The Man Movie Encyclopedia: Lethal Weapon – Director’s Cut

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Lethal WeaponYear: 1987
Director: Richard Donner
Stars: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover

“After 20 years on the force, police detective Roger Murtaugh has come face-to-face with the most dangerous killing machine in Los Angeles… his new partner.”

We open up with a little bit of Jingle Bell Rock as we’re given a bird’s eye view of the greater LA area. We circle around an apartment building that’s taller than the Capital Records, and zone in on a chick laying back, and doing a bit of blow. It seems that she needs a breath of fresh air, and heads out to the balcony. The air isn’t fresh enough, so she stands on the railing. From the looks of it, she’s wearing her grandmother’s lingerie. I mean, who thinks it’s a good idea to wear, what the designers could only describe as “a sexy diaper”? Either way, she jumps.

We then meet both Martin Riggs & Roger Murtaugh. They each have slightly different mornings, as Roger is greeted by his family with a birthday cake while he’s in the tub, and Riggs wakes up smoking, and has a beer for breakfast. Once out for the day, Riggs shoots a sniper, then bust up some drug dealers at a tree-farm, all in a days work, baby. That same day, Roger finds out that the girl who jumped happens to be the daughter of one of this closest friends from Vietnam. The next day is when the duo finally meet, and we’re off and running.

They soon learn that there’s more to this death than a simple suicide, as the drugs she was taking were laced with drain cleaner, and she would have died, jump or no jump. They go to visit the hooker who claimed to see the jump, but her house happens to blow up right as they approach. So, they finally speak to the father, and he spills his guts about working with old Vietnam peeps, and how they’re bringing in heroin. However, he didn’t want to do it any longer, so they killed his daughter. He soon joins her as Mr. Joshua, played by Gary Busey, comes flying up in a helicopter and blows him away.

Knowing that the cops may be on to’em, the bad guys kidnap Roger’s daughter in order to find out what he knows. They also pump a load of buckshot into Riggs’ chest, thinking he’s done for, not knowing he was vested. They meet up in the desert for a swap, but naturally the bullets start flying, and although quite a few drop, Roger & Riggs get captured and brought in to find out what they know. Naturally, since Riggs is a man, he ain’t gonna do any talking, but can offer in it’s place a broken neck. He breaks free and starts laying to waste everyone before he frees Roger & his daughter.

Joshua hops in a car and gets to scooting, while Riggs chases him down on foot. Man, he’s a cardio machine. I do cardio, and after about a block or two I’d be puking my guts out, and trying to figure out if I had time to take a nap. They figure out that Joshua is probably going to head to Roger’s house, to try and tie up loose ends. They figured right, as Joshua shows up, and they get the jump on him. But, since Riggs is a man, he lets Joshua take a crack at him, and see if he’s able to beat his ass. This is a great scene, as they’re fighting in a down pour due to the fire hydrant being knocked over, and illuminated thanks to the spotlight from the helicopter. It’s a great fight, as they’re pretty evenly matched, and keep getting one-up on each other. Definitely under-rated.

 

Man Movie Encyclopedia Tally:

1-Liners: None
Guys Beat Up: 2
Guys Killed: 27
Swear Words: 99
Boobs: 4
Explosions: 2
Slow-Motion Scenes: 8
Car Chases: 1
Chases on Foot: 1
Broken Bones: 1
Fight at a Motel? No
Guy Get Girl? No
Guy Smoke Cigarettes? Yes

 

Man-Facts:

Bruce Willis was in consideration for Riggs. Although I love me some Bruce, he just didn’t have the hair for Riggs. Besides, I think he went on to do OK for himself.

Leonard Nimoy was asked to direct, but he wasn’t comfortable doing action films, and was busy with Three Men & A Baby at the time.

Jackie Swanson, the girl who played Amanda Hunsaker, actually did the dive herself. The way it was done was with an airbag that was covered with a life size painting of the road & cars.

 

Box-Office Business:

Released by Warners, and created for $15 million, it was released March 6th, 1987, in 1,256 theaters. It opened up at #1, with a weekend total of $6,829,949.

The film ended up bringing in a grand total of $120,207,127

 

C’mon Bennet, Let’s Party:

What more is there to say about Lethal Weapon that hasn’t been said before? It, much like Die Hard, pretty much created the entire sub-genre of buddy cop action films. Hell, it was so popular that the screen writer, Shane Black, copied himself a bit with The Last Boy Scout. The character of Martin Riggs is one of the better you’ll ever see in action films, especially in the director’s cut. As you get to see so many more scenes that flesh him out, and show how truly on the edge, and lonely he is. Just a fantastic film.

 4 & 3/4th Head-Butts Out Of 5

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About the Author

Caliber Winfield
Caliber "Nickname" Winfield is a writer from the Pacific Northwest who in one day was mistaken for both Dwayne Johnson & Spider-Man. He currently runs Str8 Gangster, No Chaser [scrublife.wordpress.com] a site where he loudly announces his displeasure for Chuck Lorre sitcoms, and his love for the original Karate Kid trilogy. He also has a book available for sale on amazon.com, The Man Movie Encyclopedia Vol. 1. It's been endorsed by New York Times Best-Selling author Maddox, and has received only 5 star reviews. He also street fights for money like Jean-Claude in Lionheart.
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