DAR Films: 8 Great Duos In Black Movies

By @TrueGodImmortal

Black cinema has spawned a fair number of classics through the years. Whether movies that showcase the neighborhoods that we grew up in, movies that provide storytelling, or just the most simple of films in general, black cinema has given birth to some of the most notable film characters. However, a classic character can't truly exist without someone to play off of, and with that, we decided to take a look at 8 duos in black films that were classic together. Let's get into it.

*Martin Lawrence And Eddie Murphy (Claude Banks and Ray Gibson in Life, 1999)

-At the time, this was the ultimate for me. Martin was my favorite comedian at the time, Eddie was my overall favorite ever, and despite them being in Boomerang together, they had never really worked a film together where they needed to carry the same workload as actors. Until Life. One of my favorite movies ever, this classic comedy showcased their chemistry as Claude and Ray, two men who have to serve life in prison for a wrongful conviction. They go through a number of hilarious scenarios and eventually would make it out of jail, though it was much later. Still, together, Eddie and Martin was a once in a lifetime pairing that worked to perfection.

*Ice Cube and Chris Tucker
(Craig and Smokey in Friday, 1995)

-When I first watched Friday, I would hear people tell me that the most important part of the film was Chris Tucker. However, while that's true, everything Chris Tucker did as Smokey in this film was made funnier by the reactions that came from Ice Cube's character Craig. The two best friends were hilarious together and once the iconic scene came along where they smoked weed, it was a wrap. Friday is one of my favorite comedies ever and it is mostly due to the chemistry between Cube and Chris on the screen.

*Kid N' Play
(Christopher and Peter in House Party 1-3, 1990-1994)

-The legendary hip hop duo made a name for themselves in this film series where they would play high schoolers who just loved to have fun. Though they were referred to as their stage names in the movies, their actual names were Christopher and Peter in the film.... so essentially they played themselves in the movie. That was fine however, as their chemistry was always evident and of course, working together in movies like this showcased why these two were at the top of the game for a while. Whether they were looking to make records, freestyling battling each other at a party, or kicking off their dance routines, Kid N' Play together was always right on the money on the big screen. I could reference them in Class Act as well, but their best work came in House Party 1 and 2.

*Martin Lawrence and Will Smith
(Marcus Burnett and Mike Lowrey in Bad Boys 1 & 2, 1995 & 2003)

-Of course, this has to get mentioned. Will and Martin at the time were two huge television stars that needed a crossover into the film world and this would be the one. There was no telling how well this would work, but luckily for them, it went very well. The first Bad Boys is a classic, with Martin playing a frustrated family man working as cop, while Will was more of a playboy style reckless cop who was the polar opposite of his partner. The second movie drove home the differences even more, and in a way, it was a little forced, but the first film is what really made the world see how well Martin and Will work together, and one can only hope the rumored third film is more of the same.

*Larenz Tate and Tyrin Turner
(O-Dog and Caine in Menace II Society, 1993)

-So, this duo wasn't as positive as the others on the list, and it didn't end well for one of them, but during the movie, they were great on screen together. Larenz Tate gives the role of his career as the brash O-Dog, while Tyrin plays his most notable role as the impressionable Caine who got into a life that wasn't really meant for him. They were two opposites in a way with similar goals, but that's what made O-Dog and Caine so compelling in the film together. They had each other's back, and that's what earned them the spot on this list.... despite Caine meeting a grave fate in the end.

*Ice Cube and Mike Epps
(Craig and Day Day in Next Friday & Friday After Next, 2000 & 2002)

-I have always thought Mike Epps was funny in moderation, but his role as Day Day in the Friday series is still classic and his best work. Cube and Epps together have made multiple movies together, and while I could have included some of those (just not Janky Promoters), their two best films together are still the second and third Friday movies. Day Day is loud and outspoken, while Craig is the more chilled out of the two, and their dichotomy works well. For me, I find these two to be one of the funniest duos in black film and Next Friday to me is the best showcase of how well they work together.

*Wesley Snipes and Allen Payne
(Nino Brown and G-Money in New Jack City, 1991)

-Alright.... so perhaps this duo didn't end up in the best way possible. They both died. G-Money's death actually came at the hands of Nino, but let's be honest, these two together were great during the early part of the film. They were brothers, brought together by a love for basketball and the streets, and they worked to make their circumstances better. This was a cautionary tale of how bad things can go in the game even when you're up, but the chemistry on the screen between both Allen and Wesley was top notch. From the little instances of comedy to the serious moments to the tragic endings, G-Money and Nino Brown were a great duo that just faced a terrible ending.

*Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall
(Prince Akeem and Semmi in Coning To America, 1988)

-It is true, Eddie and Arsenio had great chemistry together. It is actually sad we didn't get more films with them together, because I've always felt there was a role for Arsenio in Boomerang that could have worked. Still, this movie is the GOAT. It is a classic and it is largely in part to the chemistry of Eddie and Arsenio, two real life close friends, who took their real life humor and laughter and brought it to life in movie form.... with bad African accents. If anything, that alone is a gem for their comedic chemistry and through this legendary film, they exemplify what a great comedic duo has to be in order to work successfully, much like the other duo on this list.



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