Lethal Weapon: Revisiting the Buddy Cop Christmas Classic

As far as Christmas action movies go, most would say John McTiernan’s Die Hard takes the crown as the greatest of all time. However, another action classic that hit theaters a year before, Lethal Weapon, is also set around the holiday. Written by a young Shane Black (using the Christmas setting that would become his trademark), this wound up being perhaps the most influential action movie of all time, maybe even more so than Die Hard (although that’s debatable). While not the first buddy cop movie (older films like Freebie and the Bean and Best Movie You Never Saw fave Running Scared are also part of the genre), it set the tone for many films to follow. There was something so perfect about the pairing of Mel Gibson’s crazed Martin Riggs and Danny Glover’s family man Roger Murtagh, along with Richard Donner’s ace direction. The three men loved each other, and that genuine affection comes across on-screen and off, with Glover and the late Donner always loyal to Gibson even as he became more controversial as time went on.

In this episode of Revisited, we look back at Lethal Weapon to see how the Gibson/Glover pairing as Riggs and Murtagh wasn’t always a sure thing. We examine the fantastic supporting cast, which included a slick Gary Busey, soul singer Darlene Love, Tom Atkins, Mitchell Ryan, and more, helped make this a classic, albeit one that’s harder-edged than you may remember. This will be the first in our ongoing Lethal Weapon retrospective, which is written by Cody Hamman, edited by Juan Jimenez, and narrated by Travis Hopson. Chris Bumbray and Adam Walton produce.

Let us know if you watched Lethal Weapon over the holidays, and keep an eye out for Lethal Weapon 2 Revisited soon! Plus – check out our exclusive Mel Gibson interview from a few months back!

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.