It's incredible, when you think about it, how many brilliant movie cops are asked to throw in the badge and gun ("and the one around your ankle") at some point in their careers. Conversely the truly awful cops seem to be allowed to go about their daily brainlessness without so much as a raised eye-brow from their seniors.
Here we present the 15 most useless movie cops of all time.
15. J.W. Pepper (Bond movies)
A parish sheriff in Louisiana he appears as irritating comic relief in Bond movies Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun. Loud, tobacco-chewing bigotry combined with utter cluelessness, his inabilities are magnified when juxtaposed with Bond's guile and stylishness. Most memorable line? "Secret agent? ON WHOOOSE SIDE?"
14. Jeff Foster - Super Troopers
A glorious rostrum of ineptitude to pick from, but we've analysed and deliberated and the worst of the lot is Foster. Why? Well he's certainly not the stupidest - and that's exactly why he's the worst. Arguably the most calm and reserved Trooper it's the fact that he has some degree of intelligence and yet still resorts to pranks like this, that makes him Super Trooper's worst Trooper. Set a better example, Jeff, for God's sake.
13. Al Powell - Die Hard
"I had an accident." Explains Powell to John McClane in a sombre moment. "I shot a kid." That's not an accident Powell. An accident is when you spill some gravy on your shorts. "He was 13 years old. Oh, it was dark, I couldn't see him. He had a ray gun, looked real enough. You know, when you're a rookie they can teach you everything about being a cop except how to live with a mistake. Anyway, I just couldn't bring myself to draw my gun on anyone again."
Probably for the best. No video for this one, oddly, but you can relive his admission on audio. Lucky you!
11. Kenny - Garden State
It's a brief but memorable scene that features the appalling, yet somehow loveable law enforcement methods of Kenny. He pulls Largeman over for doing "82 in a 25!" Dropping F-bombs left, right and centre, he instantly softens at the sight of his old classmate. "The benefits are great, you know?" He says about police work. "If I get shot on the job, I'm like... *MMM*... rich!"
10. ED-209 - Robocop
In the Robocop franchise ED-209 (Enforcement Droid 209) is the comic relief, but in the 1987 movie he is anything but funny for one junior Omni Consumer Products executive. During a presentation of a project spearheaded by the senior president, Dick Jones, the dim-witted droid malfunctions (a recurring theme for this model) and guns down Mr Kinney. Guns him down lots. (Jump to 30 secs)
9. Buford T Justice - Smokey and the Bandit trilogy
In Smokey and the Bandit Part 3, determined, foul-mouthed Texan Sheriff Buford T. Justice claims to have chased the Bandit for over 3,000 miles and across 20 states and on countless ocassions he fails to capture his nemesis despite him being right under his nose. Here's just one of them... (Jump to 1 min 45)
8. Terry Hoitz - The Other Guys
The office was embroiled in a prolonged debate about who is the worse cop, Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) or Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell). But on balance it was agreed that Hoitz was the bigger imbecile. "I'm like a peacock," he says. "You gotta let me fly!" Think you're in the Gamble camp? Consider how Gamble out-wits Hoitz in this argument. Surely that makes him the better cop? Actually, just consider the fact that Hoitz shot a baseball player for carrying a baseball bat! Argument over.
7. Clancy Wiggum - The Simpsons Movie
Wiggum's herculean incompetence hits full throttle in The Simpsons film. Not only does he order his men to open fire on a bullet-proof dome, the bullets ricocheting off the glass and into the abdomens of his team, but he fails to spot one of Fat Tony's most obvious hits...
6. Jacques Clouseau - The Pink Panther movies
Rank: Chief Inspector
This bumbling and incompetent detective in the French Sûreté once, while attempting to interview witnesses, fell down the stairs, got his hand caught in a medieval knight's gauntlet, then a vase, before knocking a witness senseless, destroying a priceless piano, and accidentally shooting another officer. Clouseau would be higher up this list if it weren't for the fact that he always seems to successfully solve his cases, even if this success is achieved entirely by accident. His best moment? It's tough to look past the fact that he keeps his powder dry by having his long-suffering servant Cato attack him at random moments
5. Andy Cartwright - Hot Fuzz
Rank: Detective Sergeant
There is no shortage of woeful cozzers in Cornetto trilogy classic Hot Fuzz. Nick Frost's PC Danny Butterman springs first to mind, but he really shows is calibre as a law enforcement officer during the film's superb climax. Nope, the worst cop in Hot Fuzz is DS Andy Cartwright (Rafe Spall), just pipping his partner DS Andy Wainwright to the dubious honour. He may be responsible for the greatest line in the entire film ("You wanna be a big cop in a small town? F**k off up the model village), but any intelligence ends there. Here he is, with his partner, trying to trash talk Sgt Nicholas Angel... (Jump to 54 secs)
4. Greg Jenko - 21 Jump Street
Jenko is by far and away the stupider of the infamous Jenko and Schmidt partnership. Now, we could be wrong, but at a guess knowing the miranda rights is lesson one at cop school. Alas Officer Greg Jenko wasn't paying attention that day and the result is this spectacular scene in which he makes his first collar, and creates his own warning which goes something like: "You have the right to suck my d***, motherf*****." Alas his lack of knowledge massively backfires when his Deputy Chief reveals the suspect was released because of Jenko's failure to read him his rights, before asking him to recite them word-for-word. It does not go well...
3. Eric Lassard - The Police Academy Series
The Police Academy is riddled with muttonheads, but the biggest concern is that the idiocy runs right to the top. Indeed the fact that he nearly loses his job just three times in the seven movie series is a miracle. Sadly his highlights are woefully under-represented on YouTube, but this gif is vintage Lassard...
2. Slater and Michaels - Superbad
It's hard to know where to begin with these two buffoons. Falling for fake ID is one thing but describing the owner of said ID as 'badass' for having just one name (McLovin) is next generation daft. In fact their numbskullery extends beyond the plain ignorant and firmly into abuse of power, partying with Fogell despite knowing he's underage, before staging his arrest to impress his peers. Front-to-back brilliantly stupid.
1. Frank Drebin - The Naked Gun trilogy
In our opinion Drebin's finest hour doesn't come in a Naked Gun movie, but rather from the files of Police Squad the Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker US comedy series of the 80s. It's rather humbly entitled the Greatest Line in the History of Comedy and can be found right here. As for the films, when he's not shooting up his own car, he's somehow making money from an informant, or proclaiming his love for swimming in sewage. His finest moment, however, comes in The Naked Gun, when he knocks out a baseball umpire, dresses as him and sets about searching every player on the field for a gun he suspects will be used in an assassination attempt on The Queen.
(Images: Rex Features, All Star)