the fresh films reviews

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Lethal Weapon (1987)

Succeeded by: Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

Directed by:
Richard Donner


Buddy cop/Action
Dødelig våpen

112 minutes

Produced by:
Richard Donner
Joel Silver
Written by:
Shane Black

Cast includes:

Martin Riggs Mel Gibson
Roger Murtaugh Danny Glover
Joshua Gary Busey
The General Mitchell Ryan ½
Michael Hunsaker Tom Atkins -
Trish Murtaugh Darlene Love -
Amanda Hunsaker Jackie Swanson -
Rianne Murtaugh Traci Wolfe -



Two contradictory LAPD cops are reluctantly brought together as new partners: one a conscientious veteran and devoted family man (Danny Glover), the other an unorthodox madcap with a death wish (Mel Gibson). After the 1980s had already seen big successes in the buddy cop sub-genre such as 48 Hrs. (1982) and Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Mel Gibson and Danny Glover created what may stand as the sub-genre's most emblematic duo. Gibson's Martin Riggs is larger than life, but there's a real nerve to him and his backstory, and his partnership with Glover grows deeper, warmer and more believable thanks to the actors' obvious respect for each other. When they play up, they do it for each other, not the camera (which isn't always the case with the sequels). The film captures that fine balance between the trigger-happy, carefree attitude needed to make the action work, and the credible depiction of family values and friendship. It's what made Lethal Weapon such a crowd-pleasing mega success. Whenever the film is on the verge of overdoing it and becoming parodic, Donner is able to maintain the trance with scenes of a grandiose, epic quality. An enjoyable, slick action film which packs a playful punch.

Re-reviewed: Copyright © 29.09.2022 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review: Copyright © 02.02.1998 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang