IHAO on ... Lethal Weapon
Remember when I talked about Cobra the other day? I mentioned a sports bracket of action films of the 80s. One of them in there was Lethal Weapon. I had at that point never watched a single Lethal Weapon film. So I figured, much like with Cobra, I should fix that. I found all 4 on a good deal, and I've decided I'm going to dole out some Lethal Weapon reviews over the next few weeks as I watch them and share my thoughts.
My first thought is that Shane Black gets way too much credit. Like, across the board. He wrote Lethal Weapon, as well as a bunch of other flicks, and is considered a really good action writer. Or at least that's how he's always been presented to me. And he is not really good at writing. Last Action Hero I already talked about, and how uneven it felt. Monster Squad I did a video review of a long time ago, it's around here somewhere if you want to see it, but that movie is just camp and not particularly well written either. Iron Man 3 was not good. The Long Kiss Goodnight is super not good. And ... like, that's basically it. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is an outlier, and it is pretty good, but yeah, he is super overrated.
My second thought is that I don't believe Danny Glover. Like, ever. He is always "acting" for me. Except for Predator 2, which is awesome and arguably better than the original. And the same holds true here. He is ... ugh, Murtaugh's character in Lethal Weapon is entirely liftable. Nothing he does matters. He's like the Christmas set dressing the movie has. He adds nothing to the film but an unnecessary hostage and false character tension. Lethal Weapon is about the Riggs character.
Third thought, Riggs is one of the best characters. Just, at all. Mel Gibson does awesome with him, Donner knows how to shoot a scene with Gibson and all the emotion in it. The music almost ruins the amazing suicide attempt scene, which made me really made.
Fourth thought, this movie has nowhere near enough action to be an action movie. It is a perfectly fine buddy cop movie, but an action movie it is not. Action movies are full of tension and Lethal Weapon barely held my attention. It was a great character drama for Riggs, but it did not have nearly enough action. And the action it did have didn't make any sense. Like Riggs' big fight scene at the end. There are cops all over the place, just watching this slobberknocker.
Now, let me say something that is really good about this movie beyond Riggs. This movie, I believe, created a whole bunch of the tropes we expect to see in action films and buddy cop films. And that's important. The film is an important film. It created the tropes, the character archetypes, the pacing, the act breakdowns, all of that. It still isn't a very good movie. In fact, once everything balances out, it is basically just an average film, straight down the middle. This first one does awesome stuff with Riggs, and that's about all I care about. I hope the sequels amp it up a notch or two.