Danny Glover's cop character in the movie "Lethal Weapon" may have popularized the phrase "I'm too old for this"–but he is not the only one. All 5 of these action films of the 1980's contain police officers that are at or near middle age, forced to work with younger adrenaline junkies that are making their life miserable. Although these veteran cops are still sharp and experienced, they are starting to feel ready to trade their billy clubs for gulf clubs. There is nothing wrong with trying to age gracefully, so take that retirement package guys.
"48 Hours" In this buddy cop movie from 1982, Eddie Murphy begins his movie career as a youthful, wise-cracking convict named Reggie Hammond that is temporarily released from prison. But there is a catch–he must assist Jack Cates, a grumpy older police officer played by Nick Nolte, in finding a dangerous killer in two days time. Jack constantly argues with the younger Reggie, gets shot at by suspects, and is not really much of a magnet for the ladies. But you really feel for him when his Cadillac gets smashed, because Jack is not exactly a track star anymore.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and "Gremlins." Eddie Murphy played the young, enjoyably obnoxious, fun-loving fish-out-of-water cop named Axel Foley. Foley was obviously not the cop that was "too old for this", but one of his two partners was–the stiff, by-the-book Detective Sgt. John Taggart played by John Ashton. Taggart nags and complains anytime his younger partner is interested in Foleys plans, like God forbid he invites the guys for a drink at a strip club.
"Running Scared" Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal play a happy-go-lucky pair of man-child Chicago cops in their upper 30's that are starting to feel their age setting in while training younger officers in their district. Ideally, the Crystal and Hines cops would like to retire to Florida to open a trendy bar and leave the Windy City's bustling crime storm behind. But that would be way too easy; they try to capture a notorious drug dealer before heading off into the sunset.
"Lethal Weapon" This exciting buddy cop movie with clever dialogue has a pair of policemen that could not be any more opposite. Mel Gibson's character is young, single and suicidal and Danny Glover's character just turned 50, is a family man and is getting too old for this. Not only must he put up with his new partner's unpredictable outbursts, but he also has to try to learn to be a team player in order to shut down a drug smuggling operation. It also does not help that he has to prevent his younger half from trying to kill himself – and those around him.
"Colors" Sean Penn and Robert Duvall make a great rookie/veteran pair of police partners in this 1988 Dennis Hopper-directed action crime drama. Any older cop like Robert Duvall's Officer Bob Hodges that must put up with a hotheaded younger partner and face gangs such as the Crips and the Bloods in Los Angeles is definitely going to have many "I am too old for this" moments. Duval plays a levelheaded seasoned officer that just wants to make peace with the citizens of the neighborhood they are patrolling. But Penn's character is ready to rumble like a rock star.