Lethal Weapon

LETHAL WEAPON (18)

D: Richard Donner
Warner Bros. (Richard Donner & Joel Silver) 
US 1987
110 mins
 
Action/Thriller
 
W: Shane Black
DP: Stephen Goldblatt
Ed: Stuart Baird
Mus: Michael Kamen & Eric Clapton
 
Mel Gibson (Martin Riggs), Danny Glover (Roger Murtaugh), Gary Busey (Joshua), Mitchell Ryan (The General), Tom Atkins (Michael Hunsacker), Darlene Love (Trish Murtaugh), Traci Wolfe (Rianne Murtaugh), Jackie Swanson (Amanda Hunsacker)
 
The mismatched police partner sub-genre has been done to death now, but the original Lethal Weapon movie remains a good example of how entertaining, action-packed and thrilling they could be.
Mel Gibson made himself both a household name and movie heartthrob with his portrayal of Martin Riggs, a narcotics detective with suicidal tendencies following the death of his wife, he's partnered with Roger Murtaugh, a seasoned veteran counting down the days to his retirement. Together they investigate and uncover a drug smuggling cartel with former CIA agents at the helm.
This first film, for the most part, plays it straight, while the later sequels diluted the action and put more focus on comedy.
8/10

Mel Gibson & Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon
Mel Gibson & Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon
The magic is back!
The magic is back!

LETHAL WEAPON 2 (18)

D: Richard Donner
Warner Bros. (Richard Donner & Joel Silver) 
US 1989
111 mins
 
Action/Crime/Comedy
 
W: Jeffrey Boam [based on a story by Shane Black & Warren Murphy; characters created by Shane Black]
DP: Stephen Goldblatt
Ed: Stuart Baird
Mus: Michael Kamen & Eric Clapton
 
Mel Gibson (Martin Riggs), Danny Glover (Roger Murtaugh), Joe Pesci (Leo Getz), Joss Ackland (Arjen Rudd), Derrick O'Connor (Pieter Vorstedt), Patsy Kensit (Rika van den Haas)
 
The first sequel to Lethal Weapon puts comedy more in the driving seat as the mismatched cop duo investigate a money laudering South African diplomat.
The character of Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) is introduced and the majority of laughs come from his (quite literal) shortcomings.
There's still the odd action scene to get the blood pumping and overall, it's a pretty decent sequel.
6/10

Danny Glover & Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 2
Danny Glover & Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 2
The magic is back again
The magic is back again


LETHAL WEAPON 3 (15)

D: Richard Donner
Warner Bros. (Richard Donner & Joel Silver) 
US 1992
118 mins
 
Action/Crime/Comedy
 
W: Jeffrey Boam & Robert Mark Kamen [based on characters created by Shane Black]
DP: Jan de Bont
Ed: Robert Brown & Battle Davis
Mus: Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton & David Sanborn
 
Mel Gibson (Martin Riggs), Danny Glover (Roger Murtaugh), Joe Pesci (Leo Getz), Rene Russo (Lorna Cole), Stuart Wilson (Jack Travis)
 
The third film of the franchise veers even more towards comedy as the (not so) mismatched partners investigate an arms dealing syndicate headed by a corrupt cop.  
Joe Pesci reprises his role as comic relief Leo Getz (a real estate agent this time for some peculiar reason), whilst Mel Gibson's character gets a love interest in the shape of Rene Russo.
There's enough action & excitement to entertain, but it's not as good as the previous two films.
5/10
 
Danny Glover & Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 3
Danny Glover & Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 3
The gang's all here
The gang's all here

LETHAL WEAPON 4 (15)

D: Richard Donner
Warner Bros. (Richard Donner & Joel Silver) 
US 1998
127 mins
 
Action/Crime/Comedy
 
W: Channing Gibson [based on characters created by Shane Black]
DP: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Ed: Frank J. Urioste
Mus: Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton & David Sanborn
 
Mel Gibson (Martin Riggs), Danny Glover (Roger Murtaugh), Joe Pesci (Leo Getz), Rene Russo (Lorna Cole), Chris Rock (Lee Butters), Jet Li (Wah Sing Ku)
 
With the basic mismatched cops formula all but gone, what's left is a clichéd action thriller in which Mel Gibson's Martin Riggs picks on the little guy (Joe Pesci) a lot, whilst Danny Glover's Roger Murtaugh isn't happy with his daughter's new choice of boyfriend (sarcastic cop Chris Rock).
The detectives still have time to piss off a gang of triads, although it's hardly surprising due to some of the casual racism, as well as reckless endangerment. You'd really expect better from two officers of the law, but since this is a 'comedy', let's turn a blind eye to that.
Thankfully, the final part of a franchise which ran out of steam with the third film.
4/10
 
Danny Glover & Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 4
Danny Glover & Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 4