Saturday, 10 March 2012

Lethal Weapon 3, dir. Richard Donner, scr. Jeffrey Boam, Robert Mark Kamen, st. Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Rene Russo, Stuart Wilson, Joe Pesci

Lethal Weapon 3 from 1992 may feature latter-day, unfunny Joe Pesci and sport a villain as threatening as the managing director  of Cranbourne Homes, but it's got real heart and a great foil for the duo in the form of Rene Russo as Lorna Cole, an initially po-faced Internal Affairs sergeant who softens once she and Gibson compare old battle wounds. There's Murtaugh, inconsolable at having killed a machine pistol-wielding gang member, one of his son's friends. In the augmented reality of most shoot-'em-up actioners these days, it seems unthinkable you'd take 20 minutes out to have our protagonist grieve over a justified shooting. And this leads to Riggs and Murtaugh's confrontation on a boat, Murtaugh numbing the pain with alcohol, Riggs admitting that Murtaugh's the only family he has, and retirement for one is retirement for both. Amongst moments of near-slapstick comedy spread liberally throughout the film, this is one of many scenes that's played with absolute solemnity, cementing the emotional bond between these two mismatched cops, and our relationship with them. Lethal Weapon 3 is profane, funny, not hugely inventively directed, but darker than you may remember - kids with guns, a sad end for a fresh-faced rookie, police corruption - and it all hurtles along at a giddy pace.