Action and comedy aren't the most natural bedfellows. Action movies want you to believe that gun-toting spy who's totally not modelled on James Bond could be bazooka'd into a thousand scorching pieces at any moment, so throwing in a bunch of jokes kind of kills the vibe.
Making an action-comedy movie, then, one which delivers proper action thrills and makes the audience howl, is no easy task. That doesn't mean there aren't a bunch of bangin' action-comedy movies out there — you just have to know where to find 'em.
As it happens, I've done the hard work for you, so check out 10 of the best action-comedy movies available, where you can watch them — and why you're missing out if you don't.
1. '21 Jump Street' (2012)
In a nutshell: Fans of Seth Rogen's brand of bro humor might want to type 21 Jump Street in their GPS and spend two hours watching Jonah Hill and Channing Tatums' big-kid police officers masquerading as high school students to bust a drug ring.
Dumb or smart? It's not what you might call smart, but it is funny, and let's face it, the world knows what it wants from Jonah Hill.
There's a sequel, the imaginatively-titled 22 Jump Street, and the third Jump Street movie will actually be a crossover with the Men In Black franchise. That could either be genius or just strange. Too soon to call.
2. 'Ant-Man' (2015)
In a nutshell: Ant-Man may be the #MCU's tiniest hero, but he makes a big first impression in a debut solo outing with far more personality than, say, Doctor Strange. After carrying out a heist at a scientist's house, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) finds himself given the technology to shrink to the size of an insect — which, it turns out, is quite useful when the deranged scientist Yellowjacket possesses the same tech, and intends to use it for evil.
Okay, so the plot is basic, but the execution is a lot of fun.
Dumb or smart? Quite smart. I mean, we're talking #Marvel here, so there are no big themes or hidden messages to decode once the credits roll, but Ant-Man is still an emotionally-intelligent action-comedy movie with a highly likeable performance from the eternal fountain of youth known as Paul Rudd. Also excellent is Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne — who'll suit up as The Wasp in the sequel. I'm stoked.
3. 'Charlie's Angels' (2000)
In a nutshell: It may be insanely turn-of-the-century (in an endearing way), but Charlie's Angels remains one of the very few action-comedy movies driven by female protagonists, and these angels are seriously badass. Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz are great, but it's Lucy Liu on professional scene-stealing form here, in the role which probably got her cast by Tarantino in Kill Bill.
Dumb or smart? It's not as sharp as its heroines' karate movies, but Charlie's Angels is firmly tongue-in-cheek, and gets bonus points for never treating its leading ladies as sex objects. The soundtrack is also killer.
4. 'Deadpool' (2016)
In a nutshell: After spending years trying and failing to get Deadpool made, Ryan Reynolds delivered a massive smackdown on the superhero genre in 2016 with a relentlessly funny two hours of cinema which is about as meta as meta gets. On why Colossus is the only proper member of the X-Men in his movie? "It's almost like the studio couldn't afford another X-Men!" Yep, Deadpool is a winner.
Dumb or smart? Far smarter than most of us probably imagined. Will Deadpool still hit the mark on second or third viewing? Time will tell, but personally I'll probably never tire of Ryan Reynolds ripping the shit out of his own disastrous Green Lantern. It hits all the right emotional beats, too, making this the rare action-comedy movie with a heart.
5. 'Headhunters' (2011)
In a nutshell: The one movie on this list you've probably never heard of, Headhunters is a wildly entertaining action-thriller adapted from a novel by the bestselling author Jo Nesbø. Roger Brown is a corporate headhunter with a side business in art theft, which he uses to find the lavish lifestyle that keeps his beautiful blond wife at his side. Roger has classic small man syndrome, overcompensating with an arrogance that makes him quite repulsive.
Everything takes a horrible turn for the worst when one of his marks turns out to be much smarter than Roger gave him credit for, and the two men embark on a classic game of cat-and-mouse, spilling blood all over snow-drenched rural Norway.
Dumb or smart? Like, so smart. Seriously. You have no chance of keeping ahead of the various ridiculous and amazing twists this movie has stored up its icy, demented Scandinavian sleeve. Prepare to be made to feel dumb by comparison.
6. 'Kick Ass' (2010)
In a nutshell: Just like Kingsman parodies the spy genre, Matthew Vaughn's Kick Ass is a brilliant superhero send-up in which an ordinary teenager discovers that becoming a vigilante isn't as easy as just stitching a costume together and hitting the streets. There has to be at least some talent there. The chemistry between leads Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloë Grace Moretz is what really brings Kick Ass to life.
Dumb or smart? Definitely at the smarter end of the spectrum. That's not to say Kick Ass doesn't have its dumb pleasures, but the writing is pretty sharp and these characters feel about as real as anybody dressed up in a green and yellow ninja balaclava or a purple bob wig can.
7. 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' (2014)
In a nutshell: A British chav named Eggsy (seriously) is recruited to join a top-secret spy agency, the Kingsman, transforming himself from a petty East London criminal to an international secret agent who must out-smart the billionaire media mogul Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), who wants to use SIM cards as a form of mind control. The story is insane and doesn't make much sense, but that's the fun of Kingsman.
Dumb or smart? Very smart indeed, actually. Kingsman manages to slyly satirize, pay homage to and subvert a whole bunch of spy genre tropes while also existing as a genuinely great action flick, proving once again that Matthew Vaughn is a truly brilliant director. Sequel The Golden Circle could be even better.
8. 'Men In Black' (1997)
In a nutshell: Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are the godfathers of bromance in this sci-fi/action-comedy mash-up which, looking back, feels very '90s. That's not a criticism. Their secret agents are charged with making sure the public never finds out about the existence of extra-terrestrial life forms, and a perpetual scene-stealer is Frank the Pug, an alien informant disguised as a dog. Yep, it's that kinda movie.
Dumb or smart? Well, you're unlikely to learn anything from watching Men In Black, but it will at least act as a reminder that Will Smith was one of the funniest lead men in Hollywood, back in the day.
9. 'Pineapple Express' (2008)
In a nutshell: Court clerk Dale (Seth Rogen) witnesses a murder, and in his panic leaves a rare strain of weed known as Pineapple Express at the scene of the crime. Obviously, a bent cop and a drug lord then go out of their way to find and kill Dale and his dealer, Saul (James Franco).
Dumb or smart? Look, it's a Seth Rogen movie. Like Superbad and This Is The End, the rules are simple here — get skyward, turn your brain off, and succumb to the lure of the stoner comedy. There's a sequel too. It's exactly what you'd expect.
10. 'Spy' (2015)
In a nutshell: Bridesmaids director Paul Feig reunites with Melissa McCarthy, whose CIA desk agent Susan Cooper finds herself thrust into the field after her boss, Jude Law, is killed on a mission. Looking for revenge, Susan comes up against a hilarious Russian gangster princess (Rose Byrne, killing it), and while the idiots around her doubts her abilities, she proves herself a pretty formidable Jane Bond.
Dumb or smart? Very smart, and also way more progressive than the trailer might suggest. Spy works as pure entertainment, but it also packs a great message about how stupidly quick we are to write off women. And if you haven't appropriated the phrase "Guys, there's a mouse onto my tits!" into your everyday lexicon, you simply haven't lived.
What's the best action-comedy movie you've seen from this list, and which others would you recommend?