Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

I saw these films listed as 'drama' recently, but by the time we've reached this one, they’ve unquestionably become a comedy series.

After all the sweat about the bomb under Murtaugh's toilet in 2, here we open with a much bigger bomb that neither party seems quite so worried by. Sure – Murtaugh's playing the agonised straight man to Riggs' happy-go-lucky foil, but therein lies the problem.

In the opening movie, Riggs was unafraid of death because he genuinely wanted to die. There was a terrific deleted scene in which he was able to walk-into a hail of gunfire because he was secretly hoping to get hit. But those demons are now long since exorcised, yet he still thinks nothing of possibly getting both himself and his best friend blown to bits.

Even the bomb itself is a cartoon one, complete with considerately-included beeping, red LED countdown and coloured wires. Thanks, bomb-makers.

This opening sequence is very well executed, and sets the tone well for everything that follows. Riggs is reckless because he's a regular movie-cop, and accordingly doesn't have the fear of death that a real person would. The woman only hates him because she's going to go to bed with him later. Joe Pesci is in the film because he was popular in the last one.

If this were drama, then it would be wooden, predictable, cardboard drama. If it be comedy on the other hand, then these well-worn stereotypes do their job well.

Could it be a comedy-drama? Maybe, if it were all set in a remotely believable world.

Where the comic formula does fail for me in this one is that the main players are all a little nastier this time. When the villain, who thinks he's God, is fighting the woman, who thinks that she is, I just couldn't root for either.

That said, the woman (I'm sorry I can't even remember her name) fits right in with the regular leads, mainly because she's as hopeless at her job as they are. If she works for internal investigations, then she really ought to have dealt with Riggs and Murtaugh on many, many previous occasions when they've broken the law, mainly by murdering people, including those with diplomatic immunity, and not even in self-defence.

Still, looking forward to the last (as yet) instalment.

Review of Lethal Weapon here
Review of Lethal Weapon 2 here
Review of Lethal Weapon 4 here


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