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Trivia / Lethal Weapon

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  • Actor-Inspired Element: Riggs' love of The Three Stooges comes from Mel Gibson himself.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Inverted. Murtaugh's Catchphrase 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.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: Rare for an action series of its time to go to at least a tetralogy of films, all four films were box office smash hits. Each entry was among the biggest hits of its given year (4 was the only one not to finish in its year's top-ten box office, finishing 11th), and adjusting for 2019 inflation, the series averaged $262 million per entry in the United States. Even its television series was a solid ratings-grabber for FOX that was only cancelled due to being a Troubled Production and heavy Hostility on the Set between its leads.
  • 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 (in his opinion, anyway).
    • Jeffrey Boam was unhappy that his script for Lethal Weapon 3 was largely thrown out and heavily re-written by Robert Mark Kamen. Similarly, his initial draft for Lethal Weapon 4 was unused, and his later contributions to the shooting script went uncredited due to the hectic production schedule. Boam later went on to say that both films were inferior to his original treatments.
  • Died During Production: Richard Donner, the director of the movies, passed away on July 5th, 2021, leaving the fate of Lethal Finale, the Grand Finale of the franchise, unknown.
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  • Fake Nationality: In an odd reversal of Jewish actors portraying Italian-Americans, Italian-American actor Joe Pesci plays Leo Getz, a character of German-Jewish descent.
  • Follow the Leader: The series spawned a lot of buddy-cop films.
    • 48 Hrs. from 1982 should be considered the origin of the 1980s buddy-cop film, but the Lethal Weapon series does codify most of the tropes.
  • 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 and a filthy mouth, 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.
  • 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 Rene Russo start to crack up in one shot before it's cut to another. The rant he and Butters go on about cellphones in 4 is entirely unscripted, with Donner apparently just telling them to, "Bitch about cell phones for a while."
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  • Underage Casting: Danny Glover is ten years younger than his character Roger Murtaugh, and Mel Gibson was in high school when The Vietnam War ended and therefore far too young to play a Vietnam vet.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: Richard Donner and producer Joel Silver's tendency to make serendipitous, on-set improvisations and changes has made this series infamous for it.


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