Kevin: Although the 1980s and early 90’s produced some of the best action flicks ever made, it also produced some of the world’s laziest posters advertising those movies. I know the typical buddy cop formula didn’t give them much to work with, but apparently this was the typical thought process at the average studio marketing department: 1) Create poster with two main leads either standing next to each other or back-to-back. 2) Slap on a tagline like “If they can stand each other, the bad guys don’t stand a chance!” 3) Celebrate with lots of cocaine.
We can even see how this thought process crept into the gold standard of buddy cop movies, the “Lethal Weapon” series:
So not the most creative bit of advertising ever but at least it has a cool black-and-white noir feel. For “Lethal Weapon 2” it looks like they just slapped a title over a publicity photo, but it’s still a cool shot:
While “Lethal Weapon 3” is cursed with the dreaded back-to-back pose, which is actually an appropriate representation of how lazy and mediocre the film is. It’s also appropriate that Joe Pesci is awkwardly inserted between them as his character Leo Getz was also shoehorned into a movie he had no business being in (seriously how did he go from government-protected mob informant in the second “Lethal Weapon” to a realtor in the third and a private eye in the fourth?).
This is pretty much par for the course for most action posters back in the day, with the back-to-back pose being deployed for films such as:
“Red Heat” (Note that poor Jim Belushi doesn’t even get his name next to Arnold’s)
and “Collision Course”
Now you would think that the Jay Leno-Pat Morita action “comedy” would be the clear front-runner for “Worst Poster,” but shockingly we have a winner in an even more unlikely pairing, Gene Hackman and Dan Aykroyd’s “Loose Cannons”:
Now I certainly get the challenge laid out in front of the studio’s marketers when they took a look at “Loose Cannons,” directed by former “Porky’s” and “A Christmas Story” filmmaker Bob Clark, in which Gene Hackman is a gruff cop paired with a partner (Dan Aykroyd) who is mentally unstable after previously being tortured (hilarious!) and who occasionally breaks out in impersonations of Capt. Kirk, Dirty Harry, and the Wicked Witch of the West. Together they must help protect a pornographer played by Dom DeLuise who has incriminating film sought by neo Nazis.
So how do you summarize a synopsis like that in one image? Like this apparently:
We have the back-to-back pose against a basic yellow wall, with Aykroyd looking like he’s smelling shit on the tip of his gun and Hackman looking about as interested to be there as most people were in seeing the movie. Sign me up! I will give credit where credit is due though, as bad as the poster is it’s not nearly as awful as the closing theme song, featuring vocals from “Married with Children’s” Katey Sagal and Dan Aykroyd himself! Play us out guys: