May 12, 2020

This Is The Police Part 1: The Appeal Of Cop Movies

This Is The Police

We sure love watching police movies, don’t we? And we certainly like games like This is The Police as well. But what makes the police procedural movies and video games so appealing to us? What makes them so special and frankly fun to watch?

I’ll get to the appeal of the police procedural movies in a minute, but beforehand I’d like to mention two very important things.

First and foremost, we have This Is the Police video game on sale here at Indie Gala. It’s worth checking out for sure. And secondly, this post is the first of a two-part post series.

This is the police

This Is The Police: The genres are endless

That’s right. Seems like the police procedural movies are way too diverse and versatile to be left in one solitary post. Don’t forget about the undercover cop movies and the good cop/bad cop films as well. Besides, there are the always present buddy cop movies, and lately even the female-cop movies. For instance The Heat, featuring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.

Cop movies range from thrillers to light comedies. There’s even buddy cop-dog movie sub-genre, which naturally bonds a police officer with an adorable, fluffy canine partner.

So, with that in mind, I’ll cover them all separately in the second part of the post (which will be published additionally in the upcoming days)

This one will focus more on the police procedural movie analysis, while on the second post I’ll share some of my favorite police procedural movies. Stay tuned!

This Is The Police: What’s it all about?

Well, in This Is The Police, you are Jack Boyd. The police chief of Freeburg. He’s set to retire in one hundred and eighty days. However, Boyd is tasked to make $500,000 in his final six months on the force, in various ways that he chooses. In addition to his many options, one of the options does include utilizing the local mafia.

Consequently, he must strategize about how many officers should send to each crime. Because if there are no spare officers to go on the field, some crimes cannot be stopped as a result of the shortage. Failure to stop crimes results in poor performance of Boyd’s squad and a reduced payment. So, he must be cautious and tread lightly to survive.

So, what’s the downside of Boyd’s situation? For, one dealing with the competing powers of the city. Everyone offers you favors, and each one comes at a price. It depends on you which one to accept.

And at last… Small fun fact about Jack Boyd. The lead character is portrayed by Jon St. John. Who’s at the same time the voice of Duke Nukem. How cool is that?

john ashton beverly hills cop

Police movies rock!

Frankly, there’s not a single person out there that didn’t grow up with them. Whether it’s Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle and Buddy “Cloudy” Russo from the French Connection. Or the 80’s classic duo Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh from the Lethal Weapon franchise. We love them nonetheless.

Cambridge dictionary states that police procedural movies have a mixture of police procedural and psychological thriller. But, nowadays those lines are a little more blurred, I must add.

Some police procedural movies have a bit noir mixed in them, while others have biographical aspects as well. Think Serpico, American Gangster, and again… The French Connection.

So, what’s the appeal of police movies?

Much like This is The Police, a big chunk of the police movies depict the grey area in the police force.

The corrupt cops, the undercover cops, and everyone in between. But I think that that the diversity and versatility I mentioned before are key points to the longevity of the genre. There are endless possibilities to pair two detectives on the big screen.

A conservative and a slightly crazy cop (like in Lethal Weapon). A wisecracking cop and a serious cop (like in Beverly Hills Cop). And even a US cop and a foreign cop (like in Rush Hour series). Not to mention rookie cop and an experienced cop (like in Training Day).

Two clashing characters

I can go on and on, but I think you get my point. You see, in police themed movies (or cop movies) the plot is not really the one that counts. Why?

Because it’s almost always the same. It’s boring as much as it is repetitive. Two cops need to catch some bad guys. And that’s pretty much it. No. Their banter, repartee, their chemistry and the overall relationship is where the fun is. That’s what makes them click, if you will. Their different working methods and constant clashing, bickering, and fighting.

Their beliefs, convictions, and characters are also important in cop movies. Why? Because they’re on the opposite side of the spectrum.  Take Shane Black for instance. The man almost perfected the buddy cop genre. First with the cult classic Lethal Weapon, then with A Long Kiss Goodnight and most recently with The Nice Guys. And all of them follow a very similar formula.

Two very different people are forced to work together under immense pressure. As a result of their polar clashing characters, they don’t really like each other at first. But after some time spent together, they’ll warm up to one another and get the job done. Perfect. Simple and poignant.

denzel washington training day

Good cop-bad cop trope

Do you know what else is appealing? The good cop/bad cop type of police procedural movies. And you know why they’re fun to watch? Not only because they have the iconic good VS evil premise, but because they’re so rooted in our reality. As much as we’d hate to admit, bad cops exist. And the police procedural movies not only expose their flaws, but also reveal their motives.

Sometimes the movies expose the corrupt system. A decaying society, or the rise of the underground organized crime. But the protagonists in those movies are again on the opposite sides of the spectrum. Whether it’s the moral, conscience, or lack thereof, they’re conflicted and flawed individuals. And they’re portrayed as such.

Your thoughts

So, while waiting for the second part of the This is the Police post, why not remind yourself of the probably greatest fictional detective of all time? That’s right. We have an entire post about Sherlock Holmes already published on IndieGala’s blog and we think it’s worth checking out.

And in the end, what is your favorite police procedural movie? Or maybe it’s movies? Tell us all about them in the comment section below. We’d love to know all about them.

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