Monday, May 04, 2020

Lethal Weapon (1987)

There was a certain type of movie that you might expect from various decades.  You could put things in a movie in the 1980s that wouldn’t fly today.  Have a suicidal police officer?  Nobody’s going to complain.  Jokes about men being sensitive?  Sure.  Why not?  It’s 1987.

The suicidal officer in question is Martin Riggs.  His wife recently died in a car crash, leaving him to mourn.  Half the department thinks he should retire.  The other half thinks that he’s faking to get disability.  Either way, he’s dangerous.

When Amanda Hunsaker jumps from a balcony, Riggs is partnered with Roger Murtaugh, who is Riggs’s polar opposite.  Murtaugh just turned 50 and has a happy home life with his wife and kids.

Her suicide leads to the discovery of a drug-smuggling operation involving Amanda’s father, who happens to be Murtaugh’s war buddy.  This, in turn, leads to Murtaugh’s daughter being kidnapped.  It all ends with a shootout in the desert.

I have mixed feelings having watched Lethal Weapon.  On the one hand, it’s a franchise with four movies and a TV series.  On the other hand, Mel Gibson was in it.  As great as the movie might be, it can be difficult to separate the actor from the role.  He made anti-Semitic comments after being arrested.  There were also homophobic comments and the use of a derogatory term for African-Americans.  It does affect how I view Mel Gibson now.

That being said, it was still an enjoyable movie.  It’s going to be a little violent for kids.  There’s also nudity and sex, including a full view of Gibson’s backside.  Plus, there are a lot of drugs.  This isn’t going to be a great choice for more sensitive viewers.  It’s not a family-friendly movie.

I will say that it is one of the more memorable movies from that decade.  Gibson does crazy pretty well.  He has a face that’s able to convey it pretty well.  The casting of Gary Busey as Mr. Joshua was also a good choice.  I’m not sure if it’s confirmation bias, but they both seem to get cast a lot in their respective roles.

There’s not much in the way of plot twists.  The movie would seem to be more a way of putting together action sequences and 80’s jokes.  I think the fan base is going to be people that were adults when the movie came out or are into 1980’s culture.  It’s definitely a totally different style than today’s movies.

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