- Richard Donner,
- Shane Black,
- Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Mitchell Ryan, Tom Atkins, Darlene Love, Traci Wolfe,
- Veteran buttoned-down LAPD detective Roger Murtaugh is partnered with unhinged cop Martin Riggs, who -- distraught after his wife's death -- has a death wish and takes unnecessary risks with criminals at every turn. The odd couple embark on their first homicide investigation as partners, involving a young woman known to Murtaugh with ties to a drug and prostitution ring.
The melodramatic clumsiness of the script, and, in one scene, its gratuitous endorsement of marijuana, betrays the youth of its writer, recent UCLA graduate Shane Black. And veteran director Richard Donner, whose credits include another cartoon movie, can't seem to thread the scenes together in any meaningful way. [6 Mar 1987, p.G]
The film is all fast action, noisy stunts and huge, often unflattering close-ups, but it packs an undeniable wallop.
The skies are thick with whizzing bullets and strings being pulled by Shane Black's crude script and Richard Donner's cement-mixer direction. Predictably, the chicks-and-ammo stuff is punctuated by TV cop show repartee. [6 Mar 1987, p.36]
Lethal Weapon is vulgar, violent and predictable. Yet, in some outbreak of id, I got caught up in the shenanigans of Danny Glover and Mel Gibson as a mismatched cop team. Mr. Glover is more than solid and Mr. Gibson has added a kind of raw humor to his repertoire that is extremely sexy. [5 Mar 1987, p.1]
At bottom, Lethal Weapon isn't much. It's a big, shallow, flashy, buddy-buddy cop thriller; it attacks you like a stereophonic steamroller, flattening everything behind it. Snatches of "Hustle" "Magnum Force" and "48 HRS." float above this plot like scum on a polluted lake, and the holes in logic and mindless climax are (or should be) embarrassing. [6 Mar 1987, p.4]
What a concept! Mad Max meets The Cosby Show. What a surprise! It works better than a fastidious mind might imagine. One reason is that Mel Gibson himself has been recruited to play Lethal Weapon's lethal weapon, Los Angeles Police Detective Martin Riggs. [23 March 1987, p.86]
Lethal Weapon sinks an unexpectedly sharp hook at a delightfully unique angle, and never once lets up. A purposefully off- kilter flick, it fakes one way and moves another, thwarting our conditioned responses and fuelling our happy surprise. [6 Mar 1987, p.D1]
Lethal Weapon opens with a shot of Mel Gibson in his birthday suit and just gets better. Likewise we meet costar Danny Glover in the bathtub, fêted by his family on his 50th birthday. This endearing double exposure introduces us to the vulnerabilities of these superduper heroes, an odd couple of cops who mature into friends as they quell crime.
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