Today, I rediscovered the simple joy of watching the 1987 smash hit Lethal Weapon.
The sequels are about as entertaining and weighty as cotton candy. The movie equivalent of Chinese food. Ok, even good, in the moment - but then you're hungry for something more substantial about an hour later. And, if you're me, generally drunk as well.
But the first "Lethal Weapon" is everything that is pure and good and right in an '80s action movie. You have your mismatched partners - so different from one another you could use them to teach remedial high school students the literary concept of "foil" (but, not mathematical foil - movie making is not nearly as technical as algebra). You have your "cop on the edge". His climactic fight scene will involve a hardcore beat down, in the rain, and a special appearance of strangulation of the bad guy through the "thighs of power" (or, as Mr. Scoop and guys who watched too much pro "wrestling" in high school like to call it, "Figure Four Leg Lock") and that's after torture of Gibson's character by electrocution (by a guy that would figure prominently in another '80s hit, Big Trouble In Little China). Plus, the family station wagon we all hated to borrow gets blown right the fuck up. And, speaking of explosions, lots of stuff gets blown right the fuck up. A total hallmark of the '80s action movie experience. Right up there with never ending clips of bullets. Which also figure here. And I'm sympathetic to Rianne's sweater and denim mini skirt set when she's taken captive in the desert for the second time. I totally owned that outfit.
But, most importantly, this is the first time we glimpse the madness of Mel Gibson on American soil. It works here, in this movie. It is deliciously attractive. Sadly, however, it will eventually prove to not be acting. We call this folly The Passion Of The Christ.
Do you think "The Passion Of The Christ" pitch went like this:
"We both know why I was transferred. Everyone thinks I'm suicidal, in which case, I'm fucked and nobody wants to work with me; or they think I'm faking to draw a psycho pension, in which case, I'm fucked and nobody wants to work with me.
Basically, I'm fucked.
Oh, plus it's got Jesus in it!"
Meanwhile, I'm going to buy "Lethal Weapon" and pretend the madness stopped there.