‘Tis the Season and all that so I thought what’s a great Christmas movie to talk about that isn’t Die Hard?
One of my friends Chuzzy says he considers Lethal Weapon to be an underrated classic; I thought everyone knew about and loved it.
Isn’t it like the best buddy movie ever?
But what he means is that Die Hard gets all the Christmas action movie lovin’ whereas Lethal Weapon gets left out in the cold.
So this Christmas I thought I’d put John McClane to one side and give huge props to Riggs and Murtaugh in the first (and best) Lethal Weapon film.
I’m going to go over my favourite moments from the film, but I’m choosing the Director’s Cut as one of the scenes from it is actually the best scene from the movie.
Honourable Mention: Riggs vs. Some Muggers
This scene never made it into the final movie but it’s once again a great bad ass moment for Martin Riggs as he is in a bar drunk and looking depressed as Hell. He goes into the toilet and when he comes out some muggers are waiting for him; he proceeds to beat the crap out of them and even takes one their knives away. He is totally unfazed and although it doesn’t really add anything to the story, it’s still a cool moment.
Riggs and Murtaugh First Meeting
Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is doing some paperwork and discussing information on the apparent suicide of Amanda Hunsaker when he notices a suspicious looking man in a cap with a gun. He charges at the man and is thrown to the ground and discovers this is his new partner Martin Riggs. He then says his immortal line “I’m too old for this shit” and an icon was born.
Riggs Contemplates Suicide
In arguably the most moving scene of the entire franchise, Riggs sits watching Bugs Bunny in the absolute depths of despair. He takes his gun and puts it in his mouth, ready to meet his deceased wife again. Gibson gives one of his best acting performances in this scene as he looks genuinely upset and it totally defined the character.
After Mr. Joshua and his goons have kidnapped Murtaugh’s daughter the two cops devise a plan to rescue her. Things don’t go to plan however when Roger takes out a grenade and Joshua calls his bluff. This proceed to go from bad to worse with our two heroes getting captured.
Meet Mr. Joshua
Gary Busey does batshit crazy better than anyone else and in this scene he has to prove his badassery so he simply holds a lighter under his hand and doesn’t flinch as his flesh is burned by it. It immediately shows that this is not someone you should trifle with unless you’re an insane cop with a death wish.
Riggs vs. Mr. Joshua
One of the more ludicrous moments in the film is the fight between Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs and Gary Busey’s Mr. Joshua in somebody’s front yard, with most of the police force watching. It’s also one of the best moments as the two men just tear strips off each other. The cops might as well grab some popcorn and watch the show. This is another movie where the climactic fight takes place in the rain; as I’ve said before no one ever fights when its sunny.
You Wanna Jump?
If you look real close in this scene you’ll see that once Riggs jumps off the building with the handcuffed “jumper” we see that they aren’t actually connected at all, but we already knew that. The great thing about this scene is that it demonstrates just how unhinged Riggs actually is. He’s unpredictable and just doesn’t care about living or dying… but he gets the job done.
Christmas Tree Shootout and Coke Deal
This is another scene with an iconic quote: “That’s a real badge, I’m a real cop and this is a real fucking gun.” Riggs is undercover doing a coke deal and turns the tables on the drug dealers. What ensues is an awesome shoot-out which is the perfect introduction to this classic character.
Riggs Breaks Down
After Riggs and the Jumper take the plunge, Murtaugh loses it with Riggs’ recklessness suggesting that he is indeed crazy. Riggs takes issue and the following moving rant ensues:
Well, what do you wanna hear, man? Do you wanna hear that sometimes I think about eatin’ a bullet? Huh? Well, I do! I even got a special bullet for the occasion with a hollow point, look! Make sure it blows the back of my goddamned head out and do the job right! Every single day I wake up and I think of a reason not to do it! Every single day! You know why I don’t do it? This is gonna make you laugh! You know why I don’t do it? The job! Doin’ the job! Now that’s the reason!
What’s interesting about this scene is that Tom Atkins mentions an organization called Air America which as you all now would be a Mel Gibson film in 1990. What begins as a character scene and a pivotal story point ends with a helicopter rising out of nowhere and attacking the house. Riggs fires an entire clip at the chopper but doesn’t get a decent shot; Roger comes out and asks “Are you done?” “I haven’t even started yet!” Riggs responds in a badass fashion.
Mr. Sniper, Sir!
This is my absolute favourite scene and I literally can’t watch the non-director’s cut of the film anymore. I always wondered why they cut it but I guess it’s because thematically it is the same as the building jump scene. It’s there to show that Riggs doesn’t care about his life and will do anything to get the job done. Once again he is reckless about how he does things but you can’t argue that the man gets results.
So those are some of my favourite moments from Lethal Weapon, one of the best Christmas Action movies ever.