Lethal Weapon

Directed By: Richard Donner

Starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Mitchell Ryan, and Tom Atkins

Mel Gibson has really screwed up his career.  For a long time, he was the premier action star of his generation.  Having starred in countless classic action flicks, it's unfortunate to see how far he's fallen because of his incendiary comments in drunken, abusive tirades.  Gibson is now reduced to releasing films on Video-On-Demand as opposed to in theaters. 

What the hell happened to this dude?  Gibson's unceremonious fall from stardom is not only impacting upcoming films like Get the Gringo, but it's also tainted his older body of work.  If you don't believe me, ask yourself why you haven't heard that 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the theatrical release of Lethal Weapon. Though the masses have shunned Gibson with good cause, there's just something wrong with not revisiting this iconic action flick, and Sobriety Test has to pick up the slack here.

L.A.P.D. Homicide Sergeant Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is celebrating his 50th birthday but is also doing what any middle-age man would do at this time—worrying about getting old.  When his old friend Michael Hunsaker (Tom Atkins) reaches out to him, the birthday boy takes his sweet time getting back to his former comrade from Vietnam.  Unfortunately, Michael's daughter Amanda (Jackie Swanson) jumps out of a window before Murtaugh can get back to him.  The only catch is that Amanda didn't commit suicide.  She was actually murdered.  Now, Murtaugh has to reach out to an old friend to deliver some bad news as he opens an investigation on a tragic murder.

Meanwhile, L.A.P.D. Narcotics Sergeant Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) is having some problems of his own.  He hasn't gotten over the death of his wife and is crazy enough to try and join her on the other side.  He keeps a hollow-point bullet with him as a fast-pass to the grave.  Riggs is a suicidal nut and is jeopardizing the lives of any police officers around him.  It just so happens that he's been assigned a new partner—Sergeant Murtaugh.  Now, this crazy fool must team with the veteran cop to investigate the murder of Amanda Hunsaker.  This case is a little bigger than a girl getting drugged, and Riggs and Murtaugh are drawn into what could be their first and only case as partners.

Lethal Weapon is an iconic action thriller that set the bar pretty damn high for all other buddy cop films.  With pulse-pounding thrills, a captivating story, and some awesome action, it laid the blueprint for films like Rush Hour and Bad Boys and gave us one the greatest duos to ever grace the big screen in Riggs and Murtaugh.  The chemistry between Mel Gibson and Danny Glover on screen is dynamic.  Their war with one another gradually becomes the quintessential bromance.

As great as Lethal Weapon is, I do have to say that I feel sorry for Danny Glover.  He's one of those guys who's always looked older than he actually is.  Director Richard Donner has no problem casting the then 40-year-old to play a 50-year-old cop.  As Roger Murtaugh though, he legitimately plays a crafty veteran police officer that knows how to get the job done.  His great performance in this action flick is truly one of the defining roles of his career.

As Martin Riggs, Mel Gibson becomes a registered lethal weapon and the action star he was born to be.  Gibson may have found success early in his career in films like Mad Max and The Year of Living Dangerously, but Lethal Weapon is the film that launched him into superstardom.  He's charismatic, crazy, and insufferable all at the same time.  On screen, Gibson is a nut who knows how to kick ass and woo moviegoers in the process.  We once loved him for it.

Gary Busey is a real standout in the film as well.  As Mr. Joshua, he's one hilarious badass.  He may be a vicious predator when he's hunting his victims.  He may talk trash as he's brutally torturing his captives.  He may even be courteous before he shoots cops in the head.  Busey is the perfect package in this film.  He's an equally imposing and entertaining antagonist.  Busey is undoubtedly one of the best villains ever in a cop movie.

With great performances and great filmmaking, Lethal Weapon is definitely an action thriller that has and will continue to stand the test of time.  Don't let Gibson's personal issues taint your view of this awesome action thriller.  For its 25th anniversary, break out a few wine coolers and revisit this timeless classic.  Given that the film has no problem spreading a little holiday cheer, some eggnog might work at the right time of year.  Lethal Weapon gets a 0.03% rating.