"Uh, guys, I think you over-cast my stunt double a bit..."

TANGO & CASH

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

EXT. DESERT HIGHWAY

A GAS TRUCK FULL OF COCAINE is being driven, presumably to GARY BUSEY’S BIRTHDAY PARTY, by a GIGANTIC SENTIENT CHIN. There may be some kind of PERSON attached to the CHIN; if so, it is impossible to discern him behind that HUMONGOUS FIFTY-POUND NEOLITHIC JAWLINE. SYLVESTER STALLONE is chasing the GAS TRUCK, and a POLICE HELICOPTER is chasing SYLVESTER STALLONE.

COPTER COPS

(over radio)

Sylvester, please! Let the sheriff handle this!

SYLVESTER STALLONE

No way, man! This is my investigation, so I’m gonna make all the arrests personally, cause I’m as prickly and territorial as a toddler who still hasn’t learned how to share!

COPTER COPS

We’re explicitly telling you that you’re out of your jurisdiction! You’re gonna fuck up the case and these guys will walk free, what the hell are you doing man!

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Aha, I’ve driven out in front of them and now I’m gonna stand in the road and shoot out their windscreen and tires!

COPTER COPS

That’s called KILLING THEM. We need these flunkies alive so they can rat out their bosses, what the FUCK do you think you’re doing.

But SYLVESTER does in fact blow out the truck’s tires, sending the CHIN hurtling through the plate-glass windscreen onto the pavement below, where he lies broken and bleeding.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Clearly this role was how I prepped for playing Judge Dredd.

INT. KURT RUSSELL’S HOUSE

Elsewhere, KURT RUSSELL arrives home only to get SHOT FIFTY TIMES by a CRAZED GOON.

KURT RUSSELL

Nice try, punk, but it just so happens that I wore a bulletproof vest while out grocery shopping, which is preposterous! NOW TASTE THE FURY OF MY COMICAL GIANT HANDGUN WITH AN EQUALLY GIANT LASER SIGHT BOLTED ON!

GOON

Whuh oh! Oh well, at least judging by Sylvester’s antics he’s the renegade cop, which means I only have to face the straight-laced by-the-book-

KURT steals a CAR and rams it into the GOON’S CAR and then hauls him back to the POLICE STATION where he STRANGLES HIM with a CHAIR.

GOON

Gllkkk, okay then, no straight-laced by-the-book cop, good to know.

KURT RUSSELL

No, that’s Sylvester.

GOON

...Huh? But... the opening scene...

KURT RUSSELL

But didn’t you see? He was wearing a suit! Whereas I probably don’t even wear underwear. He has glasses, I have sunglasses. Clearly I’m the wild, grungy cowboy cop, while he’s the sophisticated stock-playing yuppie intellectual cop.

GOON

...And we cast SYLVESTER FUCKING STALLONE for this?!?

INT. GANG LAIR

GANG BOSS JAMES HONG and GANG BOSS MARC ALAIMO are conferring with SECRET MEGA-DOUBLE-GANG BOSS JACK PALANCE.

JACK PALANCE

Damnit, would you look at these headlines! “Stallone Foils Drug Deal”. “Russell Foils Other, Bigger Drug Deal”. “Police Detectives Somehow Become Big Enough Celebrities to be Casually Name-Dropped in Newspapers”. These two assholes are ruining everything! Do you have any idea how much CASH Russell has cost us? And that smooth operator Stallone just waltzes in, foils our operations, and TANGOS out!

(pause)

No seriously, I pretty much say exactly that in the movie. I guess we’re trying to keep the title from sounding too much like “Fish and Cushion”-esque gibberish.

JAMES HONG

Don’t worry, I’m working on it, I was behind that spectacular fuck-up of an assassination attempt on Russell.

JACK PALANCE

No! Kill them and they’ll be martyrs. We should frame them and get them thrown in prison!

MARC ALAIMO

Okay. I mean they’ve committed like fifty crimes each just in the first ten minutes of this movie, so I’m pretty sure they’re immune to the law, but it’s worth a shot at least.

INT. ABANDONED BUILDING

KURT uses information he tortured out of the GOON to find a BUILDING. Meanwhile SYLVESTER gets there by following henchman BRION JAMES. KURT walks through the BUILDING and BRION walks through another part of the BUILDING and SYLVESTER walks after BRION but then LOSES HIM and then KURT hears footsteps and follows either BRION or SYLVESTER and then SYLVESTER hears footsteps and follows either BRION or KURT and just when it seems like this sequence has gone on for TWICE AS LONG AS NECESSARY, it decides to KEEP GOING FOR A WHILE. Finally SYLVESTER and KURT run into each other.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Kurt? What a weird coincidence that we would wind up here at the exact same time!

KURT RUSSELL

I know, right? It’s almost as if Brion were deliberately luring you here to contrive this meeting, for some sinister reason or other.

(pause)

So shall we just head into the next room without suspecting anything is amiss?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

After you!

They go into the NEXT ROOM where there’s a DEAD FBI AGENT lying near a gun belonging to KURT. Suddenly ALL THE COPS swarm in!

KURT RUSSELL

Guys, guys, it’s okay! I know this looks bad but Sylvester and I are here officially!

COPS

What, without any kind of backup and without having informed anybody where you were going?

KURT RUSSELL

Well... yeah?

(arrested)

Damnit, who would’ve thought that a cop being completely unprofessional and just doing whatever the hell he felt like all the time would come back to bite him in the ass?

SYLVESTER and KURT are tried for MURDER and sent to PRISON.

EXT. FEDERAL POUND-ME-IN-THE-ASS PRISON

SYLVESTER and KURT are thrown into the SCUZZIEST, MOST CORRUPT PRISON IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Fuck! We were supposed to be sent to a cozy minimum-security prison, but instead they’ve diverted us to this shithole, where they’re throwing us into gen pop to get murdered!

KURT RUSSELL

On the plus side, this is now so ridiculously obvious a setup that Jack’s whole “make the world think they’re criminals” plan is fucked.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

But back on the minus side, they’ve taken my fancy suit away, so now there’s basically no difference between our characters at all!

That night they’re asleep in their CELLS when they each get GRABBED by a dozen INMATES!

KURT RUSSELL

Aw man, this is it, they’re gonna just shiv us or beat us to death with pipes and we’re finished...

But instead they stuff them into SACKS and shove them down the LAUNDRY CHUTE where they slide down to a mob of other INMATES, including THE GIANT CHIN!

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Um, okay... I guess then that THESE guys are gonna beat us to death?

Instead they are hogtied and dangled over ELECTRIFIED BOND VILLAIN-STYLE DEATH TRAPS!

KURT RUSSELL

This seems a liiiittle bit over-elaborate, guys.

JACK PALANCE

(emerging from shadows)

Also, look! I’m here!

SYLVESTER STALLONE

...Cool... why though?

JACK PALANCE

Because...

(frowns)

Because, um... because...

(pause)

(slinks back into shadows)

The INMATES keep dipping SYLVESTER and KURT into the ZAPPY DEATH WATER without quite KILLING THEM!

SYLVESTER STALLONE

OW OW SHIT FUCK SHIT! We gotta do something, this is going to kill us once they stop fucking around.

KURT RUSSELL

All right, this is our time to shine. We may seem to be up against it, but now I’m sure we’ll come up with an awesome, badass way of freeing ourselves and beating up these inmates and escaping from-

DEPUTY WARDEN

(bursting in)

Hi Kurt, it turns out that I, the deputy warden, am a good friend of yours and now I’m freeing you and Sylvester and telling all the inmates to leave you alone. Oh, and here’s an escape plan I made for you guys.

KURT RUSSELL

...Or that could happen, sure.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Escape plan, hmmm? That gives me a great idea for a movie.

(pause)

Well, AN idea for a movie. But THIS escape plan, I want nothing to do with. Kurt, I think your deputy warden friend is gonna screw us!

KURT RUSSELL

You think he stopped us from getting killed and then gave us a fake escape plan so we could get killed?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Maybe, you’ve seen how needlessly complicated murder schemes are around here.

That night, KURT goes to do the escape plan alone. But then it turns out that the DEPUTY WARDEN has been KILLED and GUARDS are after KURT! SYLVESTER saves him and they run away to go zipline off the ROOF, but then SYLVESTER gets TACKLED by the CHIN!

GIANT SENTIENT CHIN

Mwa ha ha, at last I have you, you truck-shooting maniac cop! I’m finally gonna get my revenge for you sending me to prison!!

SYLVESTER STALLONE

You could do that. Or you could use that zipline right there, and not be in prison anymore.

GIANT SENTIENT CHIN

PRIORITIES ARE FOR NERDS!!!

Fortunately SYLVESTER manages to knock the CHIN into some ELECTRICITY and he DIES. SYLVESTER and KURT escape.

KURT RUSSELL

Nicely done! We make a pretty good team, if we combine our resources we should be able to clear our names in no time.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Or we could immediately split up.

KURT RUSSELL

Sure, that works too.

They SPRINT AWAY in opposite directions.

INT. FBI AGENT’S HOUSE

SYLVESTER goes to interrogate LEWIS ARQUETTE.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

You’re one of the guys who set me and Kurt up! I need you to come to the cops and say so in front of them, please.

LEWIS runs for his CAR, but as soon as he pulls on the DOOR HANDLE he is BLOWN UP.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Fuck! I guess Jack must have had a bomb put in Lewis’s car sometime since he got home last night, which is pretty weird and shitty timing. Let’s hope Kurt’s interrogation scene goes better.

INT. AUDIO TECHNICIAN’S LAB

KURT goes to interrogate MICHAEL JETER.

KURT RUSSELL

You’re one of the guys who set me and Sylvester up!

MICHAEL JETER

That I am. Here, I recorded a conversation between me and the bad guys to that effect.

KURT RUSSELL

Oh wow. You’re WAY more incriminating than the other guy, how come you didn’t get blown up?

MICHAEL JETER

(shrugs)

INT. STRIP CLUB

KURT goes to a STRIP CLUB and starts asking around for a stripper called TERI.

TERI HATCHER

Hi, I’m Teri. I’m guessing my brother Sylvester told you to come find me?

KURT RUSSELL

Ah, you figured that out because I was asking for a “Catherine” and he’s the only one who calls you that?

TERI HATCHER

Sure, that. Also, you know, you’re the super-famous detective he’s been on the run with, as seen on every news program and in every newspaper. That kinda gave it away too.

KURT RUSSELL

Oh right. Wait. Maybe it’s a bad idea for me to be wandering around showing my face in public like this.

TERI HATCHER

(looks out window)

Well there are a million cops surrounding the building now, so yeah, you might be onto something there.

KURT RUSSELL

No problem, I’ll just dress up in drag and walk on out of here and the cops will be none the wiser!

TERI HATCHER

Right. I’m sure they won’t look twice at a six-foot, broad-shouldered, lantern-jawed woman with a five o’clock shadow.

This somehow WORKS. They head back to TERI’S PLACE.

INT. TERI’S PLACE

SYLVESTER and KURT regroup, and POLICE CAPTAIN EDDIE BUNKER comes to give them some INTEL.

EDDIE BUNKER

So based on your description of “English guy with ponytail”, we’ve somehow managed to identify Brion James.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Great! And you brought him in for questioning?

EDDIE BUNKER

Well no. I figure you guys would, you know, grab him and torture him instead.

KURT RUSSELL

Sure, I guess that’s our style. Then once we get Jack’s name and address, the cops will storm the place, right?

EDDIE BUNKER

No, you two should go and try and take down his fortress by yourselves. Oh, and be sure to leave Brion alone after torturing him, so he can warn Jack you’re coming and Jack can have all his henchmen ready and waiting to murder you.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

This plan feels... sub-optimal.

KURT RUSSELL

Would it help if I had Q equip us with an experimental tank?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Heh.

KURT RUSSELL

No seriously.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

What?

INT. Q LAB

SYLVESTER and KURT go visit MICHAEL J. POLLARD in his ECCENTRIC SPY-GADGET LABORATORY.

MICHAEL J. POLLARD

So yeah, here’s that RV I was telling you about, that I’ve modified with armor plating, miniguns and nitro boosters!

SYLVESTER STALLONE

What the FUCK.

MICHAEL J. POLLARD

Oh, and be careful of that automated turret disguised as a German shepherd, okay?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Whaaaaat is happeniiiiing

For the sake of SLY’S SANITY as well as that of the AUDIENCE, we bring THAT SCENE to a close and move on to the CLIMAX.

EXT. JACK’S LAIR

SYLVESTER and KURT storm JACK’S BASE with their DOOMMOBILE.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

I feel like maybe we’ve overdone it a bit. This is just some drug-runner’s headquarters, attacking it with the Technodrome here feels a bit like overkill. What has he got, goons with Uzis? And we'll be running them over and turning them into mulch with our miniguns? That hardly seems-

Suddenly JACK unleashes a dozen TRUCKS with MACHINE GUNS and ROCKET LAUNCHERS as well as several GIANT SUPERCHARGED EARTHMOVERS.

KURT RUSSELL

(getting rammed and shot and exploded)

Or maybe it’s Mad Max all of a sudden, why not!

They manage to kill all the TRUCKS and board and conquer the EARTHMOVERS, and finally are free to head into the MAIN BUILDING. They are then set upon by BRION, JAMES and MARC.

JAMES HONG

Take this! I kill you now! Wait a minute, aren’t Marc and I supposed to be big prominent gang leaders-

(killed)

MARC ALAIMO

Yeah, why are we being thrown at the heroes like a couple of nameless henchmen, it doesn’t make any-

(killed)

SYLVESTER and KURT kill BRION as well, and then finally JACK HIMSELF shows up.

JACK PALANCE

I guess we must have run through all our goons. But if you think you can easily defeat an old man in a business suit, think again, for I have abducted Teri and am holding her at gunpoint, HA!

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Seriously man? I don’t think you could have thrown in a more goofy villain cliché.

JACK PALANCE

Did I mention I’ve started the self-destruct countdown for my lair?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

...Okay, NOW I don’t think there’s a goofier villain cliché you could have pulled.

JACK PALANCE

I’M IN A HALL OF MIRRORS NOW! WHICH ONE IS THE REAL JACK PALANCE?

SYLVESTER STALLONE

...?!?!?

KURT RUSSELL

For fuck’s sake, what kind of fucking movie do you even think we’re making here?

JACK PALANCE

A really stupid one.

KURT RUSSELL

Oh. Yeah, actually, can’t argue with that.

They shoot the REAL JACK and rescue TERI and get out of there before the lair EXPLODES.

SYLVESTER STALLONE

Yes! We won! Jack’s dead, his criminal organization is in ruins, and almost all the evidence that we were set up is on fire right now okay maybe that last part isn’t so great.

KURT RUSSELL

Boy this was a dopey movie. But at least I’m sure it’ll go down as the best buddy cop movie with an ampersand in the title, about two crimefighters who are mostly identical except one’s a bit swankier, and one of them is romantically involved with the other one’s sister, where they get framed by a shadowy criminal figure and have to go on the lam together, leading to a climax involving elaborate car stunts, of all time!

END.

This script was made possible thanks to the support of Patrons like [email protected].

If you'd like to support the site, please check out our Patreon page where pledging can earn you access to an ad-free version of the site, early access to scripts, exclusive scripts, and other cool shit.


Discussion