Lethal Weapon Reviews
Lethal Weapon is a nearly perfectly structured action movie. The acting, the story, the script, the directing, even the IDEA of the movie all combine to make up a fascinating and thrill-packed police film.
The cross-cutting at the beginning of the film was particularly effective, in my opinion, as Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) are introduced. The startling difference between their separate lives provides for tons of fun to be had later in the movie. Roger starts his day off as the family man reluctantly celebrating his 50th birthday party with his numerous children and his loving wife in the big family house, while Riggs is shown waking up naked in his trashy trailer and beginning his day with a healthy breakfast of a cigarette and a beer.
The fact that both Roger and Riggs hated that they had to work together was especially effective in creating a touching atmosphere as they grew to be closer and closer friends. They worked so well together in this movie; it was a symbiotic relationship. It was almost like they fed off of each other, and kept each other in line and out of trouble. I also liked the way that they showed that Riggs was deeply angered when he learned that the bad guys had taken Murtaugh's daughter. Things like this, when done right, can really get you to sit up and really get into the movie, and it was definitely done right here. Riggs was also very amusing in his anxiousness about being a cop (`Why don't you let me go to sleep?' `No, come on, we gotta get up and catch bad guys!'), and Gary Busey delivers an excellent performance as the lead bad guy. This is the type of role that he plays best (see "Under Siege").
Although the violence was painfully present in some parts (the torture scenes were short but extremely difficult to watch), the film never relied on violence to pull it along or keep the audience's attention. The story was sufficient enough so that there was no overindulgence necessary in anything like that. In this film you see the first of the now traditional Lethal Weapon scenes in which Riggs and Murtaugh stagger away from a smoking crime scene, seeming to hold each other up. The final fight scene between Riggs and Mr. Joshua (Busey) was a little excessive, and there were a few scenes which were a bit faulty (how did the guy on the building ledge expect to kill himself when there was such a huge air bag inflated on the ground directly below him?), but overall this was a spectacular crime thriller. The movie rushes along at a feverish pace, and particularly Gibson's and Glover's success working together on screen make this a timeless action film that is not to be missed.
When we see we have to lift spirits high to lift others we see low. When we see we have experts to see closer to give us a report. When we don't see somethings that we could see as one of us to learn the hard way. When we see we have a good reputation, with serious weaponry, to see that some people are loose cannons waiting to blow.Â When what we see we know it's serious business thst others see and others wish they don't see to get out. When we see some people are good, honest and can see good when their aim is the best. When others want us to see some evidence when we are on the right direction. When we see our shots are better thst others show us otherwise. When others want us to see to go to the direction that is sabotaged for us.
When we can't get enough of things bad for us, that we can't get enough of the feeling of being high and soaring all the time. When we can't have enough good mornings of being over joyed celebrated and good company and food. When We had enough of bad mornings. When others cant get enough of bad things We can't get enough busts and takedowns. When we can't get enough of some people it makes us crazy knowing they have the upper hand on us it makes us hysterical with power and rage. When we can't get enough of living without those not around anymore that we wish they were there with us. When we can't get enough coming home alive after every takedown we do. When we can't get enough living we are close to ending it all.
When we can't get enough high hopes to add to more. When we can't get enough experts to handle the case. When we can't get enough of the excitement and danger that we learn the hard way. When we can't get enough of what we are good at, we are honestly good. When we haven't had enough but had too many to know we are lose cannons waiting to pop. When we can't get enough pain, good help, in somethings but for others it's too heavy to bare that we wish help was there for us. When we can't get enough living on the edge that jumping off the ledge comes natural to us when we are crazy. When we can't get enough of work that we continue for it is the only thing that keeps us alive, when death comes natural to us. When we had enough deaths when they are prime suspects we wish to question. When we can't have enough backup to save our ass. When we can't get enough of some people, when they are good partners welcome in our home. When we can't get enough of somethings when we are having a good time and harmless compared to other substances. When we can't get enough good shots when we are one of the best. When we can't get enough of somethings when it's healthy competition. When we had enough of us to sabotage what trail we are on. When we had enough kids to know we can't keep up with them all but only one that gives us a tip. When we can't get enough evidence when it leads to our own people and those higher up to know we are in over our head. When we haven't had enough danger and excitement to have it blown in our face but not stopping us. When we had enough of some people to keep trying again till they had enough and quit. When others can't get enough of our family to use them as leverage. When we can't get enough of our own to see they don't escape our grips when they are the best at what they do and we need them. When we can't get enough of pain when it's helping the enemy with what we know. When somethings we are sick off we shake off when we had enough of them on us. When we had enough of some people to blow them away when they come our direction. When we all had enough of each other to be the first one to shoot each other first but first settle things like men the old fashioned way. When we had enough of death to let the law settle it. When we had enough of somethings when we have our whole life to look forward too. When we can't get enough of some people that we partner up with them when every screw job just needs their screws tighten.
When we have some people who can't have enough, and others whom are lethal weapons that can see, we naturally partner up with those whom bring the trigger happy gun men addicts their targets.
Variety wrote, "Lethal Weapon is a film teetering on the brink of absurdity when it gets serious, but thanks to its unrelenting energy and insistent drive, it never quite falls." Richard Schickel of Time called it "Mad Max meets The Cosby Show", saying that it works better than expected. Richard Harrington of The Washington Post described it as "a vivid, visceral reminder of just how exciting an action film can be". At The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, "The film is all fast action, noisy stunts and huge, often unflattering close-ups, but it packs an undeniable wallop." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four out of four stars, saying Donner "tops himself".
"Lethal Weapon" is one of those classic buddy buddy cop movies we have seen in so many versions I can´t even count them, but in this case everything falls in place and works really well due to solid direction from Richard Donner and great cinematography from Stephen Goldblatt, excellent casting of Glover and Gibson (plus the great chemistry between them), Gary Busey´s bad guy Mr. Joshua and an intense and good action script even it´s not that much new under the sun if you dissect it. There´s plenty of great scenes between Gibson and Glover and having finally watched the "Director´s Cut" version I reckon the added scenes are of value to the film in my opinion to get more flesh on the bone concerning Riggs state of mind. The action and violence is up and close, but I reckon it fits the film and structure. The dialogue has several gems as well and you can´t help but love how intense Gibson are in certain scenes. "Lethal Weapon" is a great action flick that stands the test of time. It still holds up in 2016.
Trivia: An alternate opening and ending were both filmed (and are available on the Lethal Weapon 4 (1998) DVD). The alternate opening featured Martin Riggs drinking alone in a bar where he is accosted by a couple of thugs who want his money. Riggs claims all of his is in the bank and tells the thugs "not to fuck with him." The thugs attack him, but Riggs easily subdues them. He is then allowed to take a free bottle of booze from the bar in exchange for never returning. Director Richard Donner felt the movie should open with a brighter look at Riggs and filmed the scene with Riggs awakening in his trailer to replace it. The alternate ending featured Riggs and Murtaugh saying good-bye to one another. Murtaugh tells Riggs he's thinking of retiring, but Riggs tells him not to.
In addition to the film's theatrical release, an extended Director's Cut version was released later on DVD. The Director's Cut version is longer (117 minutes) than the original theatrical release version (110 minutes), and features additional scenes. One extended scene depicts Riggs dispatching a sniper who had been firing at children in a playground. In another scene, Riggs picks up a street-walking prostitute, but instead of having sex with her, he takes her home to watch The Three Stooges on TV, thus illustrating his loneliness following the death of his wife.
Legendary stuntman Dar Robinson was killed in a motorcycle accident shortly after principal photography was finished. Director Richard Donner dedicated the film to him.
Shane Black's first draft of Lethal Weapon (1987) which he wrote sometime in 1985 was very different, not just from his later drafts but also from the final movie. This first draft was 141 pages long and it was much darker, it had alternate plot parts, character scenes, action sequences and many other differences, like entire ending which had big chase scene including helicopters and a trailer truck full of cocaine which explodes over Hollywood Hills causing for cocaine to start snowing over Hollywood sign. Riggs was also much different character in this first draft than he is in the movie. Black at first thought that this draft (which was one of his first scripts) sucks so he threw it in the garbage but later changed his mind and re-worked it into the new drafts. For the longest time, Black was the only one who had copy of his first draft until he sold it on auction. This draft still remains some of his most wanted work amongst fans.
The fight scene between Riggs and Joshua in the ending was originally four minutes longer, but was cut down for pacing. This explains some continuity mistakes in the final version of the scene.
If, somehow, none of that interests you; Shane Black's script is a masterpiece, and the action is spectacular.