Sunday, August 26, 2012

Movie Review: Lethal Weapon

Last year my sister Beth thought it would be hilarious to give my kids a box the size of a camper van full of her old VHS tapes.  She taped a note on it that said something like, "Have your mom sort through these first because some of them are rated R and are incredibly inappropriate for kids.  Enjoy!"  My kids were ecstatic.  I was not.  You know why?  Because I already got rid of my VHS tapes and it wasn't easy.  Now I had about a thousand more to deal with along with trying to explain to the kids why they couldn't watch Strip Tease and American History X.  And Beth saw to it that I had to deal with it because she presented it as a gift to the kids.  Nicely played, Beth. You go ahead and laugh for now.  I have a line on getting your girls a beard-of-bees starter kit for Christmas.

Four of the movies in the box were Lethal Weapon, Lethal Weapon II, Lethal Weapon III, and Lethal Weapon IX.  Beth is nothing if not thorough.  I don't know how she could bear to part with these gems.  She probably has them on Blu-Ray now though.  Every time there has been nothing good to watch on TV after the kids go to bed for the past 15 months or so, I say to Mitch, "Wanna watch Lethal Weapon?" and he always says, "No!"  But last night he was out in the garage so it was my chance to watch it.  And watch it I did.

In case you have forgotten, it starts out with a scantily clad, drugged out babe jumping do her death from a high rise building in L.A.  Danny Glover (Murtaugh) is assigned the case.  He is a family-man detective with the police department and it is his 50th birthday. He goes in to work and is assigned a new partner, Mel Gibson (Riggs).  Riggs is a loose cannon.  He recently lost his wife in a car accident and is being evaluated by the department shrink because he might be suicidal, but he might be faking it to get the many societal benefits a person gets when they are diagnosed with a mental illness.  We soon learn how crazy he is when he goes to the top of a building to talk a potential jumper down and instead of talking him down he handcuffs himself to the poor guy and then forces them both to jump.

If you didn't know what a great actor Mel Gibson is, you'd swear he was really crazy!

They jump into a big air bag and aren't hurt but at that point Murtaugh is worried that this new partner of his might not be just faking it, he might actually be crazy.  He brings Riggs to a private place and yells at him and demands to know if he really wants to die and he gives Riggs his gun and tells him if he really wants to die, to put the gun in his mouth and pull the trigger.  Riggs is just about to do it when Murtaugh pulls the gun away.  It is at this point in the movie when they, newly acquainted partners, forge a bond that usually takes years to forge.  They look deep into one another's eyes and their souls say to each other, "Hey, you're my brother, man.  I know you."  Then Murtaugh says, "I'm too old for this shit," for the first time.

"You complete me."

Soon they learn that the girl who jumped from the building was murdered, but it wasn't just a run-of-the-mill hooker murder, it goes deep.  Really deep.  All the way back to Vietnam and the heroin trade. And Gary Busey is in the movie too and he is at his absolute prime.  His name is Mr. Joshua.  He's nuts.  He gets burned with a lighter for the fun of it.  Murtaugh thinks he is way too old for that shit.

I don't really remember what happens after Murtaugh and Riggs forged their bond with the gun in the mouth scene because to tell you the truth I was emotionally exhausted from watching Mel Gibson's tour de force perfomance and the love not only between Murtaugh and Riggs, but I suspect between Danny Glover and Mel Gibson as well.  You can't fake that.  I know there was some shooting, a car chase where Mel Gibson was chasing cars on foot with a machine gun, and there was a helicopter/limo chase.  Oh, and Murtaugh's wife can't cook for shit.

The movie ended with a fist fight between Riggs and Mr. Joshua in Murtaugh's yard.  Riggs won, barely, and when the uniformed officers were cuffing Mr. Joshua after the fight he somehow got one of their guns and was going to shoot Riggs, who was having a good hug with Murtaugh and somehow, I think because of their highly tuned bond, they could feel what was coming so they both turned around and shot Mr. Joshua before he could squeeze the trigger.  Holy shit.  It was so close.  After that Riggs was a part of Murtaugh's family.  In the very last scene he comes over to the Murtaugh's house for Christmas dinner and he brings his dog, who gets in a fight with the Murtaugh cat and Danny Glover says, "I'm too old for this shit," but you know what?  I suspect he is exactly the right age for that shit.

I apparently wasn't the only one who could see the iron-clad bond of soul-melding brotherhood between Murtaugh and Riggs.  The movie producers saw it as well so they made three more movies.  Mitch and I can't wait to watch them.


  1. I loved the Lethal Weapon Series! Hilarious stuff! And exciting, too!

  2. If you didn't know what a great actor Mel Gibson is, you'd swear he was really crazy!...funny.


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