Director: Richard Donner
If you’ve read my reviews of the previous films of the series, you know how much I love them: they’re among the finest action flicks of the 80s. The third outing is still really cool, as our favorite LAPD cops hit the 90s with a bang. The relationship between Mel Gibson and Danny Glover is closer than over. They’re practically living together! I’ve always found their friendship very interesting. It’s kinda like a mix of trust and exasperation. Gibson shows us a Martin Riggs smoother, funnier and more charming than ever. Who would know that just a few years back, he was a suicidal psychotic ? Glover is also at the top of his form, and though his Roger Murtaugh is still grumpy at times, he also seems to be taking it easier. Well, he’s got only 8 days before retirement, so he got to be happy. This second sequel also brings back a gallery of colorful supporting characters. There’s Murtaugh’s wife and kids, Captain Murphy, the force’s psychologist and more notably, the unique Leo Getz. Joe Pesci’s whiny character is now a real estate agent, but he still wants Riggs and Murtaugh to make him a partner in their investigation.
This time, they’re after a badass ex-cop who uses his knowledge to steal weapons taken off the street. But I won’t spend to much time on the plot, since even the film doesn’t. It’s pretty much just an excuse to throw Riggs and Murtaugh from one deadly situation to another. Once again, director Richard Donner has crafted many breathtaking action scenes. What I like with the action in this series is that it has a enthusiasm that other pictures often lack. Whether it’s a bomb defusing, a chase between armored trucks or a shoot-out, it’s always very enjoyable. Each scene is inventive and Donner’s direction is sharp. And mostly, we get more involved since the characters are so fun. Still, even though the film is packed with thrills, there’s also a bunch of quieter scenes that work well. I especially enjoyed the scene when Riggs comforts a drunk Murtaugh. It’s one of the best male bonding scenes I’ve seen. I had teary eyes, for God’s sake!
The film also features some romance, as Mel Gibson seduces Lorna Cole, a sergeant from Internal Affairs played by the delightful Rene Russo. She’s way more hard-edged than the apple pie Dutch secretary that Gibson nailed in the previous film: you gotta see her kung-fuing her way through bad guys! Russo is one of the reasons the series still feels fresh even though this is the third film. Donner’s assured direction, Eric Clapton’s bluesy score and top notch performances make “Lethal Weapon” the most consistently entertaining franchise of all times. “LW3” is no exception.