25 Days of Christmas - The Naughty List: Lethal Weapon

I think this is the best of the buddy cop movies, and launched a pretty successful (and not terrible) franchise. It's actually still possible to watch Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs, a suicidal, badass, take-no-prisoners police officer who has been assigned to "too old for this shit" Murtaugh (Danny Glover) without thinking only of the mess Gibson has made of his public life.  The whole thing takes place just before Christmas, ending with Riggs and Murtaugh sharing a Christmas dinner, with a hole in the living room.  The movie starts with Murtaugh's birthday morning and his loving family wishing him well.  He goes to work to find he's been assigned to a new partner, Riggs, who has shot a sniper and jumped off a building with someone all before getting to work.  They don't mix too well, but when a Vietnam buddy of Murtaugh's calls for help investigating his daughter's death, they find something to bond over.  They get tortured, and have to rescue Murtaugh's daughter, and thankfully kill Gary Busey.
There's a reason they made 4 of these movies - stupid stories aside, their chemistry is amazing.  Danny Glover is the perfect straight man who thinks he's funny and Mel Gibson's wise cracking one-liners and crazy eyes that make the whole thing work.  And I think Gibson perfected the crazy eyes running scenes that Tom Cruise took on for today.  They did have to add more to the cast as the franchise grew (Joe Pesci and Rene Russo), but this first installment is a pretty good celebration for Christmas.  They use the music well, contrasting with Riggs' insanity, the Christmas music balances that.  If you haven't seen any of this series, I would definitely take a look, but I must say it doesn't really have the Christmas feel.

1 comment:

  1. Jess, I haven't watched Lethal Weapon in a while, but it sticks in my mind as one of the great cop movies. Its effect has been diluted by mediocre sequels (3 and 4), but it's still a pretty great action movie. Once things really start rolling in the second half, it's an intense movie. I'm not sure Mel Gibson has ever been more convincing than he is here.


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