Lethal Weapon (1987)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Getting too old.

A trend on Twitter yesterday was “#ConfessYourUnpopularOpinion”. I was trying to think of something to add, but I didn’t know how to put it in words, let alone 140 characters. There is an opinion that I have that isn’t shared by many, and I’ve mentioned it a few times in my reviews…it’s half of what I stand for: appealing to a modern audience. My “unpopular opinion” is not liking generally loved movies because they don’t translate well for a modern audience. Can I respect them for certain elements? Oh absolutely, but there’s been a lot of time in between that turns what was initially great about the film against it if it were released nowadays – a major issue for me. Lethal Weapon is a film that is recognized as one of the best buddy cop films of all time. I disagree, I actually prefer an episode of Psych. Before you start getting angry at me, let me first defend myself.

Ok, so as you know, this film stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as two officers in the homicide division that are assigned to work together on a certain case. The first film dealt with this chick who commits suicide by jumping off a building…but as it turns out, she was going to be murdered anway, because she was poisoned moments before her suicide, which technically comes out to a murder. This murder has ties to Special Forces and drug smuggling by some really tough guys including Mr. Joshua, played by Garey Busey, a man who is apparently impervious to pain. However, the duo shouldn’t have to worry about anything, because Gibson’s character is crazy, knows martial arts, and is a good shot – making him a lethal weapon. Will it be enough, though? FIND OUT IN LETHAL WEAPON!

I want to first point out that I do respect the movie. I won’t go into the review spouting out hate right away, because that’s not how I operate. There were good elements to this film. The main one being the characters of Riggs and Murtaugh. Murtaugh with his constant reminders of his increasing age and Riggs with his psychotic and suicidal mindset that kind of makes him fearless in a sense. There’s something really unique about Mel Gibson’s character that makes him loveable and sets him apart from other buddy cop movies…but everything else feels like your typical buddy cop scenario.

Let me be clear, it may very well be the film that redefined the buddy cop theme in film, and there might have been nothing like it when it first came out. I’m not even trying to deny that. But guess what, there have been other films since that have done the same exact thing… making this less special. Again, I review for a modern audience, one that has seen the more modern and updated version of what this offers, making this outdated and yes, dare I say it, boring. Other films can’t offer Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, sure, but that doesn’t mean they can’t offer something just as great.

Heck, I’m always huge on chemistry in film. Mel and Danny definitely have good chemistry, but I won’t lie, I’ve seen better. I think a major problem I had with the movie was feeling drowned in ‘80s cheese. You know, lots of classy jazz music that sounds like baby-making music and Mel Gibson’s sporty mullet…it’s a little distracting for me. Talking of distractions, I found myself easily distracted while watching the film because the plot wasn’t very engaging for me. There wasn’t anything wrong with it technically, but it felt a little procedural to me…you know…something you’d see on a crime show on CBS every week, but stretched out to movie length. I liked the idea of a suicide that’s really a murder…but I didn’t like the direction they took.

For me, the best part of the film, if I could pick one, would be Mel Gibson. His character seems to have the most promise for future films. I have seen the entire series before, but its been so long that I don’t even remember any of them except for the last one because of Jet Li. That ought to be interesting once I get around to watching that one.

The Good:
Lethal Weapon
has still made a name for itself, and I highly respect it for that. Even though I don’t think it matches a modern audience’s expectations and even though I think it’s boring, people who haven’t seen it will still probably be interested in the film clearly out of curiousity. It’s a popular series that went on for four films and is practically a household name…that’s a good reason just to watch it.

The Bad:
Like I said, really procedural. It feels like a simple episode of maybe CSI or Law & Order with a plot that is a lot less engaging than need be. If you’ve never seen this series but have seen plenty of buddy cop series since, this film may feel boring to you. I thought it was.

Memorable Quote:

Roger Murtaugh: Have you ever met anybody you didn’t kill?

Martin Riggs: Well, I haven’t killed you yet.

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