"I'll just get my gear."

Lethal Weapon 2

I already wrote about LETHAL WEAPON 2 along with the rest of the LETHAL WEAPON series back in 2014. I’m still happy with that review. It covers much of what’s relevant about the movie, and even features a scan from my beloved Summer 1989 Warner Brothers Catalog (as seen in the BATMAN review). But I didn’t think I should skip over the movie in this series because it’s such a crucial piece of what I’m talking about here. So the earlier review still stands, but here’s a partially overlapping supplemental look at LETHAL WEAPON 2 focusing on its place in the action movies of summer ’89.

LETHAL WEAPON (1987) was of course a quintessential ’80s action movie, the Platonic ideal of a buddy cop picture, and one of the originators of the idea of Mel Gibson and producer Joel Silver (ROAD HOUSE) as action kings. But part 2 is more my idea of what “a LETHAL WEAPON movie” is like because it invented how to sequelize that movie and make it about the continuing adventures of that now-established friendship. It takes what was already seen as heightened and makes it bigger, sexier, funnier, lethal-er (apparently it’s the biggest body count in the series at 33), creating a template (and new character in Leo Getz, played by Joe Pesci a year before GOODFELLAS) that would be used for two more sequels in the ’90s.

One obvious personnel connection to other movies of the summer is composer Michael Kamen (FOR QUEEN & COUNTRY, RENEGADES, ROAD HOUSE). Since the first LETHAL he’d become action’s premiere composer simply by scoring action’s premiere movie, DIE HARD. The score of LETHAL WEAPON was itself a buddy pairing between Kamen’s bombastic orchestra and Eric Clapton’s white-bluesy guitar noodling. For part 2 they add in smooth saxophonist David Sanborn, so in my opinion the sax represents Leo.

I don’t know – it fits the whole LETHAL WEAPON vibe. It works. But there’s something kinda comical about squawking saxophone used as a horror sting as one of our heroes is ambushed by attackers in ski masks.

(In other music news, this was the week that Milli Vanilli’s “Baby, Don’t Forget My Number” ceded the #1 spot to “Good Thing” by Fine Young Cannibals.)

An arguably more important connection: Paul Abascal was the hairstylist for both this and ROAD HOUSE. Abascal’s experience as one of the world’s greatest mullet wranglers famously led to him taking over as director on PAYBACK, and later directing the Mel Gibson produced action-star-avenges-sleazy-photographers thriller PAPARAZZI (which will always hold a dear place in my heart as the review that Titan’s legal department wouldn’t allow me to include in Yippee Ki Yay Moviegoer because it speculated that Gibson had committed a series of vigilante murders during the filming of this movie).

We started this review series with RED SCORPION, the Dolph Lundgren movie produced by Republican operatives in covert cooperation with the apartheid-era South African government and military to warn about the spread of communism in Africa. LETHAL director Richard Donner was also interested in putting political and social messages in his action movies. At the time there was concern about dolphins being killed by tuna nets, so the Murtaugh family is boycotting tuna (and Leo also apolitically talks about hating tuna sandwiches). The subplot about Murtaugh being embarrassed by his daughter (Tracie Wolfe) appearing in a condom commercial works as a riff on generational change and his uptightness, but I suspect Donner also wanted it in there for safe sex visibility, another thing that seemed somewhat progressive at the time.

Most crucially, and most opposite of RED SCORPION, this is a movie where the violent-drug-dealers-protected-by-diplomatic-immunity villains are racist white South Africans. As I discussed in the other review, it’s amazing that this didn’t become a common action movie trope. Could movie producers have worried it would contradict their years of gleefully machine-gunning commies? As I noted before, the producers of RED SCORPION weren’t the only ones willing to look the other way and sing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” for the racists who are willing to help them out. Republicans including the Cheney family, while not openly supporting the horrendous racial segregation, called Nelson Mandela (played by Glover in a 1987 HBO movie) a terrorist, or claimed the divestment he called for would only hurt his people, and considered South Africa an ally in fighting communism. Though “communism” was the government’s smear for anyone who fought for racial equality.

To their credit, there were plenty of Republicans on the right side of history on this. Senator Richard Lugar, for example, helped organize 31 out of 64 Republican Senators to join all 47 Democrats in overriding Reagan’s veto of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act. Despite that loss, Reagan (who used the argument that apartheid was real bad but this was not the way to fight it) never complied with all the sanctions. His successor George H.W. Bush committed to full enforcement in ’89, almost definitely for sure I am positive because he saw LETHAL WEAPON 2 [citation needed].

I think Donner was right to assume everybody who wasn’t a fucking asshole could enjoy the idea of pro-apartheid villains. I did find one contemporary example of someone being offended by it, and it was some guy on a bulletin board who blamed the movie on the Jews – at least I think that’s what he means by “(((the usual hollywood suspects)))” – and wonders what Gibson, having had a “radical change of view against (((them))),” thinks of the movie now.

To non-fucking-assholes, though, there’s something beautiful about the ’80s’ most iconic black-white buddy duo fighting criminals who happen to be segregationists. I also love the gradual way they introduce the subject into the movie. When a car chase mysteriously leads to a trunkful of South African currency, and then there’s a seemingly unrelated run-in with South Africans, Riggs says, “South Africa. Home of the Krugerrand.”

To him it’s a clue. To Murtaugh it’s more personal. “Among other things,” he says.

In scenes at the South African Embassy, it becomes more explicit. Riggs holds an “END APARTHEID NOW” sign with protesters at the entrance to the building, though he’s only doing it as a means to stare down and intimidate the chief villain, Rudd (Joss Ackland, who played a Nazi in HITLER: THE LAST TEN DAYS and Russian in THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER and K-19: THE WIDOWMAKER). Murtaugh has a funnier scene where he pretends he wants to emigrate to South Africa, causing discomfort and confusion before launching into a righteous tirade.

In the end, Rudd is killed by his trailer full of money. A nice symbol for the divestment movement. We don’t need to trade with you fuckers. I don’t remember if part 3 ever addresses the fact that they went rogue and killed an ambassador. How did they get away with that?

A few unsourced claims on IMDb I found intriguing:

1. “Shown unscheduled on Australian television the night Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa.”
2. The movie played uncut in South Africa and was a hit

I’d really like to know if #2 is really true, but I couldn’t find any information about it. I did come across an archived episode of a show called South Africa Now that (starting at 17:35) reports on the movie using South African villains. But it doesn’t get into it at all, and I think it’s a show for southern African countries, not just South Africa. Another episode uses a clip of Murtaugh and Leo in the embassy alongside Jesse Jackson, DO THE RIGHT THING, Stetsasonic and Chuck D in a report on the trend of afrocentricity in the U.S. That was a cool time capsule.

I also found many references to later South African president F.W. de Klerk being inspired by Glover and the movie to begin dismantling apartheid, some even saying he used the phrase “one man, one vote” as a slogan after seeing Murtaugh use it in the movie. I’m skeptical, and could only find various repeats and paraphrases of the same trivia item, no original source. But the book Mandela: The Authorized Biography by Anthony Sampson at least references the movie as a sign of world opinion turning against the country. “And in the meantime the Afrikaners were becoming more isolated than ever, as the world’s scapegoats: in a blockbuster movie of 1989, Lethal Weapon 2, the villains had Afrikaner accents.”

I still really like this movie, and it’s fun to be able to root for diversity and against racial oppression through the medium of action movie. But I gotta admit it’s a little disingenuous, or at least naive, as presented, and not because of Gibson’s later infamy. There are a bunch of scenes about workplace camaraderie: people at the station joking around, playing pranks on each other, making silly bets, getting together for poker. I love that in the scene where the cops taunt Murtaugh by leaving a condom-covered tree on his desk, after they walk away his anger melts away and he laughs about it. These scenes organically set us up for later events (the upsetting assassinations of a bunch of these officers, the ability of Riggs to escape bondage by dislocating his shoulder), but they’re also just a fun, feel good portrayal of white and black officers who love, respect and count on each other.

And I’m sure there’s some truth to that, but less than two years after this the beating of Rodney King woke those who were sleeping to horrendous racial issues in the real life Los Angeles Police Department – problems that have continued to repeat themselves in other departments around the country for decades. So let’s not get too cocky here, America.

Also, there’s a line where the South Africans’ money stash is referred to as “Millions! Billions! A fuckin Donald Trump lotto!” Kind of ironic today, since Trump and his party have been so dedicated to securing minority rule in America through voter suppression, gerrymandering and rigging the census against “Democrats and non-Hispanic whites.”

Original screenwriter Shane Black gets a “story by” credit (along with REMO WILLIAMS novelist Warren Murphy), but his script was famously too dark for Donner. It has not been leaked, but it is known to have had Riggs sacrificing his life to save the Murtaugh family. Black has said it had Leo (but only in one scene), and it had Riggs pulling down the stilt house. Interestingly, it was Jeffrey Boam who did the many rewrites to make it more light-hearted. That’s the same guy who wrote INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, so he had a pretty good summer.

Not only that, but KARATE KID PART III screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen claims to have done some script doctoring on it. Although many sources refer to the villains in Black’s script as South African, Kamen told our friend Fred Topel (in the same interview I quoted for KK III) that it was his idea:

I wrote on lots and lots of films where I took no credit. Lots. But I did this for five years at Warner Bros. On Lethal 2, the whole idea of the South African villains was all my stuff because I had just come back from South Africa researching this film The Power of One that I wrote.

He later received credit on LETHAL WEAPON 3, so at least part of his story seems to check out.

Like LAST CRUSADE, this sequel is largely constructed of funny character bits stringing together a series of spectacular stunt sequences. Instead of flying around the world they’re just driving around L.A., but it opens with a big car chase, it has a fall from a tall hotel into a swimming pool, Murtaugh shoots a guy with an overly established nail gun, his toilet explodes, Jeanette Goldstein (ALIENS) gets blown up on a diving board, Riggs is attacked by machine gun guys in a helicopter, and he yanks that house down with his pick up truck, among other things. One cool stunt I noticed involves Riggs running and climbing onto a moving tow truck. It looks like it’s a stuntman and then Gibson in the same shot? And then Gibson for real on a moving truck.

Stunt coordinator (and Gibson double, as shown in that WB catalog) Mic Rogers had previously doubled Gibson in LETHAL WEAPON and TEQUILA SUNRISE. He also did stunts in ROAD HOUSE. In addition to sticking with Gibson for BIRD ON A WIRE, LETHAL WEAPON 2 and 3, BRAVEHEART, CONSPIRACY THEORY, PAYBACK , THE PATRIOT and APOCALYPTO, he was the stunt coordinator for THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS and director of UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: THE RETURN. ROAD HOUSE’s Charlie Picerni is also credited as stunt coordinator.

Cinematographer Stephen Goldblatt (THE HUNGER, THE COTTON CLUB, BATMAN & ROBIN) was actually born in South Africa, but moved to London as a child.

Legacy:

Followed by two sequels and a recast/reboot TV series. Boam went on to write THE PHANTOM. In 1990, Glover starred in PREDATOR 2, also produced by Silver. Apartheid ended in 1994.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 10:18 am and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

87 Responses to “Lethal Weapon 2”

  1. My favorite thing about Lethal Weapon 2 is that Riggs threatens to fuck the villains on more than occasion.

  2. I’m glad Vern’s double-dipping in this summer series – some movies definitely deserve new reviews that change with the times and this is one of them. Anyways, I rewatched the whole series recently and even though this is commonly regarded as the best one, for me it was missing the freshness and character introductions of the first one, and the full-circle finality of the last one. That’s not a knock on it – I know you can only have two adversaries fall in brotherly love once, and you can only have them ride off into the sunset together once. That being said, as a middle-chapter/sequel, this is absolutely perfect- it’s almost like Aliens how it feels like an expertly formulated blend of “kinda the same thing, but different”. The good shit from the first one is bigger and better, and the new stuff (like adding Leo and giving Riggs a love interest) makes it feel fresh while still feeling like the same series. Speaking of which, I kinda love that the first movie never had a car chase, so this movie just starts in medias res of a big car chase as if they’re addressing it, meta-style.

    The only thing that really bothered me this time was Rika’s death. No, not because she got “fridged” (btw, that would never happen today and the internet would demand that Rika show “agency” by kicking a dude in the nuts or something). I’m bothered because WTF was Riggs thinking dropping Rika off at her own apartment after the helicopter attack?!? Like, you’re not going to take her to the police station? And Rika says “i’m going to quit first thing tomorrow”. You’re going to still go to the office after your boss sent a bunch of goons/coworkers to machine gun a cop? It’s not a dealbreaker or anything but it’s a curiously sloppy part in a generally tight script.

  3. Yeah, that was pretty ridiculous. I do think it’s charming when he drops her off and leaves so happy, in the middle of a school boy crush. But you’re right, it doesn’t fit there at all.

  4. “For part 2 they add in smooth saxophonist David Sanborn, so in my opinion the sax represents Leo.”

    I haven’t finished this review yet but I had to stop and say that Sanborn was on the first soundtrack, too. He handled all of Murtaugh’s themes while Clapton did Riggs’. Kamen did everything else. I’m pretty sure that’s the way it worked for all the sequels, too.

  5. “And I’m sure there’s some truth to that, but less than two years after this the beating of Rodney King woke those who were sleeping to horrendous racial issues in the real life Los Angeles Police Department – problems that have continued to repeat themselves in other departments around the country for decades. So let’s not get too cocky here, America.”

    I would almost say that’s what they’re going for with Lethal Weapon 3 having a dirty cop for the villain, but the movie is so limp that it doesn’t come off as anything but a Saturday morning cartoon villain who’s evil for the sake of being evil.

  6. Is LETHAL WEAPON now your most reviewed series, with 50% of them being reviewed twice?

  7. Adding to Mr. M’s comment about the score, Leo has a muted trumpet theme in part 3 and 4.

  8. I still quote “Diplomatic immunity!” on a regular basis. Also “They’ve been de-kaffir-nated”, but that one doesn’t tend to crop up naturally in conversation.

  9. caruso_stalker217

    July 17th, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    Riggs is dead in the last shot of this film.

    Certainly in my top three movie sequels.

  10. Caruso – yeah it was really obvious watching it this time that the final shot was for the original ending where he dies. I’ll go ahead and say if the internet was around when this movie came out and there was no Lethal Weapon 3, there would totally be Youtube videos obsessing over whether or not Riggs died at the end like it’s the end of Inception or something. “The Ending of Lethal Weapon 2- Explained!” Actually, I’m kinda surprised there aren’t some fan theories saying he did die and Parts 3 and 4 are Riggs’ dying fever dream/wish fulfillment. (Actually that might explain Leo’s ridiculous dream-like appearances in the sequels now I think about it)

    My sister saw the movie way before i did and when she told me Riggs died at the end and I was like wait what??? I don’t think she saw a test screening or rough cut or something, but I can totally see how you could interpret the ending that way – there’s no reveal he’s wearing a vest or has a Bible/flask in his pocket that blocked the bullet like you’d normally see in a movie like this; there’s really no explanation for why he’s at death’s door (Knocking on Heaven’s Door!) and then suddenly he’s not. There’s just that one ADR’d line where Roger goes “Where’d that bullet hit you anyway?” which Riggs never answers until the scar-comparing scene in Part 3.

    I’m glad they didn’t kill Riggs because I love where the sequels take the characters and I don’t really get the thematic point of him dying at the hands of the same assholes who killed his wife. But him dying in Roger’s arms while they’re cracking jokes and still teasing and giving each other shit would still be a great ending in its own way.

  11. caruso_stalker217

    July 18th, 2019 at 10:14 am

    Also, I’ve never seen this confirmed anywhere, but I’m pretty sure he actually dies onscreen when Murtaugh is calling his name.

    At about the 1:20 mark here, that sure looks like a guy dying to me.

  12. caruso_stalker217

    July 18th, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Looks like my link fu failed pretty hard there.

  13. Clapton, Kamen and Sanborn’s first collaboration was not this, or even the first LETHAL WEAPON. They all appeared together on Roger Waters’ THE PROS AND CONS OF HITCHHIKING in 1984. Clapton and Kamen even toured with Roger on it for the first European and North American stints, before bailing out.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWwJzpHdX1M

  14. In my mind South Africans and white supremacists did become a stock villain type before Russian mobsters and sex traffickers took over.

    Think I saw this at the cinema before I’d seen the first one but still enjoyed it.

  15. This has to be one of my most watched movies ever. Like seriously I wore out 2 VHS dubbed copies of it I watched it so damn much. Till this day if it’s on TV I let it rock in the background even if I’m not watching. How appropriate that it is statistically indeed the most LETHAL. Cause it always certainly felt that way.

  16. One of my fellow Hoosiers Dean Norris’ first appearances on screen.

  17. Hi there Mr. Vern.

    I think Murtaugh’s anti-apartheid stand was very obvious from day one and by that I mean from the very first film. Maybe it’s something Black wrote into the script as a note (haven’t read it yet but plan to someday) or maybe it was Donner’s input but if you look closely to the fridge in Murtaugh’s house you could see an anti-apartheid sticker. Obviously the sticker went unnoticed the first time you watched part 1, unless you’re obsessed with art direction, like myself, but once you get through the series many times you start to catch these amazing characterization details.

    ***

    P.S. How come you haven’t written about the Lethal Weapon tv reboot?

  18. Vern doesn’t write much about TV at all.

  19. Rossatron looks at the Lethal Weapon series.

    The Lethal Weapons - (1987 - 1998 Film Franchise Review)

    Lethal Weapon was once one of the most enduring action franchises in the world, but how does the series hold up today? Is it simply a case of diminishing ret...

  20. So after all these years of us discussing the possibility LETHAL 5 finally seems to be a go. I guess the success of BAD BOYS FOR LIFE (a.k.a. the real BAD BOYS II but with a title that should’ve been reserved for a fourth part) really made WB say “fuck it what the hell?!?”

    Depending on where they take the story I’m open to it but please do not make baby Riggs and grandchild of Murtaugh into cops or anything. Keep it focused on those 2 old coots on one last ride por favor. Maybe it’s not too late for Walter Hill to convince Nick Nolte and Eddie that the world needs YET ANOTHER 48 HRS?

  21. Shane Black had an idea for a fifth one he shared on a podcast around the time THE NICE GUYS was coming out. Basically Riggs and Murtaugh in a New York City snowstorm taking on bad guys. I think a story just focusing on the two of them, with everyone else to the side wouldn’t be a bad way to go out as what I’ve read so far is saying it will be the final one.

  22. The vibe I’m getting is that this is less about saying goodbye to Riggs and Murtaugh and more about the old gang getting together one last time and saying goodbye to Richard Donner, who really brought the whole extended sitcom family to the proceedings, both onscreen and behind the scenes. Donner long ago replaced Black as the primary auteur of the series so I really can’t see them doing something stripped down and gritty like Black suggested. Riggs and Murtaugh are Black’s characters so that’s who he cares about, but Donner is about the ensemble. He’s going to want every single surviving cast member coming through for hugs and catchphrases. I wouldn’t be surprised if the contractor from part 2 rolls through and says “She made me want to buy rubbers.” And I’m okay with it. Let Donner do his victory lap. The old warhorse has more than earned it. Then maybe Black can come back and do his UNFORGIVEN version in a few years when everybody is REALLY too old for this shit. I think both interpretations of the material have value.

    Just no more TV shows, guys. That’s all I ask.

  23. The tv show ended up being terrible.

  24. The last season was wack because of lack of Riggs but I’d say terrible for the entire series is an exaggeration. I’d take the first 2 seasons over CSI, NCIS and any other prime time procedural easily.

  25. I liked it right up until the bullshit thing where the dad is suddenly alive and I stopped caring at that point.

  26. Guys it seems like Riggs and Murtaugh will end up with 5 movies like Dirty Harry after all. After we all thought it died with Donner’s passing in comes Mad Mel to occupy the director’s chair.

    Mel Gibson to Direct ‘Lethal Weapon 5’

    The move comes after the project was put in limbo when director Richard Donner, who'd helmed all the 'Weapon' movies since their inception in 1987, died in July.

    This will either be worth the wait or A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD. No in-betweens. As fucked in the head and repugnant as Gibson proved to be as a human being he is without a doubt still one of the greatest living directors Hollywood’s ever seen. I’ll stay on the ledge with this one and hope some crazy suicidal cop doesn’t pop up next to me and handcuff me so that we can jump off in unison.

  27. “As fucked in the head and repugnant as Gibson proved to be as a human being he is without a doubt still one of the greatest living directors Hollywood’s ever seen.”

    And that’s a line I’ve always been comfortable drawing.

    But LW5 seems an odd fit for Gibson, unless of course it’s a labor of love to honor a director he’s always had an amazing working relationship with.

    The common through line across the Gibson-directed movies from THE MAN WITH NO FACE up to HACKSAW RIDGE is the brutal wringer his lone protagonists are put through to uphold their principles/beliefs/mission. How Gibson’s visceral, kinetic style (the man’s almost Paul Verhoeven-ish in that regard) is going to be applied to the 5th installment of a venerated buddy cop franchise that always walked the fine line between comedy and action will be interesting.

  28. Not to be a Grumpy Bear about this Funshine of an announcement, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Maybe I’ll see it in a triple bill with BEVERLY HILLS COP 4 and TODD MCFARLANE’S SPAWN: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE, the trifecta of films I’ve been hearing about for the duration of our young century.

  29. Gibson is one of the all-time great leading men and a pretty damn good director, too, despite his fondness for shameless schmaltz (thankfully leavened by his even greater fondness for gratuitous gore). Knowing the sick, sad truth about him didn’t make me swear him off entirely. Not even DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE, still far and away the least enjoyable motion picture experience I’ve ever undertaken by choice, could do that. But what it DID do is ensure that I am no longer interested in laughing with him. He can go ahead and play bitter, grizzled, beaten-down old bastards for the rest of his life for all I care. He’s good at it, and if the industry insists on keeping him in the public eye, it’s a good use of the queasy aura he projects. But making puns, being a lovable scamp, hanging out sharing laughs and hugs with the Murtaugh family? Nah. That went out with the “pack of N-words” line. I ain’t falling for that twinkle in the eye ever again. If Dick Donner, as heart-on-his-sleeve a liberal softie as Hollywood has ever produced, was still around to make sure none of Mel’s toxic bullshit seeps into the series, I’d MAYBE be game. But now? With Mel himself at the helm for Christ’s sake? Nope. Not a chance.

  30. It will definitely be interesting to see what comes of this, if anything. I’m on record calling Mel one of the absolute best directors working today, but none of the movies he’s done so far feel at all tonally similar to LETHAL WEAPON.* They’re operatic and epic and weepy and mostly humorless, and although he’s acted in his share of comedies it seems like a stretch to imagine he’ll be comfortable directing something with such a cheerful, frivolous tone. But I’m definitely interested, which is not something I’d ever imagined I might say about a LETHAL WEAPON sequel ever again, even if Donner had lived to do it. The real question is: can he convince Joe Pesci to come bacK?

    (requisite acknowledgement that he seems like a really horrible person)

    * Except maybe the wacky POLICE-ACADEMY-style shenanigans in the early scenes of APOCALYPTO?

  31. Well, you gotta hand it to Gibson. He stuck it out until it turned out that half of Hollywood were sex criminals or woman beaters or potential cannibals, then bam, comeback. In your face, Armie Hammer.

  32. Actually, there’s a bit of lowbrow/slapstick/scatological humor at the beginning of all of Mel’s auteuristical/historical works. Even THE PATRIOT has the bit with the collapsing chairs. I think the strategy is to try to get past the distancing stiffness of most period films by showing audiences that folks in every time period were the same: They laughed at farts and butts just like we do.

    None of this makes a good case for him directing a LETHAL WEAPON though, which is about banter and timing and chemistry, none of which are particularly on display in Gibson’s directorial work. I can’t even imagine him WANTING to do it. It sure seems like a job he’s only taking because he can’t get anything else off the ground. The full Jason “I can’t run from my legacy any longer” Reitman Special.

  33. Really weirdo choice overall…ANOTHER of these movies and Gibson directing? I wouldn’t give a shit about this at all if not for Gibson helming this, cause I wonder what the hell he may do. Might be interesting to see if it skews closer to 1 or 2 and get more harder edged again. Those had a lot of comedy but they also came off a lot more brutal.

    As for Mel’s toxic bullshit not coming into the series…maybe, but Donner did a good enough job making sure the originals glorified police murdering people, intimidating subjects, beating up people who didn’t do that much wrong and making lots of racial jokes…ha ha flied lice, cause they’re Chinese. Works for Gibson!

  34. News Flash! R-Rated Buddy Cop Action Movie from the 80s and 90s found to portray law enforcement officials frequently violating due process in their single minded zeal to catch the bad guys. This was done in spite of repeated reprimands from their often harried superior. In even more shocking developments, they were also found to contain the odd flash of female nudity, rampant locker room humor and coarse language amidst a barrage of bloody action.

    And next time you wanna get triggered by perceived social injustices perpetrated in Action Movies made more than a quarter of a century ago, pick a better example, like Riggs & Murtaugh terrorizing a jay-walker a few months after the Rodney King beating in LW3.

    The “flied lice” exchange was a bit of banter between Riggs and Uncle Benny, who in spite of his acknowledged criminal ties, is regarded rather fondly by the former. Uncle Benny retorts after that remark “That’s FRIED rice, you plick”. Riggs is even upset when he sees Uncle Benny’s body later, repeating this exchange in fond remembrance. And yes, I’m well aware the Uncle Benny scene also has Riggs taunting Jet Li with “Enter The Drag-Queen”, which could be a standard cop tactic for getting a rise out of the bad guys, like calling a South African Henchman “Adolf” in LW2. But what the fuck do I know?

  35. Newsflash, KayKay jerks off to right wing shit again. That jaywalker bit was exactly what I was talking about, didn’t remember the context.

    Dude, tell us how Gibson was right about the Jews. Come on you know you want to.

  36. Gibson was more or less dead to me half way through LW2. He has the meanest sense of humour there is, and should stay away from the “witty banter” forever.

  37. Yeah, you not remembering the context pretty much sums up my fucking problem with engaging in any sort of debate with you. And when I provide it, I’m a right wing racist who tacitly approves of Gibson’s anti-semitic behavior? Fuck off. You and I are fucking done (In my best Christian Bale imitation)

  38. I am not a connoisseur of these films — in fact, I’m sure I’ve only seen the first two and close to whenever they first hit HBO.**

    However, I’ve felt a mix of pity, outrage, and, I admit it, amusement at watching Gibson crash and burn, be humbled, sort of kind of claw his way back but not quite. He’s doing fine financially, but as a person and a tarnished icon, he’s in a bit of purgatory, kind of like a struggling mouse in the paws of a playful cat. For every HACKSAW RIDGE there’s 1-3 FORCE OF NATUREs. From having everything from SIGNS and LETHAL WEAPON and BRAVEHEART to WHAT WOMEN WANT be a huge hit, this guy literally “had it all,” and now, as Majestyk says, there’s a queasy quality about him and a permanent huge asterisk next to his name. So, even though he’s still wealthy, he’s about as infamous as famous, and his career is clearly compromised creatively: he can’t typically get big studio movies going except maybe as a director occasionally, and he’s super-dodgy as a leading man (see again FORCE OF NATURE).

    The fun thing about this film is that it’s the only major thing Gibson can get off the ground as a star, it’s not naturally his directorial bag (as noted), and it puts him a position where he has to engage with how you update the rougher, “locker room,” race-baiting aspects of the film in a world gone very sensitive and intersectional and far less knee-jerk enthusiastic about Dirty Harry-ism. It’s an interesting challenge, and as long as the result is not simply bland gruel, it will be fun to see what he does with it and whether he uses it to achieve and display growth or somehow doubles down on cringe-inducingly un-self-conscious reactionary-ism. Pop the popcorn.

    Also, even if KayKay is a bit of a right-winger, and I’m not saying he is, it bothers me that the historically clear progressive ethos of the sight is morphing more and more into virtue signalling and policing people who do not seize every opportunity to sort people into what are now apparently the only two categories of human: left internet culture war hero and racist, misogynist, transphobic reactionary shitbag. If those are really you’re only two categories of person, you need to get outside more or confront the fact that internet news, comments, and social media are turning you into a self-righteous prick who thinks words are actually more important than and more powerful than material actions. This creates a self-selection feedback loop that will reduce the intellectual and lifestyle/value diversity of this sight and its discourse, as people avoid conversations that veer into cultural change and political implications of film except to pile on to fairly predictable talking points and viewpoint/opinion policing.

    **I was never a big Gibson or Costner guy — not that they are the same guy, in many ways they’re very different, but they are both white “everyman” leading men turned directors whoe peaked in the late-80s to mid-90s and who somehow hopskotched between mainstream crowd-pleaser fare and glossy, biggish budget “epic” / Oscar bait fare. So, they’re different screen presences but similar arcs and functions in “adult contemporary white guy pre-streaming-giants, pre-franchises-all-day-err-day cinema.

  39. If there are two sides on this sight, I think you’ll find that one of them usually just comment on what the other side claims.

  40. Sorry for triggering you KayKay…didn’t feel like watching that shitty movie again to find out the exact details of the guy who didn’t do much to get comedically harassed by police. I do rememeber that scene in the theatre and people were laughing and I was like “hey this fucker didn’t even do anything.”

    Holy shit, we’re done? You mean some words on a screen I’ve never met and never will and mean nothing to me? However will I go on?

    Also, you didn’t DENY saying Gibson was right about the Jews!

  41. And to everyone else, here’s my hot take on Gibson…I really don’t care if he still stars in movies. Is he queasy to watch now? Surely. As Majestyk said, seeing him in sq

  42. And to everyone else, here’s my hot take on Gibson…I really don’t care if he still stars in movies. Is he queasy to watch now? Surely. As Majestyk said, seeing him in squirmy roles is about what he should do now…seeing him kick the crap out of someone as a sleazy bad guy cop works, but seeing him do it as Riggs now where he’s being funny and charming…not so much. Him in a movie like Signs, FORGET IT.

    But overall, to be honest he’s racist…well shit, a lot of people are, and he seems way better that is crazy father. Hard to be raised in a certain way and come out right, and he had serious substance problems. So him yelling about Jews to a cop…didn’t really hurt anyone. He’s not running for office. I don’t know if he did actual beating of his wife, if so that’s a different story. But him screaming about the other stuff? Eh, makes me not like him, doesn’t stop me from watching his shit. If he directs a new movie I’d watch it, he’s a pretty awesome director and him making Lethal Weapon 5 would be the only reason I’d watch it unless they cast someone awesome as the villain. But it’s crazy that the top of the top got brought down so low because of this stuff…which he deserved, if I was making a movie around that time no way I’d have hired him. But he’s not like Weinstein where the shit came out and EVERYONE started dumping on him. In Gibson’s case people came out and talked about what a good guy he is in real life, and I bet he generally is.

  43. Personally I thought on the Polanski-scale, where we rate shittness of celebrity behaviour from 0 (Winona is shoplifting) to 10 (Well, Polanski!), Gibson was a 3 or 4. I mean, he came from a strictly religious upbringing, was a member of a certain generation that can’t wrap their heads about the concept of being more sensitive, plus was/is either an alcoholic or suffers from a mental illness, but as far as we know, only said (or screamed) awful things at other people, often under the influence of alcohol.

    However, in recent years I feel like I have to upgrade him to at least a 7, because that shit became so normalized, the “He was raised like that and is ill” excuse can now only take him so far. (Has he complained about CaNcEl CuLtUrE yet?)

    Not sure if I would watch LW5. Definitely not in theatres. Maybe when it hits streaming or pay tv. Didn’t have many problems watching any of his acting roles so far, though, but we will see how this will turn out.

  44. I did think I was done with Mel once or twice, but I always came crawling back pretty quickly. I really can’t imagine I won’t watch a theoretical LETHAL WEAPON 5 as soon as I can, maybe it would pull a GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE and look less and less appealing with every reveal, but to me a LETHAL WEAPON 5 is pretty much, as Fred Durst would put it, “branded unfuckable”. I don’t know what Mel would have to do to make me not want to watch LETHAL WEAPON 5, but I’m not sure I’m depraved enough to think of it. I’m not saying I’m in the right with this, but, like Alex Cross, only God can judge me.

  45. I already regret posting that. Oh well.

  46. ah…forget it Muh. I have good days and I have bad ones, like pretty much the rest of the human race. On any other day, snark would have been my weapon of retort instead of an angry lash out like that. Today, it wasn’t. I just get annoyed when there doesn’t seem to be room in some people’s perspective (in this case, yours), that you CAN engage with an artist’s work while still finding him to be a reprehensible human being off camera. I doubt if I’m a racist or right winger or an anti-Semite, but I believe I have a true sociopath’s talent at compartmentalization.

  47. I’ve found with Gibson, along with a few others, I can usually still watch their old stuff that I liked from before knowing about them, but have a harder time watching new stuff. Whatever sentimental pathways have been carved in my brain mean I can fall in line. But I think this only goes for people you find out are horrible people, not ones who actually harm people, like someone talks about above. And I’m not trying to say people like Gibson don’t cause harm with hateful rhetoric, but it’s something I can put in the gray area of people being complicated and I continue working through how I feel about it all without writing them off completely yet.

    I’d really rather not know anything about any actor. I don’t even like watching them on talk shows or awards shows because I think they look like idiots more often than not.

    Now the actual content of a movie is harder for me to dismiss any more. Like the flied lice stuff already discussed. I recently tried to watch 10 TO MIDNIGHT because it’s free on prime, it had like 4-5 stars, I haven’t watched much Charles Bronson stuff, it looked like trashy fun. It starts out and is sleazy as fuck and also so early 80s, which is a lot like the 70s, so I was having fun. Then Bronson’s character starts in on how criminals have too many rights, but I knew what I was getting in a Bronson movie so I let it go, but when he actually plants evidence I had to turn it off. Maybe suffers some repercussions for his actions, and the guy was guilty, but I still wasn’t in the mood to see a dirty cop as the hero.

  48. No KayKay, you’re the one who got triggered. Notice when I laid out all of the Lethal Weapon problems, I said liberal old DONNER did a good job of allowing all of that rouge hero cop bullshit into the movies. I also said “I wouldn’t give a shit about this at all if not for Gibson helming this, cause I wonder what the hell he may do. Might be interesting to see if it skews closer to 1 or 2 and get more harder edged again.” So to explain how words mean when placed one after the other, that means I wouldn’t be interested in the movie at all BUT FOR Gibson directing. I mean I didn’t write it like a thesis with a bunch of ten dollar words, but you skipped right to the snowflake triggered internet culture warrior who can’t stand people talking about shit that makes you uncomfortable.

  49. Maggie I haven’t seen that Bronson joint…I’d even be okay with him planting evidence as long as the movie acknowledges this is a seedy guy doing some shady shit. If it treats it as something the hero HAS TO DO, then it’s bullshit. Although at the end of LW2, they set it up well enough that when Danny Glover straight out murders someone, I’m fine with it. Now the movie does NOT act like that it’s shady shit, but at that point with all the stuff that happened, you don’t think about how you have officials with badges straight out executing people, because he’s so bad. Dirty Harry straddled the line nicely, like at the end he kills the dude but tosses away the badge, cause he knows he can’t be part of that system. And even then they stacked the deck in Harry’s favor. And then they go ahead and make a sequel and have Harry kill a bunch of cops who really are pulling moves like Gibson did at the end of Lethal Weapon 2. At the end of the first I’m sure if Scorpio hadn’t grabbed that gun, Harry would not have shot him.

  50. I do love that we’re all talking about whether or not Mel Gibson is too much of an asshole to watch, and not one person has said, “wait, won’t Danny Glover be, like, close to 80 years old by the time they shoot this? Are they really gonna give him a line like ‘In the past, you may recall that I have often said I was too old for this. But I need you to understand, a quarter fucking century later, now that I am 77 fucking years old, just to what a ridiculous extent I am really, truly, obviously, indisputably too old for this.'”

    Are we just at the point where we take it for granted that our action heroes will continue to star in franchise movies until it finally becomes to expensive to CGI-erase their walkers and oxygen tubes?

  51. Murtaugh is even older than Glover. He turned 50 in December 1987, so, canonically, he’s about to turn 84.

  52. I mean, we gotta assume that Murtaugh at the very least is long since retired and somebody comes after him or his family and they team up like old times, somehow. Right? I mean I’ll be surprised if it’s the rumination on aging and changing times that such a premise invites, but I don’t think they’re gonna pretend these two are still the same as last time we saw them.

    (That is if they end up making this movie, which I don’t really expect.)

  53. Well, didn’t we just have a movie with old as fuck Clint doing maybe action-like stuff? I actually didn’t watch it. Does he punch people? I know he sleeps with a woman about 50 years younger than himself, so I guess Murtaugh can say his line from whatever retirement home he’s in.

  54. I think it’s more likely that Riggs will be the one who’s too old for this shit when he gets a cocky new (almost certainly black) partner who’s even crazier than Riggs used to be. Murtaugh will probably be a glorified cameo. I’m saying four scenes, tops.

  55. They can NOT make a Lethal Weapon movie without Glover, it’s the whole point of the thing. And he’s still going strong. I bet instead of the four scene idea, he shows up maybe halfway through to save the day or something, and gets a big cheer and then is a costar for the rest like usual. They will have to play up the ages of both guys…unlike Clint Eastwood’s action which even at his peak was generally him standing in place shooting people. Lethal Weapon was more kinetic. Even the shootouts had a lot of running and rolling and shit, and then the fisticuffs on top of that. I mean look at Eastwood running as Dirty Harry, he always does a sort of light jog, Eastwood did a few movies with some fistfights (although he always looked so slow in them) but overall it wasn’t all that taxing, so he was able to age and not have to change up too much. This would be midway between that and Jackie Chan who still is able to be great but is clearly on wires to do any kick like he was doing 20 years ago.

    I think Vern’s got it right…Murtaugh is retired, but an old case comes back for him. Or maybe the old case is more specifically for desk-jockey Riggs, and Murtaugh comes in to help him, along with the young cop also brought in to do the cooler action. It will be hard to top Jet Li as a villain…this series has a great track record for awesome bad guys (aside from the rote part 3).

    I don’t recall, did Gibson say “I’m too old for this shit” in the last one?

  56. Surely they wouldn’t consider doing this if Riggs and Murtaugh weren’t going to team up again. That’s like, the whole concept here. What even is a LETHAL WEAPON movie without Gibson and Glover bouncing off each other?

    But I guess they did do that ill-considered show which was just two random guys named Riggs and Murtaugh, and then didn’t they actually get rid of Riggs at some point? Crazy stuff. So I guess they’re capable of that kind of madness.

  57. Muh: Technically, no. He implied it and Murtaugh filled in the blanks for him. They both later led a locker room chorus of “I’m NOT too old for this shit.”

  58. Thought they must have done something with that. I feel like Gibson can still throw a punch, and if you watch the first movie could probably do 80% of what he did in that one, with perhaps the only thing suffering being the fight at the end. It’s like when they did the new Mad Max, and I get why Miller wanted to keep it about a younger Max…but I didn’t get it when people said he was too old for an action movie like that, as if 90% of all the action in those movies wasn’t car based and thus done by stunt drivers anyway. The only times they really diverged was the Thunderdome fight and some of the stuff at the end of Fury Road. But in general Max could be 75, stunt guys do all the work.

    I was shocked when they did the last Indiana Jones and Ford came off GREAT in the action. He has that fistfight with the Nazi in the jungle and he looked spry as fuck.

  59. Let’s lay the blame on Taken, that primogenitor of a cottage industry sprung up around the suddenly profitable idea that there’s a market for aging action heroes (male, of course).

    Sure, Eastwood, Bronson etc were doing action movies well into their 50s, but when you had Liam Neeson, who everyone thought was at a stage when he’d be transitioning into these venerable supporting roles, suddenly putting Eurotrash sex-traffickers in their place (which is roughly 6 feet underground), I think it gave every aging Action Icon a lifeline.

  60. Think about it this way…Charles Bronson was in his late 40s when he made Once Upon a Time in the West. He was making action movies well into his 70s. Eastwood made his bare knuckle brawling movies at 50, and he still had another 20 years of thriller and action movies.

    Neeson is a different case since it’s hand to hand, tougher for an older guy. But Bronson was in his 50s when he made Hard Times.

  61. There is no blame to be laid. Old people can and should do action movies if they want to. Grey haired Lee Marvin was making tough guy movies before many of us were born. I have been writing about 50-90 year old action dudes for decades now and most people here like some of them or they would get sick of reading my reviews.

    However, it is still very reasonable and legitimate to wonder what they’re gonna do with Murtaugh nearly 35 years after he was introduced in a movie where the premise was that he was at that time too old for this shit.

  62. Oh yeah, I love “Older Action Hero” movies too, shit, these guys were the reason I became an action junkie in the 1st place! After Taken became a hit, you had Pierce Brosnan doing THE NOVEMBER MAN, Sean Penn doing THE GUNMAN, Stallone launching THE EXPENDABLES and Costner coming out with THREE DAYS TO KILL. So was merely speculating at what point did the thinking switch from “This actor’s too old for this shit” to “Hey, he can still pull in crowds kicking ass” and how much of Taken’s success influenced that?

  63. Glover’s age is one thing, but it’s his frailty that’s a concern.I think he turned up in one of those JUMANJI flicks and I remember thinking, a 90 year old James Earl Jones displayed more energy in his brief cameo in COMING 2 AMERICA. And I’d hate it for Murtaugh to turn up in 2 scenes, both of which play out in a nursing home where Riggs goes to visit and they reminiscence about times past.

    “Eh eh eh Riggs, we kicked some ass didn’t we?”

    “Yeah we did, Rog”

    “Eh eh eh Riggs, guess we really too old for this shit”

    (And they both laugh their ass off).

  64. It’s funny that he was too old for that shit and he wasn’t even 40…which in Hollywood terms is ancient.

    Taken probably set a little spark, but the old dude action hero has been around forever. Like Vern said Lee Marvin made them until the end, so did John Wayne. Connery was doing Highlander swordfighting movies at 60, and seems to have been Gibson’s age now when he did The Rock.

  65. Am not sure how much the original plan was for Gibson to reprise Mad Max, but by the time cameras started rolling, his off screen persona had become too toxic. Hell, his Golden Globes appearance sparked a dozen outraged opinion pieces.

    Given that Arnie, an acknowledged NICE guy on and off the camera was nothing more than an extended cameo in the latest installment of his iconic franchise, if we ever do get a LW5 that manages to NOT shunt Riggs off to the sidelines while delivering some glorious R-rated action comedy fun and stays true to the character (yeah he’s a loose cannon quipper of bad puns. Flied lice didn’t bother me 25 years ago, it doesn’t now) then that’s a major freaking achievement right there

  66. Maggie, interesting points. I do believe there could be some cultural element in how rule-bending cops are perceived in movies. Where I come from, police brutality and flagrant violations of due process isn’t as highly publicized or talked about (doesn’t mean it isn’t there, just that it’s more a buried column in page 15 as opposed to the headlines). My wife and I watched 10 TO MIDNIGHT (yeah as sleazy as most J Lee Thompson flicks are) and the only thing that got an eye-roll (from her) was a scene where the killer chases this blonde in the woods and she’s stark naked. She said “Yeah, so she’s GOT TO be naked, right?” to which I could only feebly retort “But darling, HE’S naked too!!!!”

    Bronson’s cop character planting evidence was about as natural to me as him (and about a 1000 other cop heroes) blowing the killer away in the end instead of arresting him. You just kinda expect it. Interestingly, Ridley Scott’s BLACK RAIN bucked this trend and my initial reaction upon first viewing it was “C’mon! He beheaded your partner! And you’re just arresting him ???”

    It only bothers me when the scene itself is written in a way that’s just played for cheap laughs and sensation. Hence in the entire series, only LW3 bothered me because of scenes which are so inconsistent with the character of Riggs just for a few chuckles. So, he offers to disarm a bomb when he has NO FREAKING clue on how to do it. And in a scene following that deliberately harasses the jaywalker. C’mon Riggs is a loose cannon, but not a fucking idiot. It’s one thing to be a dick to racist Apartheid-Loving killers, quite another to a civilian committing a minor transgression.

  67. “Well, didn’t we just have a movie with old as fuck Clint doing maybe action-like stuff? I actually didn’t watch it. Does he punch people? I know he sleeps with a woman about 50 years younger than himself”

    CRY MACHO is actually more of a gentle road movie/drama than an action movie.

    He throws one punch.

    The romance is depicted more tastefully (flirtations and slow dances) here as opposed to THE MULE where spry 89 old Clint bangs hookers at Drug Cartel parties.

    But aging male action heroes needing to appear sexually irresistible to women decades younger have been around since…well, forever I’m guessing?

  68. Glover was 40 when he filmed LETHAL WEAPON, but Murtaugh was meant to be a decade older, maybe more. I think they fudged the aging a bit in the later sequels.

    This discussion on 10 TO MIDNIGHT is interesting, I’ve been thinking about this movie a bit recently, I had it on in the background while doing some work a couple of weeks ago, followed by the commentary track from one of the recent DVDs or Blu-Rays, which is not on my DVD but is on YouTube (slightly hidden). When I got into these Bronson Cannon joints in the mid-late 00s, they were viewed either with a degree of detached irony or as a purely reactionary form of catharsis. But, and I want to phrase this as carefully as I can, in recent years. with a more prominent set of people who represent some of the tendencies displayed by the killer in this film, increasing scepticism about whether such people can ever truly improve and atone, and concern about the kind of people the law punishes and those it lets go free…maybe films like this are edging towards a more bipartisan appeal? Or at least I was wondering about all that, before I read there were scenes of Bronson planting evidence (which I missed on this go round). At any rate, it seems like 10 TO MIDNIGHT has developed a following among the kids (i.e. people who are probably my age) who embrace it with less ironic detachment than those who champion DEATH WISH 3 and 4. Maybe it’s because it’s closer to a slasher/horror movie, a somewhat “hipper” genre to embrace than vigilante thrillers. Or maybe it’s just a better made and written movie? I dunno. Lisa Eilbacher should have been in more movies.

  69. They don’t really explain what age Riggs is supposed to be in LW. But as a Vietnam veteran he must at least be Gibson’s real age or more. Which will make him closer to 70 than 60 when part 5 comes out. With Murtaugh at least 10 years older than that. Sooo I guess we’re looking at a kind of STRAIGHT STORY or TOUGH GUYS movie here?

    As a die hard Bronson fan it saddens me that the Cannon years totally dominates the world wide web. 1960 to 1982, sure. But the shit he had to do in the 80s and 90s…And parts of 10 TO MIDNIGHT and KINJITE are really the lowest points in his whole career.

  70. I watched the Bronson Cannon joints as a kid because my mom grew up a fan of the guy. I always found them pretty ridiculous. It wasn’t till I finally watched ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and THE MECHANIC and MR. MAJESTYK in my middle school years that I really started to appreciate him. With that said I remember 10 TO MIDNIGHT and DEATH WISH 3 being the two I had seen the most prior to that. Haven’t watched 10 TO MIDNIGHT in over 25 years now though. Don’t know if I’d even enjoy it at this point but this thread is inspiring a rewatch.

  71. 10 TO MIDNIGHT is a little more thoughtful in its reactionary fuckshit than the Winner/Bronson joints. For one, the perpetrator who is above the law isn’t a foreigner or a minority or any of the usual Republican scapegoats. It’s a clean-cut white male rapist who looks like he should be the president of his fraternity, i.e. EXACTLY the kind of motherfucker our legal system lets off the hook all the fucking time because it cares more about a caucasian man’s reputation than it does a woman’s suffering. And, as mentioned, it’s Bronson’s planting of evidence that blows the whole investigation in the first place. The ending, with Bronson blowing the buck-naked pervert away in the middle of the street, is supposed to be kind of ambivalent, in my opinion. On the one hand, it’s emotionally satisfying to see this malignant narcissist get what he deserves. On the other, we’re bummed that the decent man we met at the beginning of the movie has been driven to throw his life away like this. It’s sort of a mock-triumphant ending. Nobody really wins here.

  72. Yeah, I think 10 TO MIDNIGHT is at the very least ambivalent about, and I firmly believe genuinely shocked by, Bronson’s planting evidence. His little sidekick character is deeply disappointed in him, and it fucks up the whole case anyway. The point, I think, is that the smug little cracker rapist is so well-protected by the system that he cannot be caught by the system, and therefore Bronson can’t nail the fucker until he gives up any legal or moral authority and just gets the job done at the cost of his own soul.

  73. Mr. Majestyk, I finally watched Mr. Majestyk last night and holy shit did I love it. By default I now love you.

  74. What, you thought I picked a movie at random?

    The book is great, too, if you can find it. I tend to prefer the lean, mean Leonard, before everybody figured out he was funny.

  75. The whole movie is pretty funny. Except for what they did to Larry. That hurt me.

  76. Hey guys, I need some help. I know there’s a song where Method Man references MR. MAJESTYK but I can’t remember what it is and the internet is no help. This is driving me nuts.

  77. Always nice to hear that someone has discovered Bronson’s magnum opus.

    As for MIDNIGHT, I think it’s the idiocy in some of the scenes that ruins it for me. As Vern said somewhere Bronson is one of those actors that seemed to play the same character in every movie. And I can safely tell you that Vince Majestyk or Lou Torrey would never have used a sex toy as a interrogation device!

  78. I’d say KINJITE was the scrape at the bottom of the Bronson Barrel. He basically ports over the cop from 10 TO MIDNIGHT with a healthy dose of racism overlaid onto the flagrant rule-breaking.

  79. It’s kind of interesting how the Cannon, um, cannon in the 80s mirrors America’s relationship with Japan in those years; starts with a post-SHOGUN mini series/Sony Walkman fascination and admiration for their culture, history and contemporary science (the NINJA films), ends with reactionary concern about their increasing influence in the country (KINJITE). Still, it’s good that films can capture our moods throughout history, the good, the bad and the ugly.

  80. Pacman 2.0, there’s probably no better indictment of how exploitative these Cannon flicks could be than to compare something like KINJITE against BLACK RAIN which came out the same year and did the American vs Japanese Culture Clash so much better. Also, skip forward 4 years and RISING SUN was a far superior film about the “reactionary concern about their increasing influence in the country”.

    But I guess those films had something I like to call….a budget???

    Cannon Films were Asylum before Asylum. Except they didn’t do porn-style puns off legit film titles.

  81. Although, it’s still a shocker to me that they could also give us the magnificent RUNAWAY TRAIN, based off a Kurosawa screenplay, no less!

  82. Even Bronson complained he played the same character every time. But then he gets offered a role like Curly in City Slickers and gets offended that he dies 2/3 of the way through. Victim of himself.

    But seeing how Bronson didn’t change up much makes me really admire stars who had a somewhat limited range but did push themselves and didn’t just do rote versions of the same thing. Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn’t be anyone’s idea of an amazing actor, yet you compare Terminator, Total Recall, Twins and straightforward parts like Commando or Predator…he’s doing pretty different shit each time, you wouldn’t confuse them. I really liked his Total Recall performance, where he’s basically confused, sweaty and scared for half of it.

  83. Hey Sternshein, I’m not sure if you noticed this, because maybe you don’t have ears, I don’t know, but the theme song is an all-fucking-timer. My skills have finally advanced to the point where I can sample it without totally embarassing myself. Finally, I can bring my two Chuck-based alter egos together. This one’s for you, bud.

    Mr. Majestyk [Remix]

    Shoutout to Sternshein. Apologies to Bronson.

  84. Oh, and since none of y’all were any help finding the Method Man lyric where he references MR. MAJESTYK, I had to settle for one where he references 10 TO MIDNIGHT. I hope you’re happy.

  85. Majestyk, do you remember anything in particular about the line that Meth uses? Does he actually say “Mr. Majestyk” or does he like call someone a melon farmer or etc? I don’t think I’d heard of this before and I’m now curious.

  86. He definitely says “Mr. Majestyk.” I’ve been wracking my brain to think of what he rhymes it with but keep coming up empty. I think it starts the line and then there’s a pause?

    Meth is clearly a Bronson fan. In addition to MR. MAJESTYK and 10 TO MIDNIGHT, he’s also referenced THE EVIL THAT MEN DO, which led me to make a (very shitty) mashup album between the Wu and various Bronson soundtracks called THE EVIL THAT CLAN DO by Wu Bronsolini. This was back when I had no idea what I was doing so I am not going to post any of that shit, but the cover came out pretty dope.

  87. See, I nearly asked if you’d somehow confused Method Man with Uriah Heep, but clearly you were already there with that gag.

    I miss “He got a way with words. Don’t ask useless questions”, but that track is excellent nevertheless.

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