Watched May 23, 2012
Mitchell Beaupre’s review:
Lethal Weapon is basically the peak of the buddy cop action movie. Written by Shane Black and directed by Richard Donner, this is a film that revels in it's excess and allows the audience to just have as much fun watching it as they clearly did making it. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover star as cops Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh, the former being a suicidal loose cannon and the latter a worn out veteran who constantly makes us aware that he is too old for this shit.
The actual plot deals with them stopping drug smugglers who were responsible for the death of a young prostitute, which is really the one thing holding the film back from being some kind of masterwork because it's incredibly flat and doesn't hold a candle to how great the film is when we just get to watch Gibson and Glover bounce off one another. The two men have a perfect chemistry together, as their dynamic grows in a surprisingly organic fashion and the two who started at odds slowly come together as partners and friends.
Shane Black's script does a fair share of the work here in how well constructed these two characters are, particularly in the writing of Gibson's character. The "loose cannon who plays by his own rules" routine has been done a thousand times in cop movies, but Black really turns it on it's head here by making Riggs a guy who is really gone. This isn't just a danger-hound who isn't afraid to put himself in the line of fire, this guy is off the reservation and legitimately suicidal.
In casting the role there couldn't have been a better choice than Mel Gibson, who is convincing both as the wise-cracking cowboy in the heat of battle and as the broken down shell of a man in his private moments. His performance is equal parts charm, heartbreak and wild charisma and the whole film wouldn't have worked as well without someone as skilled as him taking on this role. With some great action, that incredible duo at the center and a perfect Christmas time setting (really, let's just set every action movie at Christmas), Lethal Weapon delivers on almost all fronts.