Lethal Weapon (film series)

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Lethal Weapon
LethalWeaponseries.jpg
Lethal Weapon collection Blu-ray cover
Directed by Richard Donner
Produced by Richard Donner
Joel Silver
Written by Lethal Weapon:
Shane Black
Screenplay by Lethal Weapon 2:
Jeffrey Boam
Lethal Weapon 3:
Jeffrey Boam
Robert Mark Kamen
Lethal Weapon 4:
Channing Gibson
Story by Lethal Weapon 2:
Shane Black
Warren Murphy
Lethal Weapon 3:
Jeffrey Boam
Lethal Weapon 4:
Jonathan Lemkin
Alfred Gough
Miles Millar
Starring Mel Gibson
Danny Glover
Joe Pesci
Music by Michael Kamen
Eric Clapton
David Sanborn
Production
  company
Silver Pictures
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) 1987–1998
Country United States
Language English
Budget $175,000,000 (est.)
Box office $955,237,298

Lethal Weapon is a series of films starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as a pair of L.A.P.D. detectives. All four films in the series were directed by Richard Donner and also share many of the same core cast members.

Films[edit]

Lethal Weapon (1987)[edit]

Main article: Lethal Weapon

Struggling with age and retirement, homicide detective Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is partnered with young and suicidal narcotics officer Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson). Together, they work the case of the alleged suicide of Amanda Hunsaker, daughter of a wealthy businessman who served with Murtaugh in Vietnam. Murtaugh and Riggs soon discover that Hunsaker was involved in a heroin-smuggling scheme led by a retired general (Mitchell Ryan) and his lead enforcer (Gary Busey).

Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)[edit]

Main article: Lethal Weapon 2

During a car chase, Riggs and Murtaugh stumble upon a trunk full of smuggled South African Krugerrands. This sparks a series of attempts at their lives, forcing them to take a less dangerous case, protecting Leo Getz (Joe Pesci), a loud-mouthed whistleblower. However, they realize that Getz was involved in the same South African illegal activities. As a result, they become entangled in a drug-smuggling operation involving South African diplomats in Los Angeles, using their immunity as a shield. Riggs kills the murderer of his wife who is among the criminals.

Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)[edit]

Main article: Lethal Weapon 3

As Murtaugh, who is one week from retiring, and Riggs investigate a robbery committed using a duplicate armored car, they find themselves in the middle of an Internal Affairs investigation led by Sergeant Lorna Cole (Rene Russo). The subject of the investigation is a rogue AWOL cop (Stuart Wilson) who is stealing impounded weapons and selling them on the black market. During the investigation, Murtaugh shoots and kills a teenager who attacks him and Riggs; he turns out to be a friend of his own son. This prompts Murtaugh to capture the man responsible for the distribution of illegal firearms and to rethink his retirement.

Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)[edit]

Main article: Lethal Weapon 4

While both Lorna and Murtaugh's daughter Rianne are pregnant, Riggs and Murtaugh must pair with rookie Detective Lee Butters (Chris Rock) to investigate a Chinese immigrant smuggling ring. Wah Sing Ku (Jet Li) is a ruthless enforcer who personally attempts to murder Murtaugh's family by burning them alive in their own home. As the story progresses, Murtaugh discovers that Lee is the father of his daughter's unborn child. Murtaugh and Riggs slay dozens of Chinese gangsters and ultimately manage to catch up with the boss of the smuggling ring.

Future[edit]

There has been talk of a fifth Lethal Weapon film, although both Mel Gibson and Danny Glover have expressed disinterest. In 2007, Moviehole.net received word from sources that Warner Bros. were in the early stages of trying to relaunch the Lethal Weapon series sometime in 2009 or later.[1] A spec script treatment was written by Shane Black,[2] leading to rumors that the sequel was on fast track by Warner Bros. with Black in the director's chair. Actor Columbus Short said he was being considered for the role of Murtaugh's son.[3] Director Richard Donner was not involved with these plans, but had his own ideas for a Lethal Weapon 5. According to the LA Times, Gibson refused to reprise his role as Martin Riggs for the fifth time, which Donner thought was out of personal loyalty because Donner is not involved.[4] Joel Silver later confirmed Gibson’s lack of interest in the project.[5] "We talked about it, but it was something that Mel didn't want to do now," he explained. "It doesn't mean that he doesn't want to do it ever, but as of right now, he doesn't."[6] There are presently no plans for a fifth movie. It was reported by The Tracking Board that the studio was planning to reboot the film series with the working title "Lionhunters", with Justin Lin directing, Will Beall writing, Black involved in the new film and Chris Hemsworth on the producers' radar for the starring role.[7]

In the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "Dee Reynolds: Shaping America's Youth", Mac and Dennis Reynolds made a fan-made Lethal Weapon 5 along with Frank Reynolds. This was followed up with the season 9 episode "The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6."

Cast[edit]

The series is notable as having great continuity within its cast, with every recurring character in each film being played by the same actor or actress throughout. Even relatively minor characters, such as Roger Murtaugh's younger family members and his L.A.P.D. co-workers, are played repeatedly by the same people (although some of these characters are killed off as the series progresses).

Character Film
Lethal Weapon Lethal Weapon 2 Lethal Weapon 3 Lethal Weapon 4
Martin Riggs Mel Gibson
Roger Murtaugh Danny Glover
Leo Getz   Joe Pesci
Lorna Cole   Rene Russo
Gen. Peter McAllister Mitchell Ryan  
Mr. Joshua Gary Busey  
Michael Hunsaker Tom Atkins  
Jack Travis   Stuart Wilson  
Lee Butters   Chris Rock
Wah Sing Ku   Jet Li
Trish Murtaugh Darlene Love
Rianne Murtaugh Traci Wolfe
Nick Murtaugh Damon Hines
Carrie Murtaugh Ebonie Smith
Captain Ed Murphy Steve Kahan
Dr. Stephanie Woods Mary Ellen Trainor

Crew[edit]

Position Film
Lethal Weapon Lethal Weapon 2 Lethal Weapon 3 Lethal Weapon 4
Director Richard Donner
Writers Shane Black Robert Mark Kamen Jonathan Lemkin
  Jeffrey Boam Alfred Gough & Miles Millar
  Warren Murphy   Channing Gibson
Producers Richard Donner
Joel Silver
Composers Eric Clapton
Michael Kamen
  David Sanborn
Director of Photography Stephen Goldblatt Jan de Bont Andrzej Bartkowiak
Editors Stuart Baird Robert Brown & Battle Davis Dallas Puett, Kevin Stitt, Eric Strand & Frank J. Urioste
Production Designer J. Michael Riva James Spencer J. Michael Riva

Reception[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office revenue Box office ranking Budget Profit Reference
United States Foreign Worldwide All time domestic All time worldwide
Lethal Weapon March 6, 1987 $65,207,127 $55,000,000 $120,207,127 #795 $15,000,000 $105,207,127 [8][9]
Lethal Weapon 2 July 7, 1989 $147,253,986 $80,600,000 $227,853,986 #190
#172(A)
#323 $25,000,000 $202,853,986 [10]
Lethal Weapon 3 May 15, 1992 $144,731,527 $177,000,000 $321,731,527 #199
#189(A)
#189 $35,000,000 $286,731,527 [11]
Lethal Weapon 4 July 10, 1998 $130,444,603 $155,000,000 $285,444,603 #255 #236 $140,000,000 $145,444,603 [12]
Total $487,637,243 $467,600,000 $955,237,243 $215,000,000(E) $740,237,243(E)
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.
  • (E) indicates an estimated figure based on available numbers.
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical reaction[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
Lethal Weapon 84% (40 reviews)[13] 67 (14 reviews)[14]
Lethal Weapon 2 83% (34 reviews)[15] 70 (13 reviews)[16]
Lethal Weapon 3 56% (39 reviews)[17] 36 (17 reviews)[18]
Lethal Weapon 4 52% (61 reviews)[19] 37 (21 reviews)[20]
Average Ratings 71% 53

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Will Lethal Weapon be reloaded?". Moviehole.net. August 6, 2007.
  2. ^ "Gibson and Glover Up for Lethal Weapon 5?". Comingsoon.net. August 6, 2008.
  3. ^ "Lethal Weapon 5 Exclusive". IGN.com. October 6, 2008.
  4. ^ "Richard Donner says 'Lethal Weapon 5' is 'dead in the water'". Los Angeles Times blog. October 13, 2008.
  5. ^ "Joel Silver & Susan Downey on Sgt. Rock & More". Comingsoon.net. November 9, 2008.
  6. ^ "'Lethal Weapon 5' is NOT Dead". Worstpreviews.com. November 10, 2008.
  7. ^ "{TB EXCLUSIVE} CHRIS HEMSWORTH OFFERED A "LETHAL WEAPON" IN FRANCHISE REBOOT". The Tracking Board. May 8, 2014. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Lethal Weapon (1987)". Box Office Mojo. 
  9. ^ "Lethal Weapon - Production Budget". The-Numbers. 
  10. ^ "Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)". Box Office Mojo. 
  11. ^ "Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)". Box Office Mojo. 
  12. ^ "Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)". Box Office Mojo. 
  13. ^ "Lethal Weapon". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  14. ^ "Lethal Weapon (1987): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  15. ^ "Lethal Weapon 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  16. ^ "Lethal Weapon 2 (1989): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  17. ^ "Lethal Weapon 3". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  18. ^ "Lethal Weapon 3 (1992): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  19. ^ "Lethal Weapon 4". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-12-02. 
  20. ^ "Lethal Weapon 4 (1998): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-12-02.