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Film / Lethal Weapon 3

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Captain Murphy: Wait a minute! Look, maybe these guys can contribute something to this case.
Detective Ernie: From what I've seen of their records, the only thing they do contribute is mayhem and chaos.
Martin Riggs: No, I'm Chaos, and (referring to Murtaugh) he's Mayhem. We're a double act. What are we, required reading, or something?
Lorna Cole: As a matter of fact, you are. It's a cross between Police Gazette and MAD Magazine.

Lethal Weapon 3 is an action / buddy cop film and the the third instalment of the Lethal Weapon series, directed once again by Richard Donner and released in 1992. It stars Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and Joe Pesci once again.

Riggs finds a new Love Interest in Lorna Cole (Rene Russo), a fellow cop who is as tough and crazy as he is. She helps them to investigate a rogue officer who's been selling specialized armor-piercing "cop killer" bullets to the mob and onto the streets. Looming over Murtaugh's head is his upcoming retirement and trying to figure out his life as a cop and what it will be like after retirement.

Followed by Lethal Weapon 4.

Lethal Weapon 3 provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Deloris towards Murtaugh, which develops when the two chase after a vehicle together. He chooses to hide from her when she comes visit him at the station.
  • Actor Allusion: Mel Gibson eats dog biscuits.
  • Addiction Displacement: Murtaugh trying to help Riggs quit smoking:
    • Initially, Murtaugh suggests Riggs eat dog biscuits whenever he gets an urge to smoke.
    • When they are at the food stand of one of Murtaugh's buddies, Riggs is given a raw onion for the same purpose.
    • Murtaugh snatches a cigarette away from Riggs after his fall at the end of the car chase going after Jack Travis. Riggs then drops another cigarette he was trying to light when Leo Getz arrives on the scene.
    • By the end of the film, he jokes about going back to cigarettes to deal with his "dog biscuit problem".
  • All for Nothing: Played for laughs in The Stinger. Because of their role in the opening bombing, Riggs and Murtaugh get demoted to patrolmen. However, the Jack Travis investigation gives them the leverage to claw their way out of the demotion and regain their Detective-Sergent ranks. Then the film ends with another building getting bombed and Riggs and Murtaugh are again present. Even though ironically they weren't responsible this time, both men still bemoan that they're gonna get blamed for this and that they'll end up being demoted back to patrolmen again.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Deconstructed. Riggs and Cole face a rottweiler guard dog in a warehouse, and Riggs proceeds to placate the dog with dog biscuits Murtaugh gave him to help quit smoking. They rescue him in the ensuing impromptu gun raid, and Riggs still keeps him as a pet in the fourth film.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Murtaugh accidentally fires his pistol in the locker room while putting it in his holster. Riggs covers the mishap by smashing in some lockers, producing an apparently identical sound.
  • The Atoner: After Murtaugh recovers from his Heroic BSoD, he is told by said teenager's mourning parents to "get the man who put the gun in [their] son's hands"... he takes it to the heart, acting very outside of the book to nail the bad guys.
  • Award-Bait Song: "It's Probably Me", performed by Eric Clapton. He recorded it for the soundtrack, and its backbeat was a constant theme throughout the film's score.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The climactic shootout against Jack Travis.
  • Behind the Black: The movie has a scene where Riggs sees his partner's daughter appear to be in trouble. After breaking up the situation with reckless abandon, Riggs discovers that the entire incident was all part of a movie set. It's only after he makes a mess that he notices the entire camera crew nearby.
  • Big Bad: Jack Travis, a former police officer who is making money with stolen guns.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: The "cop-killer" bullets that are the basis of the plot seem a tad inconsistent in their destruction; they are so powerful that they can not only punch through two sides of a steel drum AND a vest worn by Billy (killing him), they can even penetrate a front loader bucket and its engine block to kill the Big Bad! Two vests, however, stops 'em dead.
  • Bland-Name Product: The hockey teams playing at the Forum were obviously meant to be the Los Angeles Kings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The colors are just about identical. Look closely enough at the right time, though, and you'll see they're wearing generic uniforms (Toronto's have a spade with a "T", and the Kings are a weird deviation of the "Chevrolet logo"). If you pay attention, the film actually features stock footage of the Los Angeles Kings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. They apparently couldn't get rights to use at least real NHL uniforms for the scenes they filmed.
  • Blood for Mortar: The Big Bad demonstrates how vile he is when he tosses a subordinate that failed him into a pile of concrete being poured as a house's foundation, holds him down until he drowns, and continues pouring concrete so the man will be buried in the foundation
  • Bond One-Liner:
    • Travis deals with a mook who failed him by shoving him into a cement pool in a building foundation:
      Travis: Now we have a relationship we can build on!
    • When Riggs turns Travis' "cop-killer" bullets against him:
      Murtaugh: Hey Riggs, cop killers!
      Riggs: (shoots Travis) Ex-cop killers!
  • Book Ends: The film opens and ends with a bomb in a building that goes off and destroys the entire building.
  • Bulletproof Vest: The plot revolves around the sale of "cop killer" bullets that pierce through police armor. In one scene, Lorna survives by simply wearing two vests on top of each other. Made more baffling by the fact that earlier in the same scene the bullets are shown shooting through the bucket of a front loader. The bullets are also demonstrated by being fired into a vest hung on a stand. The bullet easily passes through both the front and back sides of the hanging vest, thus proving the bullets could easily penetrate a double thickness of vestnote .
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": Right as Riggs and Cole start to make out at the end of their Scar Survey, Cole reminds Riggs that she told him not to touch anything (at the time, it was referring specifically to her computer, which he did touch). But from that point, she appears not to have any desire to actually stop him, and even takes him down to the floor herself.
    Riggs: This could be a serious ethical breach here. I've never made it with another sergeant before.
    Cole: Shut up.
  • Call-Back: In the final scene, Riggs and Murtaugh's bickering (that God wouldn't punish Riggs by saddling him with a partner like him) is a callback to Murtaugh's "God hates me" remark upon being partnered with Riggs in the first movie.
  • Cars Without Tires Are Trains: One of the major chases involves Riggs trying to catch up with the Big Bad trying to escape with a cargo of illegal guns and ammo he just stole from the LAPD evidence locker through the LAPD metro lines. An unusual example because, unlike other cars on this page, the pick-up truck used for the heist was modified with a draisine rig — once the Big Bad reaches a regular street, he just retracts the train wheels and drives normally.
  • Cat Scare: While Riggs and Murtaugh are hunched over the bomb inside the car, there's a sudden thump that freaks them out. Turns out a cat jumped onto the roof.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Subverted when Riggs argues that the bomb squad never gets here on time!"; they meddle with the bomb, it goes off, a massive building is leveled... and the bomb squad immediately pulls up, having arrived in plenty of time to deal with the bomb had Riggs not interfered.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Dog Biscuits for Angry Guard Dog eventually become and addiction to Riggs.
    • The machine gun loaded with "cop killers". Sold to Tyrone by Travis, who then sells it to Darryl, it is taken by Murtaugh when he kills Darryl. Later he uses it against the bad guys and finally tosses it to Riggs - who uses it to kill Travis.
  • Cluster F-Bomb:
    • Sir Swears-a-Lot Leo Getz performs his once-a-film rant when complaining about his hospital stay, not knowing it was Riggs that added proctology to his chart as a practical joke.
    • Done exclusively in the Czech dub: When Riggs loses Jack Travis, he shouts "Fucking asshole!"
  • Combat Pragmatist: Lorna Cole isn't above using groin attacks when she grabs a man by his junk and pulls it upward rather painfully.
    Lorna: This PMS... It's murder.
    Murtaugh: I know what you mean. I've been married 25 years.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    Murtaugh: When are you gonna learn you can't solve every problem with your fists?
    Riggs: Well, I couldn't use my gun; there was a crowd.
  • Constructive Body Disposal: Jack Travis kills a mook who had failed him while he was standing in front of a form that would be turned into a foundation of one of the houses Travis was making in his civilian identity. Difference from the norm is, said mook is still alive when he's being buried. No gunshot, no stabbing, just whacked in the head, held down by shovels, and buried in cement.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Leo serves a realty agent trying to help Roger sell his house. Because of full disclosure issues, when the prospective buyers mention that they love the picture window, he says it's recently been replaced because a drug dealer crashed his car through it and shot the entire place up. (A reference to the first film, but see below). Then he has to mention the damage that happened in Lethal Weapon 2:
      Leo Getz: The bathroom upstairs has been completely remodeled due to unexpected bomb damage.
    • The flirting between Riggs and Lorna has Riggs mentioning a 'whole family of .44s on the back' from where Arjen Rudd shot him at the end of LW2 and he also mentions the knife Vorstedt got him with in the leg at the climax.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Not so much crazy as it was clever, but Lorna managed to survive a potentially fatal cop-killer bullet wound by wearing two Bullet Proof Vests just in case.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Played for drama during the Boat argument between Rigs and Murtuagh. Roger was so focused on the impending end of his career that it never occurred to him to consider what effect his retirement and the end of his and Riggs' partnership would do to his best friend's mental health. It's one factor that convinces Murtaugh to delay taking retirement again (though Riggs' mental health is also helped by his and Lorna getting together).
  • Died on Their Birthday: When Travis and his men raid the police station, Riggs enlists the help of Edwards to stop them. When Riggs asks for his age, Edwards mentions that it's his birthday that day. During a shootout, Edwards is killed by one of Travis' armor-piercing bullets. Upon seeing the corpse, Riggs grimly says, "Happy Birthday."
  • Disney Death: Lorna is shot several times by Jack Travis with the cop-killer bullets. However, after Riggs kills Travis, it turns out that Lorna had actually worn two bulletproof vests prior to this shootout, but it still wounded her.
  • Dog Food Diet: Murtaugh tries to get Riggs to stop smoking by giving him dog biscuits to chew on instead. Riggs soon develops a taste for them and starts snacking on them when he gets hungry.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Used for interrogation. One of the good guys wants to know where a submachine gun is coming from, and to extract this information from a baddie he proceeds to cock said submachine gun and point it at his head. In the same movie, later on, the two main characters are about to start shooting up the baddies' main hideout. They get their weapons, ready themselves... only to hear a Dramatic Gun Cock from behind them. They start to raise their hands, but it turns out it's another good guy (well—good girl, anyway) who's come to help them and is just scaring them for fun.
  • Eating Pet Food: Murtaugh helps Riggs quit smoking by feeding him dog biscuits.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: While interrogating one of Jack Travis's henchmen, Riggs reads out the name on the man's driver's license: Hubert Bartholomew Smith.
    Lorna: (impressed) Bartholomew!
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Gangster Tyrone is visibly disgusted at Jack Travis' disposing of a rebellious mook by burying him alive in wet cement.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: Done as a form of foreplay when Riggs and his new love interest, internal affairs cop Lorna begin showing each other their many battle scars and actually begin taking their clothes off in front of each other to show off more of them.
  • Evil Counterpart: Jack Travis is pretty much presented as being what Riggs would've become if Murtaugh hadn't come into his life... if he hadn't blown his head off first.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Travis thinks burying his stupid mook alive in cement is hilarious.
  • Extremely Short Time Span: The film takes place over the last eight days before Murtaugh's retirement. In the end, he doesn't retire.
  • Flashed-Badge Hijack: Riggs does this to another cop to get his motorcycle, who lampshades how ridiculous it is that he's giving up his bike.
  • Good Is Boring: The gist of Jack Travis's Motive Rant when he takes Capt. Murphy hostage.
    Travis: You know what a future a cop has, Murph? None. You punch a clock for 30 years, retirement, pension... nothin' to do. Drunk at noon, bullet in the brain by evening. Well, not for this kid! The police department's got it all: guns, ammo, drugs, cash... it's a one-stop shopping center. If you've got the balls and the brains, there's not a fucking thing anyone can do about it!
  • Groin Attack: Lorna Cole delivers a harsh kick in the family jewels towards a random thug from within a warehouse. Later on, she crushes one thug's testicles bare-handed in a fight scene!
    Riggs: (cringing) Grabs the cluster!
  • Guns Akimbo: Riggs and Murtaugh during the subway shootout.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way:
    • Thin plastic porta-potties stop armor piercing bullets while normal bullets go right through metal sheds. Then later the same kind of armor piercing bullets fired from the same gun blows enormous holes in a bulldozer scoop.
    • The idea that there are "cop killer" versions of ordinary pistol ammo is pure Hollywood. Juicing up a regular 9mm round with a hardened bullet and enough internal pressure to punch through steel plates or body armor is certainly possible, but it's also extremely likely to destroy the weapon you feed it into.
  • Helping Another Save Face: When Roger accidentally discharges his gun in the precinct locker room,Riggs immediately begins slamming lockers around to act as though he were the source of the noise.
  • Heroic BSoD: Murtaugh goes on a drinking binge after he is forced to kill a teenager (who was a friend of his son's). In a role reversal, Riggs has to play the sane man in the entire episode.
  • High-Voltage Death: Captain Murphy kills a Mook in the subway by kicking him onto the third rail.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Riggs kills Travis with a gun modified with cop-killer bullets (which Travis helped put back on the streets to begin with). And it is in fact the very same gun used by the boy Murtaugh shot. Which Travis stole from LAPD impound and sold to the boy in the first place.
  • Honest John's Dealership: Averted by Leo Getz. When trying to sell Murtaugh's home in, he insists on following the law and disclosing such interesting and alarming tidbits as the upstairs bathroom being "recently remodeled due to unexpected bomb damage", and "a drug dealer crashing a car through the living room" (which happened in the previous films).
  • Identification by Dental Records: When Tyrone tries to back out of his gun running deal with Jack Travis, Travis tells him that "only your dentist can identify the body" when he's done with him if he does.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: Played for Laughs when annoying sidekick Leo struggles with the Big Bad for a gun, and is shot in the shoulder for his efforts. He thinks he's dying because he feels numb and cold all over... which is only natural, since he was lying on the ice of a hockey rink.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: A delinquent leaks the name of the person Riggs was going to ask about before Riggs himself makes mention of said name:
    Mook: Like I told you before, asshole, I don't know no Jack Travis!
    Riggs: Hey, I didn't say his name was "Jack" — you'd better start telling me more than Jack Shit.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Played every which way in this film. Enforced with Billy Phelps, who was shot in the head. Subverted with Daryl, Edwards, and Jack Travis, all of whom lived long enough to get last words in. And of course, averted with Leo Getz and Lorna Cole.
  • Internal Affairs: Rene Russo plays an Internal Affairs officer Lorna Cole, who harasses Cowboy Cop Riggs (Mel Gibson) before falling in love with him. Subverted, however, in that Lorna is revealed to be, in her way, even more of a Cowboy Cop than Riggs is.
  • Jerkass: Riggs and Murtaugh towards Leo Getz, by playing mean pranks at him.
    • And a random jaywalker by pulling guns on him and pretending to gun him down.
    • And the director of Rianne's movie.
    • Lorna Cole by assaulting a crook who... verbally abused her. Hell, it appears much of the movie is a Took a Level in Jerkass for the main characters.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The bomber from the opening is never caught so far as the audience is shown, doubly so if it's the same culprit who bombs the hotel after the credits.
    • Downplayed at the very beginning of the movie, but Riggs and Murtaugh have clearly suffered no career repercussions for going rogue to bring down the South Africans at the end of the last film. This can be probably justified due to the international incident Rudd's actions created for Pretoria (not to mention the LAPD was already out for blood after Pieter Vordstedt assassinated half a dozen officers).
  • Lighter and Softer: The film has a much more comedic tone, especially compared with the second film.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Parodied when Riggs threatens a belligerent jaywalker with killing him and making him look like a suicide. After the man scurries away, Riggs and Murtaugh laugh about it.
  • Man on Fire: Riggs sets a mook on fire during the final battle.
  • Mauve Shirt: The 22-year-old cop, Edwards, who's the butt of jokes at his expense about his age and height throughout the film, and takes it all with good-natured, innocent charm. He ends up dead at the hands of Jack Travis.
  • Meaningful Funeral: Daryl's funeral. When Murtaugh, who had killed Daryl in a drug-related shootout, seeks to console his family, his mother smacks him. His father then gives Murtaugh an admonition:
    You want to do something [to help our family], Sgt. Murtaugh? You find the man that put the gun in my son's hand.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: A botched armor truck robbery → A corrupt officer stealing weapons from impound and selling them on the black market.
  • Miranda Rights: Played with after a car chase ends with the perp being ejected through the window and knocked unconscious:
    Riggs: You have the right to remain unconscious. Anything you say... ain't gonna be much.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • When Murtaugh announces his intention to strangle Leo for disclosing the house damages to the potential clients, Riggs tries to physically stop him. By the time Leo and the clients enter the kitchen, Riggs and Murtaugh are positioned as if they were about to kiss each other, leaving a bewildered look from Leo before showing them the rest of the house.
    • While he was coming down from his drunken Heroic BSoD, Murtaugh briefly got confused when Riggs mentioned he did it with Sgt. Cole. As it turns out, Lorna has an uncle that works in the Traffic division, and is also a sergeant.
  • Of Corsets Funny:
    • Riggs catches Murtaugh wearing a girdle under his body armor so that he can fit in his uniform when they get busted to patrol. Naturally, Riggs teases him about it.
      Riggs: Does Trish know?
      Murtaugh: It's not a woman's girdle, it's a man's girdle!
      Riggs: They make girdles for men?
      Murtaugh: Yeah, they make girdles for men! I haven't worn this uniform in fifteen years, the cleaners must have shrunk it.
    • Not long after, the other cops at the precinct discover the girdle during target practice, and rib him about it as well.
  • Oh, Crap!: The moment where Riggs fails to disarm the bomb from the opening.
    Riggs: Roger?
    Murtaugh: Yeah?
    Riggs: Grab the cat!
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: A brutal example. Murtaugh gets into a shootout with a teenage gang member who turns out to be a friend of his son's.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: Riggs and Lorna are both seen carrying their weapons tucked in their waistbands sans holster.
  • Pet the Dog: Literally. Riggs has gone from Ax-Crazy Death Seeker to Bunny Ears Cop when he chooses to make friends with a guard dog instead of shooting him. He justifies it by saying that, while he's okay with shooting people, he's unable to shoot a dog. This probably would've been in effect even in the first movie.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: A platonic example. For the first two-thirds of the movie, Murtaugh has had nothing but good-natured ribbing from his partner Riggs about his imminent retirement. When Riggs tries to snap him out of his Heroic BSoD after he shoots a teenager in the line of duty, however, tempers run high and Riggs' real fears emerge:
    Riggs: After all the shit we've been through, don't you get it? Don't you get it? When you retire, you're not just retiring you, you're retiring us! You're retiring us!
    Murtaugh: That's not my problem!
    Riggs: Yes it is!
    Murtaugh: That's not my problem!
    Riggs: You're the only family I've got! I've got three beautiful kids, I love them, they're yours! Trish does my laundry! I live in your icebox! I live in your life! What am I gonna do? What am I supposed to do?
  • Redemption Quest: Murtaugh has one after killing a teenager in self-defence.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Riggs follows Travis out of the subway station by riding on the front of a subway car.
  • Retirony: Defied. Early on in the film, Murtaugh's wife shoves a bulletproof vest on him, to make sure he always wears it.
    Roger Murtaugh: She loves me.
  • Rewatch Bonus: The 4x3 SDTV cut of the film makes it ambiguous which wire Riggs cut in the opening bomb threat scene. But if you saw it in theatres, or subsequent letterbox or HDTV cuts, you know that Riggs cut the red wire.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The cop killer bullets were based on real reports of ordinary pistol rounds being made into armor piercing ones. Of course, these reports later turned out to be made up, meaning the whole movie is about a specialized bullet that doesn't actually existnote .
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Not quite as vicious as Riggs in the second film, but when Murtaugh returns after Darryl's funeral, he goes person-to-person shaking people down to trace his gun. At the first one's house, the home of one of Darryl's homeys, he rants about how gang-banging is tantamount to self-genocide for their race.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: The bomb squad does this after witnessing the building that Riggs and Murtaugh tried to save going down.
  • Scar Survey: Prior to them having sex, Riggs and Lorna end up comparing battle wounds. While Lorna's injuries were the result of Noodle Incidents at that point, Riggs' wounds can largely be pinpointed to incidents that had occurred during the series.
  • See You in Hell: Implied when Riggs has just shot the Big Bad. Barely alive, the Big Bad looks at Riggs...
    Big Bad: Go to hell, Riggs.
    Riggs: You first.
  • Shady Real Estate Agent: Inverted. Murtaugh asks Leo Getz to help him sell his house. Leo, unfortunately, is a bit too law-abiding for Roger's good and the two people who are interested enough to see the house are scared off real quick when Leo mentions the multiple damages the Murtaugh house has suffered as a result of the villains of the previous two movies trying to kill Roger. The scene ends with Murtaugh angrily hollering at Getz that he didn't had to tell them those details.
  • Shooting Gallery: The "cop-killer" bullets that have just become available on the streets are demonstrated by Riggs and Murtaugh on the range. They strap a Bulletproof Vest that can stop a .357 Magnum round onto a target; a 9mm cop-killer bullet goes right through it.
  • Shoot the Dog: After the guard dog befriends Riggs, Hatchett yells for someone to "Kill that damn dog!"
  • Shrunk in the Wash: Used to excuse why Murtaugh's uniform no longer fits after 15 years of being out of it, blaming the cleaners for shrinking it. Riggs however doesn't believe a word of it.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: The acrimony between Lorna and Riggs largely glosses over the more subtle aspects of Belligerent Sexual Tension, as they end up having sex not long after cracking Jack Travis' gun ring.
    Lorna: I said don't touch anything. (proceeds to kiss Riggs)
  • The Stinger: Riggs and Murtaugh arrive at a building where a bomb had been discovered. They discuss again or not to go in... and just as they stop at the building, it explodes and both leave as Riggs states "I hope nobody saw us".
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Riggs gets ahold of one of Jack Travis' flunkies at the garage in which he works, asking him "where's your buddy Travis?" After Lorna is waylaid by five other guys (and beats the crap out of them) while Riggs, Murtaugh and the original suspect watch, Riggs again asks the suspect where Travis is. "I told you, moron, I don't know a Jack Travis." "I didn't say his name was Jack."
    Riggs: You better start telling me more than jack shit.
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: Immediately after agreeing to work with each other, Lorna ribs Riggs about letting Jack Travis slip through his fingers (likely referring to the hockey game). This leads to the following exchange:
    Riggs: Closer than you ever got.
    Lorna: "Close", Riggs? "Close" is a lingerie shop without a front window.
This confuses Riggs, and he brings this up when they go to examine an address they picked up from Billy Phelps' phone records, and are initially facing the Angry Guard Dog. It's likely because they were using different meanings of "close"; Lorna was using a comparison alluding to something being shut down, while Riggs meant proximity to arresting Travis. It also counts as Casual Danger Dialogue.
  • Tagline: "The magic is back again"
  • Take That!: Riggs suck-starts the flow of gasoline from a fuel tanker. When he gets a mouthful of gas, he spits it out and goes "Ugh, Exxon!". The film was produced shortly after the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska.
  • Television Geography: The building destroyed at the beginning of Lethal Weapon 3, a movie series set in Los Angeles, is obviously the old Orlando City Hall, with the new City Hall, the Suntrust Tower (the tallest building in the city) and other notable Orlando landmarks featured in the background. Made even better by the fact that the cop who says "Bravo" is Bill Frederick... Orlando's mayor at the time.
  • Time Bomb: Subverted. A foolhardy attempt by Riggs to defuse the bomb speeds up the counter. The only thing left to do is run, and let the building be destroyed.
  • Trash the Set: The buildings imploded during the opening and the stinger were actual buildings (both in Florida) that were being demolished. The housing development destroyed in the climax was also an ill fated development north of Los Angeles whose company had gone out of business sometime before and the city was all too glad to use the film to get rid of the abandoned frames.
  • Uranus Is Showing: Brought up during a dialogue between Grts and Riggs:
    Leo Getz: I mean, where does it say that a gunshot wound requires a rectal exam? Yeah. With a telescope big enough to see Venus!
    Martin Riggs: I guess all they saw was Uranus, huh?
    Leo Getz: Oh, that's great, Riggs. Ha ha. That's great.
  • Vapor Trail: Happens during the shootout on the construction site.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Jack Travis takes time out of his busy schedule of theft and gun running to attend an ice hockey game, buying some of the best seats in the house; unfortunately for him, he bought them from Leo, who recognises him from a video tape where he's committing murder.
  • War for Fun and Profit: The movie does this on a smaller scale, with urban gang wars rather than major military conflicts. The villain of the movie is a corrupt former LAPD cop who sells military-grade weapons to Los Angeles' street gangs. Not only does he make money from the gun sales, he reinvests some of the profit in the construction of Los Angeles suburbia... which is a booming industry because the gang wars he's helping to fuel have made the inner city so dangerous that anyone who can afford it is picking up and looking for a new place to live.
  • Wire Dilemma: Riggs insists on trying to defuse a bomb rather than waiting for the bomb squad to arrive. After joking around with Murtaugh about what color wire to cut, he finally cuts one that accelerates the timer on the bomb... which leads to the classic one-liner, "Grab the cat." This gets a Call-Back at the end of the film. Riggs and Murtaugh drive up to a scene where a bomb has been reported and are trying to recall what color wire they cut the last time, when the building explodes before they can get out of the car.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Whoever planted the car bomb in the beginning. It is never said if he/she was ever found, dead or alive.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Riggs in the opening, trying to disarm a bomb because "the bomb squad always arrives late." See The Cavalry Arrives Late entry above.
  • You Have Failed Me: Jack Travis does this to both guys who attempted the armored car robbery, because they were "going into business for themselves" and running the risk of screwing up the entire operation. He has one of them drowned in cement and left to be built over, and then goes into an interrogation room and shoots the other one in the chest.
  • You Just Ruined the Shot: Riggs tries to save Rianne from what he thinks is a hostage situation, but turns out to be a scene in the movie she's in.