Need To Watch Next

Though he'd been making movies since the 1970s, Jackie Chan wouldn't fully break into the mainstream U.S. market until 1996 with "Rumble in the Bronx." But his first true Hollywood blockbuster was "Rush Hour." The 1998 buddy cop comedy finds Chan playing a Hong Kong cop who teams up with Chris Tucker's LAPD detective to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Chinese diplomat. The movie was massively successful, ranking 9th at the domestic box office, impressing critics like Roger Ebert, and winning Chan a ton of American fans.

But with the "Rush Hour" series seeing diminishing returns as it went on — "Rush Hour 2" is fine, while "Rush Hour 3" is entirely skippable — fans of the classic original will probably want to look elsewhere for their next buddy cop/action-comedy fix. Luckily, it's a style of movie that Hollywood loves to do, and there are no shortage of similar films to choose from. The question is, which ones are actually good? From the movies that set the stage for "Rush Hour" to the ones that came after it, from movies that are specifically buddy cop films to ones that are just more general action-comedies, these are the titles you should be adding to your streaming service queues after you've watched "Rush Hour" for the umpteenth time and want something different but with a similar flavor.

Lethal Weapon

Any "Rush Hour" fan that somehow hasn't seen "Lethal Weapon" is doing themselves a great disservice. While not the first-ever mismatched buddy cop movie, it reinvented the genre and has served as the gold standard ever since. Many would argue that "Lethal Weapon 2" is the best of the series, and that may be true — but anyone new to the franchise should start with the still-fantastic first installment before moving on to the superior sequel.

While the action is definitely great, it's the chemistry between leads Mel Gibson as the wild Riggs and Danny Glover as the by-the-book Murtaugh that solidify "Lethal Weapon" as an undeniable classic. The juxtaposition between the character who plays it safe and the one who runs toward the danger might be cliché now, but it was still somewhat novel when it was done in "Lethal Weapon," and it remains one of the best examples of the trope. Many subsequent cop movie duos have tried to be Riggs and Murtagh, but all they'll ever be doing is competing for second best. 

21 Jump Street

From "Starsky & Hutch" to "CHiPs" and beyond, there's no shortage of movies that have tried to recapture the magic of cop shows from the '70s and '80s. And the efforts have been extremely hit or miss, with some being downright dreadful. That said, perhaps the best example of this subgenre is 2012's film adaptation of "21 Jump Street," which smartly turns the more serious police procedural vibe of the original into a buddy cop comedy to surprisingly excellent results.

With its plot surrounding two police officers going undercover at a high school, the movie does a perfect job of both mocking but also paying tribute to '80s nostalgia, managing to be satisfying whether taken as a love letter to that era or being viewed entirely as a modern action-comedy. Back in 2012, Channing Tatum hadn't done much comedy yet so he was a bit unproven in that regard, but there's a reason he's done more comedies since this one. Jonah Hill is as great as he always is, and the two prove to be a formidable on-screen team. Even more surprising is the fact that its sequel, "22 Jump Street," is equally as entertaining.

Hot Fuzz

With "Shaun of the Dead," director Edgar Wright and his co-writer (and star) Simon Pegg showed their unparalleled aptitude at creating movies that can simultaneously satirize a genre but also be a genuinely great example of a film within that genre. With "Hot Fuzz," they proved they weren't one-trick ponies in that regard, as they did it with buddy cop movies just as well as they did it with zombie flicks. 

Teaming Pegg once against with Nick Frost, the two are every bit as great together here as they were in "Shaun." Pegg plays a successful London police officer who's transferred to a peaceful village in the middle of nowhere and is forced to team up with a bumbling local cop (Frost) when the town is beset by a series of vicious murders. On top of universal critical acclaim and being the most successful entry in the "Thee Flavors Cornetto" trilogy — which also includes "The World's End" — "Hot Fuzz" drew praise from none other than Shane Black (per IGN). As the writer of films like "Lethal Weapon" and its sequel, he's one of the most prolific and successful creators of buddy action-comedies — so for him to give his seal of approval to a movie that's essentially poking fun at the genre that's his bread and butter speaks to just how great "Hot Fuzz" truly is.

Charlie's Angels (2000)

"Rush Hour" fans shouldn't limit themselves to just buddy cop movies. There are other films with a similar blend of comedy and stylized action that should scratch that particular itch, such as the 2000 film adaptation of "Charlie's Angels." It didn't set out to do anything drastically different or unexpected with the material, but instead, it opted to just provide a fun, light moviegoing experience centered around three of Hollywood's biggest actresses of the time kicking butt in intentionally over-the-top fashion.

Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu understood the assignment here, being charming one minute and dropkicking dudes across the room the next — always making sure to strike the perfect pose in between each roundhouse and karate chop. The much-publicized on set issues with Bill Murray aside, he at least seems to be enjoying himself here and leads a stacked supporting cast that also includes Sam Rockwell, Luke Wilson, Matt LeBlanc, Crispin Glover, and Tim Curry. As for the rest of the franchise, sequel "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" failed to recapture the goofy magic of the original, but the 2019 reboot — simply titled "Charlie's Angels" — is underrated and deserved to be a bigger hit.  

The Other Guys

What's better than a straight-up buddy cop movie? How about a hilarious buddy cop parody? For example, take "The Other Guys," which has fun with the genre's tropes in a way that will please any action fan.

The second-to-last Adam McKay/Will Ferrell movie before their eventual professional and personal split back in 2019, "The Other Guys" is also the first team-up of Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. The two are a great comedic duo, playing loser cops who finally get their chance to shine. And as this movie proves, Wahlberg doesn't do nearly enough comedies, and it's nice to see him when he's able to take a step back and poke a little fun at his macho persona.

"The Other Guys" also features Michael Keaton. At the time of the film's release, he was beginning his much-welcomed return to appearing in movies more frequently. Hollywood has just always been better when Keaton is in heavy rotation, and that's especially true here, as his running TLC bit is absolutely hysterical.

Beverly Hills Cop

With "48 Hrs.," Eddie Murphy was still somewhat untested in leading a major studio film and wasn't even the top-billed actor. Just two years later, with the release of "Beverly Hills Cop," he was already a certified movie star with his name at the top of all the posters. And whereas "48 Hrs." is a bit more on the gritty side and only occasionally mixes humor in with its police procedural trappings, "Beverly Hills Cop" — where Murphy plays Detroit detective Axel Foley, trying to solve a murder while navigating the crazy world of California — is a much more straightforward comedy and proves to be a much broader showcase for Murphy's talents in that regard.

Of course, let's not discount co-lead Judge Reinhold, sometimes overlooked for his many great contributions to some of the biggest classics of the 1980s. And like he does in so many other movies, he proves to be a great straight man for Murphy, a master at setting up jokes for Murphy to knock down. It's a skill that not everyone has, and it doesn't get enough respect when someone is really good at it. 

Sadly, the quality of the "Beverly Hills Cop" movies drops significantly across its next two installments, completely plummeting with "Beverly Hills Cop III." But that can never take away from the magic of the first film, which is absolutely perfect for "Rush Hour" fans.

Bad Boys

Say what you will about Michael Bay, but he's made some really fun movies. And one of the most fun is definitely "Bad Boys," the buddy cop comedy that has all of the usual Bay trappings — stylized action, quippy dialogue, delightfully ridiculous set pieces — and wraps it around the infectious chemistry of stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. While both of its leads are great, special recognition needs to be directed to Lawrence in particular, who doesn't always get the credit he deserves for just how great of a movie star he can be when given the chance. 

The core premise is that a witness ends up thinking Lawrence's straight-laced family man character is Smith's smooth-talking ladies' man, which gives Smith and Lawrence the excuse to pretend to "be" the other at various points in the movie, which is incredibly fun. As cops, they break every rule and should've been fired at least a dozen times, but these kinds of movies wouldn't be half as interesting if they starred police officers who did things by the book. 

Shanghai Noon

It goes without saying that anyone who loved "Rush Hour" should see more Jackie Chan films. That said, next to "Rush Hour," "Shanghai Noon" is the best one that was made by an American studio and has Chan teaming up with an American actor — in this case, Owen Wilson. In that way, it should click with a lot of "Rush Hour" fans, particular those who would've liked the sequels to not just be more of the same. Plus, the idea of a "martial arts Western" is inherently interesting, and even longtime Chan fans would surely enjoy seeing him in such an unusual setting.

"Shanghai Noon" takes the whole "East meets West" thing to its logical conclusion in a movie where Chan's character — Chon Wang — finds himself in the Old West. Say "Chon Wang" it out loud without overenunciating it — sound like a certain actor renowned for starring in classic Westerns? That kind of pun-based humor is par for the course for this movie, but that's not meant to be taken as a criticism. Like the best Jackie Chan movies, the jokes are goofy, and the action is heart-stopping, sometimes all at once. 


2015's "Spy" was a bright spot during what was otherwise a period of Melissa McCarthy fatigue, and it served to reinforce why Hollywood was suddenly so interested in putting her in absolutely everything. Here, she shines as Susan Cooper, a member of the CIA who's desk-bound as she assists field agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law). A series of events brings her out into the field, where she's hilariously out of her element but quickly proves that she's highly adaptable and should've been put on field work much sooner.

All due respect to McCarthy and the fact that this is a still all-too-rare female-led action movie — especially given that McCarthy isn't the typical female action star — but Jason Statham steals all of his scenes as he proves a surprising aptitude for this type of comedy. The highly underrated and far too underutilized Rose Byrne is also excellent, re-teaming with McCarthy and director Paul Feig following the trio's previous work together in "The Heat" and "Bridesmaids." And while "The Heat" is a decent buddy cop comedy and was a definite nominee for this list, it feels a little like the trial run for the much better, much more polished "Spy."

The Nice Guys

Screenwriter Shane Black was Hollywood's buddy cop/action comedy master for years, up through his highly underrated "The Long Kiss Goodnight" and "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang." After being so prolific between 1987 and 1996, Black was confident to step back and only make movies when the mood struck him. 

So it was with much fanfare when, in 2016, he returned to the genre that put him on the map with "The Nice Guys." It not only throws back to the golden era of buddy cop comedies that Black himself was at the forefront of, but it also goes even farther back by taking place in the 1970s and being an homage to that era as well. Here, the plot follows Ryan Gosling's drunken detective and Russell Crowe's bruiser with heart of gold as they investigate the disappearance of young woman. Crowe isn't typically known for comedy, but it's something he can clearly do well when given the chance. Ditto for Gosling, who's done comedy but doesn't seem to get offered very many funny parts. Not only are they both great, but they're great together, with film critic Richard Roeper calling them "the funniest duo of the year." 

While it would be great to see Shane Black make more movies like this, if this is his last buddy cop movie, he definitely went out at the top of his game. 

The Last Boy Scout

Shane Black's first attempt at proving he could do a different kind of buddy cop action comedy outside of the "Lethal Weapon" franchise was 1991's "The Last Boy Scout." With a little more time and reflection, "The Last Boy Scout" has retroactively been much better appreciated for all the ways it's a great addition to the buddy cop lineup rather than representing its decline, as was the critical consensus at the time. In 2016, The Telegraph even called it an "action masterpiece." 

Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans are a fantastic team — Willis as grizzled detective Joe Hallenbeck and Wayans as disgraced former football player Jimmy Dix who talks his way into being taken along on Hallenbeck's investigation of the murder of Jimmy's girlfriend. It's also worth pointing out the direction of Tony Scott, who's a great fit for Shane Black's vibe and was allowed to redeem his buddy cop movie chops after having helmed the disappointing "Beverly Hills Cop II." 

Last but certainly not least is late comedian Taylor Negron as the movie's villain, a part he plays with brilliantly subdued menace. How he wasn't the villain in a dozen other movies after this is a mystery.

48 Hrs.

"48 Hrs." might not technically be the first buddy cop movie, but it's definitely the one that started the genre as we know it today. There likely wouldn't have even been a "Lethal Weapon" if "48 Hrs." hadn't gotten there first and been so successful. It's surprising in retrospect to know that "48 Hrs." was Eddie Murphy's film debut. Although only known for a couple seasons on "Saturday Night Live" at that point, Murphy had all the talent and confidence of a fully formed movie star right out of the gate. Here, Murphy plays a convict who's enlisted by Nick Nolte's detective character to help catch a pair of murderers, and Murphy's performance keeps up with the more seasoned Nolte every step of the way.

While "48 Hrs." has gotten some flack in recent years for its use of racial slurs and other ways that may have aged poorly in terms of its race-related material, there are many who have come to its defense and instead insist that it was actually ahead of its time in that regard. Decider went as far as to say that the movie is "smarter about race relations than we give it credit for." The fact that such heavy conversations are continuing to happen 40 years later about a movie that's typically just known as a buddy cop comedy speaks to its quality, as well as its legacy far beyond helping to kickstart a genre.