Director: Richard Donner
Writer: Shane Black
Cast: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey
A veteran cop, Murtaugh (Danny Glover), is partnered with a young suicidal cop, Riggs (Mel Gibson). Both have one thing in common; hating working in pairs. Now they must learn to work with one another to stop a gang of drug smugglers.
It can be best described as a mixture of buddy cop genre with odd couple one. I had contemplated watching it earlier so as to catch up with Mel Gibson's earlier works but opted to watch the Mad Max series instead. Got on to this eventually when I was actually trying to decide whether I should watch 'The Goonies'. The writer for this film, Shane Black, was also familiar to me from his excellent 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' which is again a much more comedic take on similar genre characteristics. Mel Gibson indeed had a niche action genre to himself and his character in this film is more worthy of the description Mad than Max from Mad Max series. The central plot point of the film is that a bunch of ex-CIA special forces guys are doing Heroin business and these cops comes across them through a murder investigation. These guys had helped run Heroin business during the Vietnam war to finance the native groups whom they were backing and this angle (albeit in South America) was explored recently in the film 'Kill The Messenger'. This thing was supposed to be a big secret till this journalist Gary Webb exposed it in the 90s. So I was kind of taken aback by this casual reference in Lethal Weapon.
Film is a good watch and the relationship between the two characters are very well fleshed out. Action sequences are very well done but towards the end it does go a bit self-indulgent. I really don't think there is anything more to be explored since the establishment of the characters was the interesting part and I don't have any intention to watch the subsequent three films made for the franchise. All of them were big box office successes with the last one coming in 1997.