Great Christmas Scenes… Lethal Weapon

lethalweaponAs Tom Petty once sang, It’s Christmas All Over Again. To start off the holiday season on RvR, Justin Michaels checks out this scene with everyone’s favourite pyschotic Yuletide cop, Martin Riggs, as he tries to buy a Christmas tree. And lots of lots of drugs.

Shane Black has a thing for Christmas. His often funny but slightly overrated directorial debut, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, is set during the holiday season, a trend he began in the script he penned for Lethal Weapon. Would Lethal Weapon have been a worse film had it had Easter or mid-term school break as its backdrop? Probably not, but the Christmas setting certainly adds fun, particularly as snow and goodwill to all men are such alien concepts to the sunny, spiteful LA we usually see depicted in the movies.

When you rewatch Lethal Weapon after a few years, it’s a joy to rediscover how ‘out there’ Mel Gibson’s performance is as psycho burnout law enforcer Martin Riggs. The lame later sequels effectively diluted all the menace out of Riggs, but in the original he is a brilliant creation of unhinged energy, as eager to blow his own head off as the bad guys’.

Here, Riggs crazily takes on a bunch of scumbags amid rows of Christmas trees, all the while not caring too much whether he lives or dies. It’s not a particularly well-acted scene, but it is powerful. There is the stock bad thesping from the guys playing the drug-dealing goons, some nice Three Stooges slapstick from Gibson and the obligatory loud swearing. I also like it when Gibson lapses into Australian when he spits: ‘ This is a real fackin’ gun!’

Lethal Weapon is raw, edgy, fun and sometimes silly blockbustering, and this scene pretty much sums up that mantra.



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