9 Of The Worst Movie Detectives

Now available to stuff in your DVD/Blu-ray player, Mindhorn sees has-been TV actor Richard Thorncroft, known for playing a detective, help the police to catch a serial killer. Required to impersonate his old character, Thorncroft thinks he might be able to crack the case, but really he’s just a fat, balding man, bumbling into trouble. He gets the prestigious honour of joining the ranks of the worst movie detectives ever, 9 of which we’ve chucked together for you.

Danny Butterman (Hot Fuzz, 2007)

Danny (Nick Frost) wishes his real-life police work involved as much shooting as Point Break and Bad Boys 2, and when the opportunity arises to imitate his favourite action films, he gleefully cooks many a fool. Unfortunately, his wits appear to have been permanently damaged by Cornetto-induced brain freeze.

Axel Foley (Beverly Hills Cop, 1984)

A bit of an Axel, Foley isn’t really a terrible detective, but his reckless approach to policing makes him a nightmare for his superiors. Imagine if real cops caused massive car pile-ups and started shootouts at amusement parks. It’d be bloody entertaining.

Shaggy (Scooby Doo, 2002)

It’s a miracle this blatant stoner can find his way out of bed, let alone get to the bottom of a case. Clearly off his tits on whatever hallucinogenic is inside those Scooby Snacks, he’s constantly on edge and unable to pull himself together. The fact that he eats dog biscuits says it all, really.

Holland March (The Nice Guys, 2016)

When Holland March (Ryan Gosling) gets drunk at a 70s porno party, falls off a balcony and ends up lying next to a bloodied body, his lips start quivering like Porky Pig stood in front of a butcher. Also willing to con senile OAPs out of money, he’s not exactly what you’d call a noble detective. But then he’s only a PI, which stands for Pig Impersonator.   

James Carter (Rush Hour, 1998)

It seems highly unlikely that Chris Tucker’s James Carter should survive so many martial arts fights, with his only skill being the speed in which he flaps his gums. Next to Jackie Chan’s far more competent detective and fighter, he looks like an uncultured lout trying to eat octopus tentacles with chopsticks.

Dick Steele (Spy Hard, 1996)

Leslie Neilson’s clumsy detective definitely doesn’t have a steel dick. If he did, he would be more rigid and upright, like Pierce Brosnan, who probably does have a metal appendage. There’s certainly a gulf in coolness between the two of them, so maybe augmenting your flesh pistol is the answer.  

Ace Ventura (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, 1994)

Give him a whiff of bat shit and Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) will point out the winged rodent from whence it came. He’s obviously a bit of a genius when it comes to solving pet-related cases (bats are definitely not pets), but his unconventional methods of deduction and flamboyant behaviour wouldn’t be tolerated in the force. Tucking a vest into waist-high trousers is also considered a criminal offence.

Frank Drebin (The Naked Gun, 1998)

James Bond has nothing on Frank Drebin (Leslie Neilson), who nonchalantly causes chaos and harms scores of people without even realising he’s doing it. He’d probably be quite useful in a war. If you put him on the enemy’s side.

Chief Inspector Clouseau (Pink Panther, 1963)

Jacques Clouseau’s pursuit of the Pink Panther has him stumbling down stairs, knocking out witnesses, destroying priceless antiques and accidentally shooting fellow officers. But despite his devastating incompetence and complete lack of skill, he somehow always solves the case. Peter Sellers’s genius well and truly pokes through that trench coat.   

Mindhorn is put on DVD & Blu-ray now

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