Monday, March 26, 2012

3 Short Paragraphs: Lethal Weapon

1987, Richard Donner (Ladyhawke, Superman, Scrooged) -- download

Every Xmas we watch Die Hard as one of our favourite Xmas movies. This... er, last year during the 31 Days of Xmas we sought out some more of those action movies that we associate with Xmas not because of their Xmas related plots but their release date and the time the movie is set.  But in the end, the plan failed and we didn't end up watching the yippy kay yay motherfucker.  Still, Lethal Weapon is a pretty good second choice for that topic.

To me Lethal Weapon is not the preeminent Buddy Cop movie but the beginning of a string of Damaged Rogue Copy movies*.  No longer is the Rogue Cop just a guy who makes his own way, breaking rules and solving crimes outside of the box.  The Damaged Rogue Cop has something in his past that is crawling to the surface; Riggs (Mel Gibson) still suffering the death of his wife.  He is unstable and not the best choice as a partner, thus being stuck with the aging Murtaugh (Danny Glover). But he is also skilled in hand to had combat and has a keen sense of taking charge, setting aside the bullshit.  Murtaugh wants to be an enlightened late 80s guy but really, he shines in how deep a family man he is.  And they are perfect for each other, with family tempering the madness behind Riggs wide eyes and action replacing Murtaugh's age-of-50 caution.

It is so very 80s. The bad guys are a scary gathering of extremely skilled ex-soldiers now mercenaries bringing in drugs from contacts during their days in Vietnam. Riggs and Murtaugh are both Vietnam vets, something that time itself is bleeding out of fiction. When will the dark days of Iraq become the replacement for damaged ex-soldiers?  While I am not surprised that two cops don't so much as solve a crime as blunder through the solution, as we still see that in cop movies focused on action, I was somewhat surprised at how not-so-scary-afterall the bad guys were. Just soldiers dealing drugs? Bad guys with automatic weapons? I guess we are now just so blase when it comes to drug dealers willing to shoot cops. They are no longer the shock they once were. But despite these stand out factors, the movie's constant movement and ballet of violence is still quite fun.

* As usual, once I make a statement like that I cannot remember a single other example of such movies.