Happy 25th Birthday, Lethal Weapon!
I'm not too old for this shit. Are you?
Spring, 1987: Some friends and I head out from the base to the movie theater, ready to check out what looks to be a pretty fun action movie. Ah, such innocent times. Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were riding high, but Bruce Willis, Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme were still waiting in the wings. What did we have? Mad Max as a "cop on the edge" partnering with...Albert from The Color Purple (or Mal from Silverado, if you prefer)?
Our admittedly minor concerns were baseless of course, as Mel Gibson and Danny Glover bring us the first team-up of Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh, and proceed to lay down the smacketh upon all manner of criminal folk. Drug dealers, mercenaries, and other miscreants stand no chance against the "Lethal Weapon" and his partner, who may or may not be too old for this shit.
Yes, these days Mr. Gibson is the focus of a much different kind of attention, but back in 1987? He was The Man. Coming off his third turn as Max Rockatansky in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Gibson gives us an all-new take on the tried and true "loner cop on the ragged edge" trope, with Glover serving as his older, more experienced, and ever-suffering compadre. The action, quips, and typical 80s tough-guy humor all come fast and furious as Gibson's Martin Riggs shoots, punches, kicks, and otherwise pummels his way through a seemingly unending wave of bad guys. Oh, and Eric Clapton is on hand to provide some kick-ass music, too.
Directed by Richard Donner (The Omen, Superman: The Movie, and The Goonies), Lethal Weapon was the hot action ticket in 1987, and of course spawned three sequels over the next eleven years (along with a sorta kinda cameo nod-type thing in 1994's Maverick). I place the Lethal Weapons alongside the Die Hards as my favorites of 80s-spawned action fests.
Happy Birthday, Riggs and Murtaugh!
(Originally published at The Fog of Ward and cross-posted to LiveJournal.)
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