Cops and robbers, right? It’s the oldest genre there is. And as you might expect for such a well-worn style of film, it’s acquired plenty of predictable tropes along the way.
The faces may change but the characters, stories and endings remain largely the same. Prepare yourself for 9 of the worst clichés in crime movies – complete with copious Al Pacino.
1. Rags to riches
Who said crime doesn’t pay? Like a dark, twisted take on the classic underdog story, all good crime movies follow an ambitious young hoodlum on their unstoppable rise from impoverished nobody to millionaire kingpin.
2. The token psycho
He’s the loose cannon who resorts to extreme violence just because someone looked at him funny, and ends up compromising the rest of the crew as a result. Given the lack of professionalism and general good manners, you wonder why they keep him around.
3. The one good cop
In a world of bribery, corruption and a whole precinct full of rotten coppers, there’s a single lone detective who stands up for truth, justice and the American way – overcoming all the nefarious odds to defy both his disapproving colleagues, and the no-good hoods he’s set on taking down.
4. The Mafia mentor
Every aspiring criminal needs one. They’re the wise, usually doomed old hand who dispenses advice, offers protection, and is as likely to slap you roughly round the chops as pat you on the back. Badda Bing!
5. In da club
It doesn’t matter whether he owns the joint, or is just a big player there, but at some point we get to see our gangster protagonist holding court in the glitzy, VIP section of a swanky club, enjoying the atmosphere and the hospitality that comes with his reputation and riches.
6. One last job
Just like the ‘last week til retirement cop‘, this world weary crim has set themselves on the path to the quieter life. They want to go straight, enjoy their riches on the Costa del Sol, and just generally avoid getting shot at all the time. But due to temptation or intimidation, they reluctantly agree to pick their piece and safe-cracking gear back up for one last time.
They’re sworn enemies. Mutual nemesi. A cop and a crook who have each other in their sights. But just once, at a crucial point in the action, they decide to take a break from surveillance and shoot-outs to sit down for a little chat over a coffee, mano a mano.
They were the most trusted pal. The confidant. The rock. But with the promise of even greater riches, immunity from prosecution or just sheer dumb ambition, they betray the leading crim to his rivals or the authorities, or go behind his back. It ain’t gonna end well.
9. The blaze of glory
Despite everything they’ve been through, the empire is crumbling, the writing is on the wall, and their enemies are closing in. Time for one last stand then, before the inevitable downfall.
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