Trivia / Lethal Weapon

  • Actor Allusion: This isn't the first time Mel Gibson plays a burnt out cop whose wife has been murdered. He also eats dog food in the third movie.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Inverted. Murtaugh's catch phrase is "I'm too old for this shit", not "I'm getting too old for this shit", but he says the latter in Lethal Weapon 3.
  • Bowdlerise: Initial UK releases of Lethal Weapon 2 and 4 suffered cuts for a lower category.
  • Career Resurrection: The original was one for Gary Busey.
  • California Doubling: In the case of California Doubling, it's Inverted. The guy who says "Bravo" after the first building was blown up in the third film? None other than Bill Frederick, then the mayor of Orlando, Florida. The building used was Orlando's old City Hall building. Those familiar with the city will also recognize the SunTrust Center, the Orlando Utilities Commission building, and the new/current City Hall (which had a Coca-Cola sign planted on it). You can even make out a TV van from local ABC affiliate WFTV during the implosion.
    • The building imploded in The Stinger was in St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Creator Backlash: Shane Black disliked the sequels, mainly due to how much of his script for the second film was re-written. He also said how the problem with the final version of the second movie was that they did too much comedy, and how he dislikes the other two sequels of the film because of the way they ruined Riggs' character.
  • The Danza: In the second film, the carpenter is named McGee. This is the actual surname of the actor portraying him, Jack McGee.
  • Deleted Scene: Riggs originally had a different introduction. In it, Riggs is sitting alone in a bar getting drunk. He finishes off one bottle of Jack Daniels and orders another, but the bartender, both concerned for and wary of Riggs, cuts him off. Riggs stumbles into the back and is accosted by two hoodlums. He tries to warn them off, but they don't listen. He ends crippling up them and the bartender is not surprised. He tells Riggs as a friend to get out. Richard Donner felt it was too dark to open the film with. He felt that with the show of violence, viewers would judge Riggs' character before they got the chance to know him. Hence, he changed Riggs' introduction to the lighter, funnier morning scene in his trailer
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Gary Busey dyed his hair blonde to play Mr. Joshua.
  • Enforced Method Acting: In the scene where Riggs is contemplating suicide, there is an actual bullet in the chamber which Mel Gibson was pointing at his head, thinking that it would allow for a greater sense of portraying the scene realistically and dramatically—and foolishly.
  • Fake American: Stuart Wilson in the third film.
  • Fake Nationality: The second film had South-Africans as villains. None of them were the real deal.
  • Follow the Leader: The series spawned a lot of buddy-cop films.
    • Fort Eight Hours. from 1982 should be considered the origin of the 1980s buddy-cop film, but the Lethal Weapon series does codify most of the tropes.
  • In Memoriam: The first film was dedicated to legendary stuntman Dar Robinson, who was killed in a motorcycle accident shortly after principal photography was finished.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: Theatrical and TV trailers for the film show few deleted and extended scenes that were never released in full on any DVD or Blu-Ray release of the movie; Murtaugh saying "New Partner?" after he gets thrown to the floor by Riggs when they first meet and when he is told that Riggs is his new partner, Riggs and Murtaugh driving in the car and Murtaugh telling Riggs "Don't kill anybody" and Riggs repeats the same line, couple shots of short deleted scene where Murtaugh is shooting his gun at target range alone, Riggs beating up two guys who try to rob and kill him while he is in the bar (original introduction scene for his character), and Riggs saying additional line "Nobody can touch me" after Murtaugh asks him is he really that good as he says he is.
  • Playing Against Type: Kind of; Leo Getz, like most of Joe Pesci's characters, is a hot-headed little guy with a Hair-Trigger Temper, but where most of Pesci's well-known characters tended to back this up by being genuinely dangerous and often psychotic thugs, Leo's pretty much harmless, a bit of a Butt Monkey and for all his bluster a pretty nice guy.
    • Jet Li was delighted to get the role of Wah Sing Ku because in China he is repeatedly type cast as a hero and he revelled getting a chance to play a villain for once. He would play villains in other American movies afterwards, but this was his first real bad guy role.
  • Playing Gertrude: Riggs was meant to be 38, yet Mel Gibson was 30.
  • Re Cut: Richard Donner released Director's Cuts of the first three films.
  • Revised Ending: The first film ended with Riggs and Murthaugh parting ways, with the latter revealing that he plans to retire. Warner Bros. changed this, sensing they had a hit on their hands.
    • The second film originally ended with Riggs dying from his wounds.
    • An alternate ending to the second movie featured a Thanksgiving dinner at the Murtaugh house which is attended by both Riggs and Rika Van Dan Haas. Richard Donner later decided that Rika should be killed to further fuel Riggs' hatred of the South African diplomats. With Rika dead, this entire ending had to be scrapped. This ending was filmed prior to filming some of the other scenes from the film, including most of the second half where Riggs and Murtaugh go into final showdown with South Africans. Another reason why this ending was not used is because filmmakers weren't sure about whether Riggs should die or live at the end of the film.
  • Star-Making Role: Lethal Weapon 4 is the film responsible for introducing American audiences to Jet Li.
  • Throw It In: Leo's rants about people who fuck you with various goods and services, (The drive-thru, the hospital, etc.) are improvised. In fact, when he goes on his rant about being fucked by the hospital in three, you can see Renee Russo start to crack up in one shot before it's cut to another. The rant he and Butters (Chris Rock) go on about cellphones in 4 is entirely unscripted, with Donner apparently just telling them to, "Bitch about cell phones for a while."
    • In the second film, Jack McGee ad-libbed his line about the condom commercial during rehearsals. The cast and crew liked it so much it was kept in the film.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Leonard Nimoy was one of the choices considered for directing, but he didn't feel comfortable doing action movies, and he was working on Three Men and a Baby at the time.
    • Christopher Reeve, Michael Nouri, Kurt Russell, Michael Keaton, Christopher Lambert, Charlie Sheen, Patrick Swayze, Pierce Brosnan, Jeff Goldblum, Kevin Costner, Rutger Hauer, Richard Norton, Sean Penn, Richard Gere, Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford and Michael Douglas all turned down the role of Martin Riggs.
    • Shane Black's original draft was much darker and more violent. The sniper scene in the Director's Cut one dead kid being carried on a gurney and the draft ended with a big chase scene including helicopters and a trailer truck full of cocaine which explodes over Hollywood Hills causing for cocaine to start snowing over Hollywood sign.
    • The original script for the second film was different. Leo Getz being only a minor character and having only one scene and few lines of dialogue. Lot more violence throughout like South African villains, who were even more vicious in original script than in the final film, torturing Shapiro, a female police officer working with Riggs and Murtaugh (the one who is killed by a bomb in the pool in the film) to death in a very nasty scene. There was also a scene where Riggs is tortured by South Africans in a similar way like he was in the first film but much worse. The script also included an action sequence in which plane full of cocaine gets destroyed causing for cocaine to fall all over L.A like snow. The ending of the script included climactic battle which took place at hills engulfed with big brush fire, and after destruction of stilt house Riggs chases Benedict (original name of the villain Pieter Vorstedt from the movie) who was different and lot more dangerous character in original script and Riggs' "arch-nemesis, his worst nightmare" as Black himself said, into the fire. After the final battle with Benedict, Riggs dies very slowly after he gets stabbed by him. The last scene in Black's script was Murtaugh watching the video tape that Riggs made earlier since he had a premonition that he was going to die and in which he says his goodbye to Murtaugh.
    • In earlier drafts of the third film, Lorna was completely different, had a different name and wasn't a woman, and was actually just as lethal and crazy as Riggs which made him his match. Riggs did however still had different love interest in those drafts. He was actually having an affair with Roger's oldest daughter Rianne, which explains couple parts in the finished film where Roger suspects that Riggs and Rianne are having an affair, those parts are only bits left from original drafts where two of them were a secret couple.
    • Robert De Niro was considered to play Jack Travis in the third film.
    • Leo Getz was originally not in the script for the third film and all of his scenes were written in afterwards. In the original script Leo had left L.A. for New York.
    • Jeffrey Boam's unused script for the fourth film was built around Riggs and Murtaugh dealing with racist white trash right wing neo-nazi survivalists militia group who were doing a terrorist attack in L.A.
    • Jackie Chan was considered for the role of Wah Sing Ku in the fourth film, but turned it down, because he chooses never to play the villain in a movie.
    • Chris Tucker, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, and Larenz Tate were considered for the role of Lee Butters in the fourth film.
    • Butters' character was originally going to be a gay character but once filming started, everyone involved realized how the decision to make him gay didn't work, so his character was re-written again to be a husband of Roger's daughter Rianne.

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