RA: Lethal Weapon (DC)

Rating: 3 on 4 / Buy the DVD here

Tag Line: If these two can learn to stand each other... the bad guys don't stand a chance.

Directed by Richard Donner
Starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, and Gary Busey

THE PLAN A homicidal cop and a veteran detective are forced to become partners to crack a heroin smuggling operation run by ex-military operatives who also take pleasure in killing off hookers.

THE KILL: It's that time of year again--the holidays. A time for egg nog, mistletoe, Santa Claus, and the annual Christmas movie. Some go for A CHRISTMAS STORY or even BLACK CHRISTMAS, but for me, there's nothing like a classic action flick to get me in the holiday spirit. DIE HARD is one of my favorites, as is the 1987 Richard Donner buddy-cop classic LETHAL WEAPON, back when Mel Gibson was the shiznit and Danny Glover had a career.

Written by Shane Black, the guardian of the 80s action movie, LETHAL WEAPON introduced us to the highly psychotic and totally crazy Martin Riggs (Gibson) and his aging partner Roger Murtough (Glover). On the surface, LW isn't a hardcore action flick, as the tone is light and comedic and the duo's relationship is at the core of the movie, but if you really think about the shit that goes down and the action sequences that are carried out, you'll realize that LW isn't for kids!

So why is this a Christmas movie, you ask? Well, the film’s opening credits are carried out to "Jingle Bell Rock," there's an action sequence featuring Riggs taking out four drug dealers in the middle of a Christmas tree lot, and Michael Hunsaker (Tom Atkins) gets shot through the chest while drinking a carton of egg nog. If that doesn't spell Christmas, I don't know what does!

When not shooting people, these two sell men's jackets door to door.

More importantly, why is LW apart of the Reel Action Hall of Fame? Because it showcases the now clichéd black cop / white cop love / hate partnership, because the action is relentless and the body count hits a high of 26, because the film opens up with a half-naked chick taking a swan dive onto a parked car, because it features a super badass Gary "Substance-A" Busey as the ruthless Mr. Joshua kickin' the shit out of Gibson’s Riggs, because it shows that just because you’re a cop you don’t have to give a f*ck, and because the film features Riggs shooting his handgun while rolling on the ground. It doesn’t get any more classic than that!

Thanks to DVD, you can now check out the film the way it was meant to be seen 20 years ago in the Director’s Cut, which features a couple of alternative takes and a few extra scenes, each on somewhat noteworthy, although not necessarily noticeable. That is, except for the scene when Riggs single handedly takes out a sniper at an elementary school! If the original would have included this, there’d be no question to Rigg’s sanity, no question about Rigg’s marksmanship, and no question that yes, Riggs is in fact one crazy ass motherf*cker with nothing to lose. It’s a great scene, as not only do you get to see what Riggs does best before getting to know him, but you get to see one of the more satisfying death scenes in the entire movie. Good shit!

Gary Busey, before the drugs and alcohol set it.

Other elements that make LW a worthy action film include Riggs’ rockin’ mullet, a mullet we would see on the big screen through two more sequels until the guy finally realized the ‘do was out of style, the appearance of Al Leong (DIE HARD, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, ACTION JACKSON, DEATH WARRANT, and RAPID FIRE just to name a few) as Endo the torturer, and that police sanctioned fights in the middle of suburbia are totally O.K. as long there’s enough cops around to stop if it gets out of hand.

When it comes down to it, LW is pure grade A entertainment. It has snappy dialog, exciting action sequences, lots of explosions and gunfire, interesting characters, and a dead-on relationship of two maverick detectives that managed to spawn three sequels. The Director’s Cut manages to add to Riggs’ badass persona, proving that the dude really was a lethal weapon. So instead of watching the cheery adventures of Charlie Brown or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, check out the crazy antics of Riggs and Murtough in LETHAL WEAPON this holiday season because nothings says yuletide cheer like the chorus of gunfire and explosions.

The trailer for LETHAL WEAPON

TOP DEATH: When Riggs plugs an assassin at an elementary school, the feeling of euphoria that hits when the bad guy gets killed is at its absolute highest. Yes, lots of people die in this movie, but none that felt as good as this.

TOP ACTION SCENE: Riggs escapes from being electrocuted, frees Murtough and Reanne, blows away a few baddies in a night club, and engages in a car / (bare)foot chase with Mr. Joshua. The body count rises exponentially in this sequence!

TOP HOMOEROTIC MOMENT: Normally seeing a dude's bare naked ass in the first moment we meet him would be the obvious choice, but since Riggs is also smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer at the same time (first thing in the morning, no less), he somehow manages to make it quite manly. What does make the list, however, is the final head-between-the-thighs move Riggs pulls on Mr. Joshua. This was just a thin layer of pants away from being hardcore porn!

And thus started the Staring Contest Championships of 1987.

FEMALE EXPLOITATION: Besides the first shot of the movie featuring a topless coked-out hooker diving off a high-rise apartment building? Nothing.

Murtough: I’m too old for this shit.

DRINKING GAME: Every time Riggs’ feathered mullet flaps in the wind, you gotta drink!

If you blink really fast, you can make his mullet flap just by looking at this picture.

TRIVIA: Before Richard Donner accepted, Leonard Nimoy was the leading choice to direct LETHAL WEAPON. Can you imagine if Spock was at the helm... yikes!

Riggs vs the elementary school sniper. It's a wonder this scene was deleted at all.
Source: AITH



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