* Prices may differ from that shown
Lethal Weapon (1987)
"Lethal Weapon" is a 1987 action film which was directed by Richard Donner, who has also directed such films as "Superman" (1978), "The Goonies" (1985), and "Conspiracy Theory" (1997).
Warning: Spoilers will likely be given during this review.
The film is 110 minutes in length and stars Mel Gibson ("Braveheart", "Maverick", "Mad Max") as Martin Riggs, Danny Glover ("Saw", "Gone Fishin'", "Predator 2") as Roger Murtaugh, and Gary Busey ("Point Break", "Under Siege", "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas") as Joshua.
The plot for the film reads as follows: A veteran cop, Murtaugh, is partnered with a young suicidal cop, Riggs. Both having one thing in common; hating working in pairs. Now they must learn to work with one another to stop a gang of drug smugglers.
There once was a time when Mel Gibson towed the line and wasn't involved in homophobia, racism, anti-Semitic rows, and that time was when he was starring in action film after action film, all of which were successful. When "Lethal Weapon" came about, it was just at the right time as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Jean-Claude Van Damme were all very busy in Hollywood. Gibson remained the outsider knocking on the door but he would eventually branch out into other genres, while the above three actors were largely typecast. Legend has it that Willis was considered for the role of Riggs, but it was always going to be Gibson. Also of note, Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy, was offered the chance to direct but turned it down.
The film begins with the opening credits and Bobby Helms' popular version of "Jingle Bell Rock" playing over them. We are then treated to a fly-by of nighttime Los Angeles, before the camera focuses in on a semi-naked Amanda Hunsaker (Jackie Swanson) lying on a bed in a penthouse apartment suite. She takes a line of cocaine before stumbling to the open balcony doors and the guard rail. She climbs on the rail with one bare foot and another in a hell (though I have no idea how she does this) and calmly dives over the edge to her death before landing, very heavily, onto a parked car.
The first time we see Riggs and Murtaugh in the film, they are both naked as well - there is an obvious ongoing theme here, right from the onset! Murtaugh is taking a bath at home when his wife and kids burst in with a birthday cake, while Riggs has just been led in bed smoking a cigarette and gets up to use the can but not before taking a detour to the fridge for a beer. It is pretty obvious that the both of them lead completely different lives - Murtaugh is a homely man who loves his family and Riggs is a chain-smoking alcoholic who has fallen on bad times, due to the recent death of his wife.
They had not always been partners, and I guess over the course of the film we get to see them bond a little and begin to like one another. They did not have that togetherness when they first met, however, and there was a genuine dislike between the pair. Murtaugh did not want to work with Riggs because he saw him as a loose cannon, and Riggs just didn't want to work with anyone. But as said, the bonding is a nice touch to what is a film with a good dose of violence in it.
One of my favourite scenes in the film comes early on when we get a taste of how extreme Riggs really is. There is a guy on the rooftop ledge of a tall building threatening to jump and Riggs goes up there with the apparent intention of talking him down. He does eventually bring the man down off the ledge, but not in the most conventional of ways and at the end of it, the suicidal man is begging the cops to help him get away from Riggs. I have never been a huge fan of the action comedy, but it clearly works here.
I also enjoyed a scene which was not unlike one from "Dad's Army", where a German U-boat captain says to Private Pike, "Your name will also go on the list. What is it?" And Mainwaring says "Don't tell him, Pike." Digressing for a minute here, but I never really got into that show. Most people loved it, but it just did not float my boat. Anyway, Murtaugh is talking to four boys when he asks one of them what his name is. Another boy tells him not to say anything or they'll throw him in jail, while another of his friends says, "Don't tell him your name, Alfred." Sure, it's been done before, but it seems funnier with kids.
The score throughout the film is big, bold and adventurous - just as you would expect with a 1980s action film. It is moody and dark and it is also thrilling and enlightening, and the composer has chosen his pieces wisely. I have never been a fan of overdoing the background score like some films do, and what Michael Kamen has done here with the help of Eric Clapton and David Sanborn is thought about what he needs for a particular scene, and has placed them all in as they should be. Kamen is no stranger to big action films of the 1980s and scored the music for such films as "Die Hard", "Licence to Kill" and "Highlander" amongst, others.
Mel Gibson plays the part of Martin Riggs quite well, and he had had prior experience at playing a psychotic individual in the "Mad Max" series in 1979, 1981 and 1985 respectively, before this role came along. There is a noticeable hint of an Australian accent in the delivery of his lines, though it has to be said that, contrary to belief, he was born in America. There are many films that have good cop / bad cop, and you could say that this is one of those, but the roles are slightly different in that Riggs is the off-the-wall type of cop who gets the job done, while his partner, Murtaugh, would be content to amble along at his own pace.
Sometimes I wonder if Danny Glover is acting or if it is his own persona coming out when he's playing these roles. He seems to play the part of Roger Murtaugh effortlessly, whereas some actors would have to work hard at it in order to put across the character.
Gary Busey always gets lumbered with the bad guy roles, I find. Or is that Nick Nolte? Anyway, they both look very alike and it's sometimes difficult to tell them apart, as far as I'm concerned. I did think he hammed it up a little and over-acted in a few scenes, but that was the way action films were back then when producers looked for those high-octane scenes which got the audience's adrenaline pumping.
"Lethal Weapon" was a good film when it came out and, fortunately, it still holds its own weight 25+ years on. The longevity of action films is limited but the Mel Gibson factor said a lot back then, regardless of how much off the handle he's flown since. It spawned three successive and equally popular sequels, and word from Hollywood was that a fifth film was due to be made before Gibson pulled the plug. The film has a great plot and some brilliant interaction between Gibson and Glover which could only be bettered had Joe Pesci's character from 2-4 of Leo Getz been in it. You get what you pay for, as the old saying goes, and you'll definitely be getting your money's worth with "Lethal Weapon".
What the Critics Say
Chicago Sun-Times: "In a movie with the energy of this one, we're exhilarated by the sheer freedom of movement; the violence becomes surrealistic and less important than the movie's underlying energy level."
TV Guide: "Gibson is truly frightening as the cop about to go into orbit, and Glover is a standout as the down-to-earth lawman with very much to lose."
Empire: "The pace never slows, the jokes never miss and the stunts never disappoint in this macho-dream of an actioner."
Variety: "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."
Chicago Reader: "Unfortunately, director Richard Donner doesn't pay much attention to text, subtext, or anything else; his 1986 film is empty glitz in search of a style, with arbitrary action substituting for ordinary narrative coherence."
My rating: 8/10
"Lethal Weapon" is a 1987 American Buddy cop movie and first in the Lethal Weapon movie franchise, directed by Richard Donner and starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Gary Busey.
LA Narcotics Detective Martin Riggs ( Mel Gibson ) is desperately close to the edge, he is suicidal following the recent death of his wife in a traffic accident and is considered by his colleagues to be a loose cannon and dangerous to himself and others.
Meanwhile Homicide Sergeant Roger Murtagh ( Danny Glover ) is edging closer to retirement and beginning to feel his age, he is contacted by an old vietnam buddy, Michael Hunsaker ( Tom Akins ) but before he gets chance to meet with him, Roger is called out to an apparant suicide, made worse when he discovers the victim is Hunsaker's daughter Amanda.
Soon enough Riggs is partnered with Murtaugh and initially there is a dislike between the two, with Murtaugh believing Riggs is going to get him killed, they very soon find themselves embroiled in an internation criminal conspiracy involving Murtaughs newly rediscovered friend and a mysterious gentleman by the name of "Mr Joshua" ( Gary Busey ) and must work closely together.
For me, there is no other perfect example of the "Buddy Cop" Genre than Lethal Weapon, its the perfect formula and honestly is the benchmark for all other movies to be measured against, I believe its biggest key to success was the incredible chemistry between Danny Glover and Mel Gibson, along with the excellent direction of Richard Donner and a great supporting cast.
Gibson is perfect as the well meaning, but close to the edge Riggs and this is really the movie that launched his career into the atmosphere ( its funny when you listen to him in this movie as he still has quite a strong Australian accent in places ), meanwhile Danny Glover also cemented his career as the likeable but put upon Roger Murtaugh, also worth noting is the now clinically insane Gary Busey, who at this time played an excellent psychopathic Mr Joshua very well indeed.
The overall movie has aged extremely well and I would stand it up today against anything in the same genre of the last 25 years, its still riveting and well shot and if you're looking for some classic action and a little light hearted comedy then this is the movie for you.
Sometimes an incident occurs that re-writes the genre of film for the greater good, Lethal Weapon is definitely one of those incidents as the whole action adventure premise is turned upside down by the fact that something great in terms of cinema has happened, by this I mean the pairing of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover with a story that fully justifies an 18 certificate in order to get that story told.
The plot of the film evolves as the film proceeds; set within the Christmas period Officer Martin Riggs of the LAPD is a cop on the edge, hurting due to the recent death of his wife who was tragically killed in a car accident. He is a total loner who is happy to put his life in his hands with regards to getting the job done incase he is able to take a bullet... bottom line he has a death wish! Riggs gets partnered with an experienced cop named Roger Murtough, a family man who plays by the book and is an old fashioned type Policeman who uses a six shooter, unconventional by Rigg's standards. In fact upon their first meeting the two officers don't actually like each other at all, and it isn't until after they have been on a number of calls together, one where Riggs has deals with a suicidal jumper by means of jumping off the top of the eight floor building with him, that s friendship is started. With the two cops on relative good speaking terms, Murtough gets a call from an old friend who needs help as his daughter had recently been murdered and he wants revenge on the people that killed her. When the friend is shot by a high calibre rifle from a helicopter the two cops know that they are in deep and are now part of the conspiracy.
The actors in the film fill their roles very well. Mel Gibson who recently took a complete nose dive with his personal life looks younger and much fitter in the film with a mullet that reflected the times and the emotions that his character of Martin Riggs was going through. He acts his socks off in the early part of the film and easily shows that the character is on the edge with his behaviour and attitude that he projects to the audience. With him as the suffering partner is Danny Glover playing Roger Murtough, a tall respectable man that is very much the family man and happy to show them off at every opportunity, and as the story grows has his family become a lot more involved than expected. Glover's character is the complete opposite of Riggs in every way possible, and yet the concern shown by Murtough towards Riggs is genuine as by the end of the film the "out of the comfort zone" experience they both have to endure brings their working relationship closer than at the start of the film.
Other actors appearing in the film are a very blonde Gary Busey, and Mitchell Ryan who appears to have been in most franchises. I liked the parts these two actors play as they add a lot of depth and darkness to the roles. It's obvious as to whom they are and what they do as the beginning of the film confirms this, yet you are never quite sure of how they are linked to the story. With Murtough's family being a central point of the film as well this adds a new twist on proceedings as they are the bait rather than a pawn. There is a climatic ending to the story and it is a tense and very atmospheric scene in which it takes place, however its not a letdown and successfully avoids the anti-climax that it could easily have been, which I think is full credit to Writer Shane Black and Director Richard Donner who have both managed to increase the tension and control it till it explodes at the right time without letting off steam too early.
One scene that does stand out is Riggs at the lowest point emotionally in the film attempting to take his own life, he has a special bullet with a hollowed out tip that when fired will make sure it does the job. The scenes of Riggs moving a hand pistol from the side of his head to under his chin and finally placing the barrel in his mouth is truly disturbing to watch given the fact that the Director has opted for close up shots. This is an immensely powerful scene and a turning point for the character overall, when Murtough is aware of this his attitude changes and the friendship is sparked. For a film that was released over twenty years ago, the film doesn't go into the "fantasy" territory and rely on outcomes by luck, all instances are explained and the plot holes are kept to a minimum, Riggs being able to use a high calibre rifle in the way he does is explained with his past as a soldier in Vietnam and you can see the satisfaction he gets from using the hardware for the purpose it was designed. In one scene where Gibson undergoes a torture exercise you do feel the pain that he goes through, the anger and the determination with the sheer brutality that he simply produces to deter his torturers. The same is with Murtough as well, his background is fleshed out and as you may expect is different from Riggs, but I think that is the key to the whole film as the two men show the levels of friendship that has the beginnings of the on-screen chemistry that easily comes across to the viewer. In the early parts of the film, Riggs has to earn the respect of his new partbner and shows his skill on the gun range as to how much of a crack shot he actually is, a small piece of well needed comic relief is inserted here as this breaks up the film nicely and acts as a conduit to the next act.
Although there are a number of action sequences in the latter part of the film, none are over the top and remain grounded, various gunfights on a rainy location in Los Angeles manage to give the film an ambiance and project a perception that it's not always sunny in the city of Angels and manages to give a far grimier and dirty perspective of the story rather than a place where the sun never sets. Some scenes including various executions of people whether good or bad are depicted in gory detail, okay it does tend to set the precedence yet the method of showing the whole thing can be considered controversial by some. However for the most part of the film it doesn't detract from the story at all and you do see Riggs and Murtough in the thick of it, especially as Riggs has to rely on all his military training. This is the story of how the team that we see on screen is born and although the latter sequels such as Lethal Weapon 3 and 4 would considerably lighten up the story and take the dark aspect away instead playing much more of a comedic stance to reflect the times of when the film was relased, this plays the story as I think the following films should also have been as well. The screen time is evenly split and both main leads have loads to do on-screen even when they are not together and throughout is something that is balanced very well.
Other than the film I did enjoy the quality of the transfer to Blu-Ray, the crispness and the colour tone make a film that was made in 1987 look very fresh and clean, in fact it looks like there has been some restoration taking place as well as there are no flecks on the picture at all and looks exceedingly good, a film that shows the capabilities of the media itself. No extras at all! Not even a trailer; in fact the DVD is simply a bare bones version that just contains the film. I wasn't very impressed by this at all seeing as Warner Brothers have released a Lethal Weapon Blu-Ray box set. This contains all four films and an additional fifth disk full of extras detailing the genesis of the series. Kerching! Please note that this is not the Directors Cut either as the footage with Riggs involved in a hostage situation at a school is not included, this is a shame really as an opportunity was missed.
The film has a resounding and emphatic soundtrack by Micheal Kamen, a little like Die Hard in terms of the orchestration and melodies, but gives the film and its characters its own feel and plays at the right volume at the right times to convey the message of what is happening in a scene.
Up until I watched this release of Lethal Weapon again, I hadn't seen the film in quite a while and watching it again was a good experience where you can just sit back and enjoy the mystery as it unfolds and seeing as I hadn't watched this in years I felt that I was watching it again for the first time as I had forgot a number of scenes even appearing in the film. As this is a superior film and something that builds the characters as the film evolves. I consider this to be the best out of the series, although the sequel does build further characterisation, I felt that the script and the way the characters are introduced give the original film in the series a more superior feel and thankfully less comedy than the sequels that followed.
Lord only knows why they are planning to do a reboot series of films with new actors playing the well known characters.
Lethal Weapon, even after all this time and all the other action films that have come out, is easily the best action film ever made. It's even better than Die Hard, which comes in at second in my opinion.
Lethal Weapon benefits from a pitch perfect screenplay, some superb direction from Action King Richard Donner (Superman) and one of the best double acts in Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. It also has great support from Gary Busey as henchman 'Mr Joshua', and Mitchell Ryan.
At the beginning of them film, a drug addicted girl called Amanda throws herself off a building. Aged LAPD Detective Roger Murtaugh, who is approaching a mid-life crisis is assigned to the case and discovers the Amanda is the daughter of an old Vietnam friend, and that Amanda was poisoned and would have been dead and murdered anyway. So Murtaugh sets out to find who is responsible.
Meanwhile, another LAPD officer called Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson in his best role) is involved in a drugs raid. He has lost his wife, and is going off the rails. So he gets transferred to homicide and is teamed up with Murtaugh.
Naturally, Murtaugh is worried about the transfer because he's aware of Riggs' reputation for being almost psychotic. And after Riggs' jumps off a building with a suicidal man, Murtaugh calls him a Lethal Weapon and begins to think he will end up dead.
Soon, they start to get on, and focus on the task of finding Amanda's killer. Soon though, they end up deeper than they could have imagine, and those who are responsible start to pick off police officers and then turn their attention to Murtaugh and Riggs, leading to a superb and action filled climax with a twist or two along the way.
This is the best action film ever made, and was a huge milestone. It was one of the first action films to actually have a decent plot, and made the most of surely the best buddy partnership between Riggs and Murtaugh. Before this, most action films relied heavily on action and had little plot. But Shane Black's outstanding script (which was sold within two weeks because it was that good) makes this so much more. On the face of it, it's all action. But dig deeper and there is a very relevant and dark drugs plot, mixed in with a few other smaller plots along the way.
The cast is faultless. Mel Gibson gives his finest performance as the psychotic and energectic Riggs, who spends his time simmering and occasionally exploding into life, whilst also showing his hurt at the loss of his wife and the want to kill himself. Danny Glover is also in his best role, and is the perfect opposite to Riggs. He is calm, collected and is family man who just wants to make it through the day to get home. Between them they are better than all the other buddy partnerships, and it's hard to choose who is better. Meanwhile, there is outstading support from Gary Busey, as the unstable ex army henchman who has little fear and will actually stand still while another man burns him.
The action is utterly superb. It's rarely over the top, and is believable and has a point to it. Its not just mindless action. There is always a reason for it, and it's always measured. Some of of it strong, and there are a few torture scenes that make you feel squeamish. But again, there is a reason and it's not just in the film because it can be.
Shane Black was the writer of this, and he is now one of the most prolific action writers of all time, and films such as Lethal Weapon 2, Last Action Hero, Long Kiss Goodnight and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang all have his name to them. He's a writer who has been able to mix action and a plot together almost effortlessly.
Overall, this is the finest action film of all time, with a faultless plot and outstanding cast.
Murtaugh (Glover) is an ageing cop who is not that far away from retirement. He is as straight as they come and always follows the rule book.
Riggs (Gibson) is younger and is a complete loose cannon, and a suicidal one too due to the loss of his wife in an accident. He has not concept of what rules are and will do what it takes to take on the criminals, putting himself and others at risk.
After being assigned to work together as partners these two cops clash at every turn and hate each others attitude, but after begininng work on a case close to Murtaugh, the two men begin to develop a trust and friendship like neither has ever had before.
Before long both men are left in a situation where they will have no choice but to trust each other with their lives and that of close family after uncovering a drugs ring that has links to past friends and very dangerous and deadly criminals.
This has to be one of the all time greatest cop partnership films ever! The was great, the action was great, the actors were and the chemistry that appeared between Glover and Gibson was like something that has been very difficult for anyone to ever re-create again. So much so that they went on to produce and further 3 sequels and even use their chemist for bit parts in other films, ie, in Maverick theres a bit where the two see each other and give looks or recognisation but no knowing why, very funny!
I love Gibsons' show of crazyness in this film and found him to be brilliant at portraying something that is really out there as far as suicidal and wacky are concerned. As this was reletively early in his big time blockbuster career, he shows us exactly why he has gone on to be so big!
Glover, well what can I say, if yo want to see Glover at his best, you have to watch in in the Leathal Weapon films, especially this one. His acting is superb and his way of bringing humour to such a serious character is brilliant. Although Glover has been appearing more and more these in big films, back then (1987) he was not quite a leading man A-lister, but his performance in this shows us that he really should have been!
All in all, although there have been many cop partnerships to come onto our screens, before and after, in my opinion none have ever been able to live up to what Glover and Gibson managed to achieve with Leathal Weapon. This is a true classic that went on to produce more of the same with each sequel!
I would recommend this to all as something definitely worth taking up space on your shelves!
At less than a fiver in most shops this is a must have. It runs for an easy 1 hour and 50 mins and is rated an 18.
Lethal Weapon is a crime movie starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. Written by Shane black and directed by Richard Donner the film see's two cops reluctantly become partners and take on a group of bad guys.
The film unlike many action films has heart and great characters. Mel gibson is fantastic as riggs and plays a broken man with symoathy but also his sucidal action creates some intresting action scenes. Glover is great also as his partner and allows riggs to almost become part of the family. The secondary characters are also well drawn out and you care for them throughout the film. Much of the comedy in the film comes from the pairing and there screen chemistry works very well.
Richard donner crafts some great moments from the characters and sets up a likeable team who are easy to follow in there exploits.
The story as a whole is rich and the action above average for a buddy cop movie. The Plot with Riggs recovering from the death of his wife is at times harrowing to watch as his character reguarly self distructs with his partner helping him allong the way to find peace.
The film is a great addition to the Dvd collection and stands up against the test of time
A great action classic
I'm going to level with you guys, Lethal Weapon is my favourite movie series and if this review turns out to be less of a review and more of utter appreciation then I apologise wholeheartedly.
Lethal Weapon has a fairly stock plot, on the basic level at least. Two hugely differing personalities meet and turns out they get on famously. You've probably encountered a similar storyline somewhere before I am certain but in this instance they both happen to be police Sargents who end up partners.
Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) is a suicidal wreck after the death of his wife. He's a unkempt smoker, trained in martial arts, is an impossibly good shot with a gun and a loose cannon, putting his own and his co workers lives at risk. Rodger Murtaugh is his alter-ego, a family man with wife, three kids and a fishing boat, more often than not one to err on the side of caution his catchphrase is 'I'm getting too old for this shit', read from that what you will.
The death of one of Murtaugh's friend's daughter brings the two together, realising that what they've stumbled upon is more than a simple suicide...
What I love about Lethal Weapon is it's humour alongside the action and the fact that the actors can actually act rather than just punch, kick and shoot they're way through an hour and a half. There are plenty of great lines along the way and Riggs' ongoing battle with his own depression is an interesting and sobering side plot.
I think in a way all of us would love to be jumping from one vehicle to another or run down the freeway after a villain wielding a machine gun and that's why we all love to watch. I suppose that's why people watch Traffic Cops, but you can never be too sure...
The end is great too, but I won't spoil it. It's a film I will watch over and over again whether for the wisecracks, the bad ass acting police duo, the humanity or the fantastic actions scenes. A true classic.
Some movies just don't seem to age at all, and despite Gibson's trademark 80's mullet Lethal Weapon is one of them. This is not your typical Schwarzenegger-esque blow-stuff-up-just-for-the-sake-of-it action movie, followed by a host of witty one liners (which I still love by the way); this is actually a respectably paced movie about two mismatched cops, whose irreconcilable personalities are interestingly developed throughout. The stunts aren't half bad either (definitely no CGI here).
Danny Glover is the safe, no nonsense cop, Roger Murtaugh, on the verge of retirement, who has a nice family and nice home to be proud of. On the contrary, Mel Gibson stars as Martin Riggs, a cop on the edge after the recent death of his wife, who no one wants to work with- he is the "lethal weapon", trained in martial arts and ais n expert in marksmanship.
The two pair together (much to the reluctance of Murtaugh) when they're asked to investigate what seems like the routine suicide of a high-class prostitute. Of course though, nothing stays routine for too long, when they find out that the prostitute is the daughter of Murtaugh's old buddy Michael Hunsacker, who is affiliated with a company of dodgy ex-CIA agents and mercenaries (one being Mr Joshua, played by the excellent Gary Busey). Things start getting messy when Hunsacker confesses his daughter was killed by the bad guys so he would keep quiet about their drug shipments, and shortly after this he is assassinated too.
The newly formed buddy partnership soon become a target when the bad guys sense that they're getting close: Riggs narrowly escapes a drive-by shooting, and Murtaugh's daughter is kidnapped. "We're gonna get bloody on this Rodge," states Riggs, and the audience realises that this is no laughing matter.
Perhaps the most distinctive contrast in Lethal Weapon- besides
the cheap trailer living, emotionally unstable Martin Riggs Vs. the safe, glamourous, family lifestyle of his buddy Murtaugh- is the sharp mix of Christmas laden with loneliness, tragedy, and violence. Much like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon's atmosphere is audacious and pulls no punches; the scene where Riggs is drunk in his trailer with a picture of his beloved wife, and contemplating suicide, gets me every time.
Fans of Lethal Weapon many be aware of The Director's Cut, which emphasises Riggs' role as the "loose cannon" even more so. However, I feel the additional scenes such as Riggs' walking directly in front of a sniper, and later inviting a hooker back to his trailer, purely to watch TV and keep him company, are not needed and attempt to ruin the near perfect pace of theatrical cut.
Despite being associated with three money spinning sequels, which have more of an emphasis upon humour, Lethal Weapon should be remembered for the sheer humanity of its lead characters, and the frenetic, adrenaline fuelled action pieces of this first instalment.
The first in the series of Lethal Weapon films, the series probably being the best cop buddy movies of all time. Starring Mel Gibson as ex special ops turned homocide detective Martin Riggs and Danny Glover as Roger Murtaugh a family man counting down to his retirement.
With a plot that includes Riggs faking his death, being hung from a ceiling and electrocuted and ending with an epic bare knuckle fight between Riggs and Mr Joshua (played by Gary Busey) the film is not lacking in action.
Mix that with the relationship between our leads which begins with Murtaugh reluctant to take Riggs on as a partner amid rumours of his deathwish and loose cannon ways, through the development of a genuinely touching friendship and culminating in Riggs presenting Murtaugh with the bullet he had saved to take his own life with.
This movie serves as a wonderful starting point for the franchise and an excellent stand alone film.
Lethal weapon is the 1987 action film, directed by Richard Donner. It is the first in a series of four lethal weapon films
The film starts by showing the apparent suicide of a young woman. After the death, we are introduced to Martin Riggs. A depressed police officer who is recovering from the recent loss of his wife. We are also introduced to officer Murtaugh. An accomplished police man who is thinking of retiring. These unsuspecting pair is partnered up, and almost immediately Riggs saves Murtaugh's life. Whilst investigating the death of the woman, they both uncover a Heroin smuggling operation. They must uncover it, whilst saving Murtaugh's daughter who has been kidnapped by the smugglers.
Mel Gibson- Martin Riggs
Danny Glover-Roger Murtaugh
Gary Busey- Mr.Joshua
Tom Atkins-Michael Hunsacker
A superb film that is part of a wonderful series. Mel Gibson acts extremely well, and the on screen partnership between Gibson and Glover is wonderful. The storyline may sound like the basic 'Drug smuggling' theme, where police must stop the operation, but it really does have something extra that separates it from other films of the same genre. The film contains some very good action, especially for its release era, and it contains some quite funny dry humour. The soundtrack was made by composer Michael Kamen, but include artists such as Eric Clapton.
DVD price: 5.00 (Director's cut) 17.99 (blu ray)
A wonderful film, great acting, great storyline and great action = a wonderfully enjoyable film.
Director Richard Donner and actor Mel Gibson have enjoyed a run of successful films together. Memorable films such as Maverick in 1994 and Conspiracy Theory in 1997 were successes, but perhaps the most successful and famous collaboration the two have worked on is the 1987 blockbuster Lethal Weapon, where Donner directed Gibson and Danny Glover as a mismatched pair of detectives on the trail of a gang of drugs smugglers. The film was hailed an immediate success, both critically and commercially.
Career police detective sergeant Roger Murtaugh is teamed up with loose cannon and recovering alcoholic Martin Riggs to investigate a murder. They uncover a large scale drugs smuggling ring and link the two crimes. Things take a personal turn when an attack on Riggs' life is made and Murtaugh's daughter is kidnapped. The pair must work together despite their differences to solve the crimes and save everyone.
The Cast and Performances
Mel Gibson is brilliant as loose cannon Riggs. His haphazard and cowboy approach to policing is completely in conflict with Danny Glover's portrayal of the strait-laced by the book cop Murtaugh. The combination of the two actors is perfect, and spawned a run of three successful sequels to boot. The two leads here are marvellous in their good cop bad cop portrayals. Also worthy of note is villain Mr Joshua, played viciously by Gary Busey. Busey has long been one of the best support actors and shows true form here. The remainder of the cast do well.
If you're looking for a pure unadulterated action film from the 80s, loook no further. Lethal Weapon has everything you need from a buddy movie, with high levels of comedy infiltrating the dangerous action thriller plotline. I found the film intense and enjoyable, with some clever action sequences considering the level of special effects available 20 years ago. It is considered the stepping stone for buddy cop movies such as Rush Hour and Bad Boys, and remains one of the best action films in my view.
The film was at the top of the box office for three weeks on its release, and the DVD release met with equal success. My copy has no extras on it, just the film, and the DVd can now be bought from amazon.co.uk for £6.97.
The First Lethal Weapon (which is over 20 years old now - can you believe it?) is definitely the best in the series and introduces us to the wonderful partnership of Riggs (Mel Gibson), a maverick cop who just seems plain insane at times and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) who has just turned 50 and wants a bit of a quiet life for his last few years on the force. No such luck as the two detectives are soon investigating the death of a daughter of one or Riggs old army buddies. They soon become embroiled in a heroin smuggling operation. So begins lots of attempts on Riggs life and Murtaigh's family get involved too. Never beaten by the rest of the series, Lethal Weapon did seem to be the start of a sub genre of new buddy movies. It has been often mimicked but never really beaten. The chemistry between Mel Gibson and Danny Glover is a sight to behold and, as long as you don't mind a bit of violence along with it, there is a real comedy gem in here. The later films concentrate slightly more on the humour aspect but this original manages a perfect balance. A must see for anyone who hasn't - and it shows us a time when Mel Gibson wasn't controversial.
Director: Richard Donner
Producers: Richard Donner and Joel Silver
Writer: Shane Black.
Starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Mitchell Ryan, Tom Atkins, Darlene Love and Grand L. Bush.
Released in March 1987 this 1 hour and 50 minute movie introduces the world to the irrational, and rather insane, Martin Riggs and his unlucky partner Robert Murtaugh..
When Detective Sergeant Roger Murtaugh, (played by Danny Glover), from the L.A. police department, investigates an apparent suicide he realises that the victim is Amanda Hunsaker, the daughter of his old Vietnam buddy, Michael.
Unfortunately for Murtaugh, on his 50th birthday, he is introduced to his new 'partner', Detective Sergeant Martin Riggs, (played by Mel Gibson), a very emotionally disturbed officer with suicidal tendencies ever since the death of his wife.
Riggs is an expert at many things, including shooting and martial arts, and with his violent nature he is considered to be a 'Lethal Weapon'.
With Murtaugh deliberating whether Riggs is actually insane or just trying to play the police system it is not long before he realises which it is....
As the dynamic duo dig further into the apparent suicide they soon realise that they are becoming involved in more than they bargained for... including Heroin smuggling, army special forces and a rather bizarre blond man named Mr Joshua, (played by Gary Busey).
2. Meet Martin Riggs
4. Coke Deal
5. Mr. Joshua
6. They've Got my Daughter
7. The Desert
9. The Weapon
10. Theme From Lethal Weapon
A great entertaining movie right from the start.
The banter between Riggs and Murtaugh is sometimes hilarious with some wise cracking remarks and great acting.
The story line seems to be your basic 'good cop verses bad guy' movie, (and there are a lot of them on the market), but this one is that bit more entertaining and enjoyable.
The acting throughout is of very high standards, including the rather frighteningly eerie Mr Joshua and his psychiatric boss, ex general Peter McAllister, (played by Mitchell Ryan.
To combine the skills and acting abilities of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover is pure genius as it created a partnership which would entertain the viewer throughout the entire movie...giving thrills, laughter and entertainment right to the end credits.
*Would I recommend this...?
Yes I certainly would.
It has everything a good movie needs, (apart from the dollop of romance...but there is a bit of flirting..!!).
The special effects and stunts maybe a little over the top sometimes but it doesn't spoil the entertainment value of what is a good movie.
This movie is the first in line of a cracking sequence of great action/ comedy/thriller movies, with each sequel being as good as the previous.
Can be bought from www.amazon.co.uk for less than £7...
Roger Murtagh has just turned 50 and is starting to think about retireing. He has a great family, wife and kids, and a lovely house. He is happy.
Martin Riggs had a wife he adored but she died in a car accident and now he feels rather homicidal and suicidal when it comes to his work.
Both are LAPD Sargeants and they work alone. However their boss has other ideas and Riggs and Murtagh are partnered together to help bring down a drug smuggling gang.
This is a great film and having watched it last night it has stood the test of time having been made in 1987.
Riggs, played by Mel Gibson, is great. He has just the right amount of attitude to bring off the "couldn't care less" feelings he has since he lost his wife and I love his character as you see him start to heal slightly through the film and become good friends with Murtagh, after a rocky start.
Danny Glover plays Murtagh and again he gives a great performance of a tired cop who is looking to slow down and keep things simple. His exasperation is really appropriate at times when Riggs goes charging in to situations.
I alos loved Mr Joshua, the bad guys hench man. He is played by Gary Busey and is really great as a bad guy. He looks scary and although at times his acting is a little off, he still comes across very well and is convincing enough.
The fight scenes and chase scenes are great and there are lots of memorable scenes that will stay with you long after watching, like the Christmas Tree scene near the beginning when Riggs is putting away some drug dealers. That is funny.
A great start to a set of 4 films that don't lose their appeal.
I'm back with yet another film review... This time it's another one of those action classics from the late Eighties...
LETHAL WEAPON: DIRECTOR'S CUT DVD
This version of the film has a longer running time than the original theatrical cut (117 minutes instead of the previous 110 minutes). This is due to the reinsertion of a few scenes - but more on them later.
The story of Lethal Weapon is that of LAPD Detective Sergeant Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) who upon turning 50 (and suffering from a post-mid-life crisis) is investigating the apparent suicide of an old army colleague's daughter. As if these problems weren't enough for him, he is also given a new partner to work with. This partner is Detective Sergeant Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) - a burned out cop who lost his wife to a tragic car accident three years previous.
Riggs is renowned for his violent behaviour, heavy drinking and is considered a suicide risk. All in all, he ticks all the boxes for characteristics you wouldn't a work colleague or partner to have.
The mismatched duo has an unsteady start to their relationship - with neither of them fully trusting the other. Riggs is aware of what people think of him and his problems and voices this directly to Murtaugh:
Martin Riggs: "Hey, look friend, let's just cut the sh*t. Now we both know why I was transferred. Everybody thinks I'm suicidal, in which case I'm f*cked and nobody wants to work with me or they think I'm faking to draw a psycho pension, in which case I'm f*cked and nobody wants to work with me. Basically, I'm f*cked."
Roger Murtaugh: "Guess what?"
Martin Riggs: "What?"
Roger Murtaugh: "I don't want to work with you!"
Martin Riggs: "Hey. Don't."
Roger Murtaugh: "Ain't got no choice! Looks like we both got f*cked!"
Martin Riggs: "Terrific."
Roger Murtaugh: "God hates me. That's what it is."
Martin Riggs: "Hate him back. It works for me."
You can probably tell that although the story is pretty dark, there are strong undercurrents of humour in the script. Danny Glover and Mel Gibson have a nigh on perfect buddy-buddy chemistry and as the story continues, they go from mistrusting each other to becoming friends.
The film is at times very loud and violent with (as you can read above) some very strong language. Speaking for myself, I don't consider any that gratuitous. In some ways, it actually serves the story very well.
The villains in Lethal Weapon are drug dealers that are connected to the death of Amanda Hunsaker (following the discovery that her suicide wasn't actually suicide - and that she'd taken a cocktail of drugs that would have killed her even if she hadn't jumped from the building) - and are actually pretty nasty pieces of work (although not a patch on the bad guys that appear in Lethal Weapon 2 - but that's another issue for another review... watch this space) and have you cheering on Riggs and Murtaugh throughout the whole film.
It's worthy of mentioning that the director's cut of the film gives us a different introduction to Riggs. He responds to a call where a sniper has taken shelter in a building next to a school and has been taking random pot-shots at children with an automatic weapon - downing three people including a police officer.
This is obviously a fairly controversial scene given the seemingly never-ending trend for school shootings etc in America (and sadly situations here in the UK - such as the Dunblane massacre). However, in regards to this scene - it gives us a great indication about Riggs, his disregard for personal safety in an act that can only be described as insane...
He walks into the school grounds with only a pistol - as children and school staff are being evacuated from the grounds. He then puts himself into the line of fire and taunts the hidden gunman.
Martin Riggs: "Hello, Mr. Sniper, sir."
Sniper: "Get away!"
The sniper then fires several shots at Riggs - and misses.
Martin Riggs: "I'm still here, asshole! Or do you only do kids?"
Sniper: "Shut up!"
This makes the sniper fire at Riggs again - and again he misses. This time however, Riggs fires back at the same time and does not miss... shooting the sniper dead.
Riggs walks calmly out of the school grounds - just as the armed response SWAT units arrive.
This scene adds another early piece of excitement not previously in the film and as such, it fits in perfectly. It's hard to believe the scene wasn't originally in the film.
The acting in Lethal Weapon is superb. Danny Glover is convincing as a veteran cop who is struggling to deal with his turning 50. With his new partner who turns out to be a loose cannon on top of this, his use of the line "I'm getting too old for this sh*t" is very appropriate.
Mel Gibson is absolutely perfect as the burned-out cop who feels he has nothing left to live for. His frequent disregard for his own personal safety and that of others around him makes him seem very dangerous. However, as he and Murtaugh begin to trust and respect each other, he begins to realise that he may well get through this dark point of his life. Gibson plays Riggs with a very sincere crazed look in his eyes that is very unsettling - and makes you wonder just what he is truly capable of.
THE SPECIAL EFFECTS
There aren't too many special effects within the film - unless you count the live-action pyrotechnics. There are enough gun shot effects, explosions and the like to make any action movie fan very happy indeed and give the viewer extra bang for their buck.
THE SOUND EFFECTS
The sound in Lethal Weapon is great. With the gun shots ricocheting around your surround speakers. Explosions rumble the floor in a satisfying manner. All in all - it's everything you would ask for from a big budget action flick.
The sound of Lethal Weapon was actually nominated for an Oscar in 1988 - losing out in the end to The Last Emperor.
The music score for Lethal Weapon was composed by Michael Kamen. Kamen also scored Lethal Weapon 2, 3 & 4, Die Hard, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Die Hard with a Vengeance, License To Kill, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, The Iron Giant, Frequency and X-Men among many other notable movies.
Sadly, Michael Kamen died on November 18, 2003 from a heart attack, aged 55. Thankfully, he left us some great movie scores by which we can remember him. Lethal Weapon has a score that reflects the action on-screen perfectly.
The film is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic PAL on the UK R2 release.
Sound options are: English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1 and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1.
Subtitles available are: Arabic, Bulgarian, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and Spanish.
Sadly, there aren't really any special features to mention with the exception of a Cast and Crew listing. This is literally one static screen with the names of certain cast and crew members in text.
All in all poor to say the very least. I honestly would have expected with a new cut of the movie being released on DVD that there would have been some great quality extras but there are none. Warner Bros have certainly dropped the ball on this count.
The picture quality is really great. It's sharp and vibrant and makes the film look like it could have been filmed a lot more recently that 1987.
The sound quality is terrific in room shaking Dolby Digital 5.1.
I've always loved Lethal Weapon. This Director's Cut edition really adds some extra clout to an already excellent actioner. The only thing I'm going to criticise about the DVD is the lack of any extras that add value to the purchase.
If however you don't already own Lethal Weapon on DVD, you could do worse than investing in this version.
Many thanks for reading this.
Mel Gibson set aside his art-house credentials to star as a crazy cop paired with a stable one (Danny Glover) in this full-blown 1987 Richard Donner action picture. The most violent film in the series (which includes three sequels), Lethal Weapon is also the edgiest and most interesting. After Gibson's character jumps off a building handcuffed to a man, and Gary Busey (as a cold, efficient enforcer) lets his hand get burned without flinching, there is a sense that anything can happen, and it usually does. Donner's strangely messy visual and audio style doesn't make a lot of aesthetic sense, but it stuck with all four movies. --Tom Keogh