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YMMV / Lethal Weapon

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  • Acceptable Ethnic Targets/Values Dissonance: Riggs and Murtaugh are vehemently anti-apartheid and take on Amoral Afrikaners in 2, but in 4, seem to think it's perfectly okay to make Asian Speekee Engrish jokes throughout (although to be "fair" mostly around the Chinese villains who make their money smuggling and enslaving other Chinese people; they are much more respectful around the non-villainous Asian characters).
    • To be fair, they did it only to Uncle Benny. Who does speak like that. It could be they're just insulting him considering they have had dealings with him in the past.
  • Awesome Music: The scores for all four films were co-written by Michael Kamen and Eric Clapton. Do the math.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The opening scene to the fourth movie, which has the Murtaugh and Riggs fighting the Human Tank, AKA some guy in full body armor running around with an assault rifle and a flamethrower. This has no bearing on the plot and is never referenced again aside from a newspaper clipping in one scene.
  • Complete Monster: From the second film:
    • Arjen Rudd, the greedy Minister of Foreign Affairs at the South African consulate in Los Angeles in the second film, is known for his harsh actions as part of apartheid. He is also a drug smuggler, abusing his power as a high-ranking official to serve as a front for his crimes. Several years ago, Rudd ordered the murder of Martin Riggs, a LAPD detective who was getting close to uncovering Rudd's activities, resulting in the death of Riggs's wife Victoria. At the beginning of the film, Rudd has Pieter Vorstedt execute one of his henchmen for losing a shipment of Krugerrands, then has Vorstedt threaten Roger Murtaugh, the lead detective in the case of the Krugerrands. Simultaneously, Rudd sends assassins after Leo Getz, a witness. As the LAPD gets closer to uncovering Rudd's operation, he has Vorstedt murder every police officer involved in the investigation, with the exception of Riggs and Murtaugh, then has his secretary Rika, who was in a relationship with Riggs, drowned just to spite Riggs. Rudd later shoots Riggs multiple times and then claims "diplomatic immunity". Arjen Rudd was the villain in the series who cut the deepest and crossed the most lines.
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    • The aforementioned Pieter Vorstedt is the head of security for the aforementioned Arjen Rudd. Vorstedt does any hands-on villainy for Rudd, including threats and assassinations. Several years ago, Vorstedt was told to murder Detective Martin Riggs, who was getting close to uncovering Rudd's illegal activities. Vorstedt failed to kill Riggs, but killed Riggs's wife by either tampering with the brakes of the car or running her off the road. During the film, Vorstedt executes a henchman named Hans when the latter lost a shipment of Krugerrands in a car chase. Later, he and a few associates sneak into the house of Detective Roger Murtaugh, who is leading the investigation, and threatens him with death should he poke his nose into their affairs. During this time, the South Africans try to kill an informant named Leo Getz and rig Murtaugh's toilet with a bomb. Later in the film, Rudd orders Vorstedt to murder the policemen participating in the investigation, resulting in Vorstedt murdering 6 officers, getting into a small chat with one before shooting him in the head. Murtaugh manages to escape, but Riggs is captured by Vorstedt, who taunts him about the death of Riggs's wife and revealing his role in it before drowning Rudd's secretary Rika, who was in a relationship with Riggs, before trying to drown Riggs. Pieter Vorstedt is a cold-blooded, emotionless killer who doesn't care about the blood on his hands or how cruel the actions he takes are.
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  • Contested Sequel: Whilst the first two movies are by and large considered buddy-cop/action classics, 3 and 4 are much more divisive. To some they are installments that have reached the point of self-parody in terms of their level of goofiness with things like the continued presence and pushing into center stage of the Leo Getz character as well as not having as strong of scripts after the departure of Shane Black. Whilst to others they while not as good as the first two are solid entries that continue to show off the great chemistry between its leads, match if not up the ante in at least some of the action scenes, and rounds off the story-arcs of its characters well. Particularly Riggs who finishes his progression from a crazed suicidal man to a more down to earth and at peace guy who can move on with his life and allow himself to be happy.
  • Crazy Awesome: Riggs, Riggs, Riggs.
    • Also, Riggs.
      • "You think I'm crazy? You think I'm crazy, I'll show you crazy!" *proceeds to slap himself in the face multiple times while wailing like Curly from The Three Stooges, pokes the drug dealer in the eyes, slaps the other drug dealers, and pulls out a gun.
  • Ending Fatigue: The first movie has a minor case of this with the fight against Mr. Joshua. It's a cool sequence, but the plot's already been wrapped up.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Leo Getz (in the second film, at least).
    • The fourth film introduced American audiences to Jet Li, and his character is largely what makes that film watchable. Many American moviegoers left the theaters saying, "Who the Hell was that?"
  • Evil Is Cool: Mr. Joshua, Pieter Vorstedt and Wah Sing Ku.
  • Even Better Sequel: Richard Donner, Mel Gibson, and Danny Glover all consider the second one to be this.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Die Hard. It helps that they're both Christmas movies.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In the first film, Riggs jokingly asks if the stock market crashed. Months after the film came out, Black Thursday happened.
    • Riggs mocks Rudd's racism and calls him "Aryan" in the second film. Cut to 2006, and Mel Gibson is in hot water for making several racist remarks during his arrest. Cut to 2010, and he's in even more hot water for making even more racist statements during an argument with his girlfriend.
    • In the first film, one of the kids near Dixie's house says "My momma says policemen shoot black people!". It's a little more awkward these days, thanks to the high-profile police shootings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in 2014, spurring the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Mel Gibson's character getting "married" by a Rabbi in the fourth film.
    • The original ending of the second film is now this, when you discover that Riggs does die in the second season finale of the TV series Continuity Reboot.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay: Riggs and Murtaugh are just loaded with this.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Every villain of the series has crossed this.
  • Memetic Mutation: Danny Glover has always been, and will always be, getting too old for this shit.
  • Mis-blamed: Many fans and critics credit the series' quality and success to writer Shane Black. However, many of the series' signature elements, including the humor, were added by Jeffrey Boam in his uncredited rewrites to the first film and screenplays to the second and third. Black's original treatments were considerably Darker and Edgier than the final product, with the character of Riggs being an unstable psychopath killed off at the end of the second film.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Human Tank in 4's intro.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Tim Cavanaugh, one of the cops in Riggs and Murtaugh's precinct who gets assassinated, is played by Dean Norris, who would later gain recognition as Hank in Breaking Bad.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Just try not to cheer for Jet Li in the fourth film.
  • Sequelitis:
    • A not too drastic example, but most noticeable with part 4.
    • Shane Black disliked the sequels, as he felt they were too jokey and that they ruined the character of Riggs.
  • Values Dissonance: Riggs displays casual homophobia in the original film (calling Amanda sleeping with Dixie disgusting, and questioning whether Murtaugh's a "fag" when he tries to put out Riggs' burning jacket). Perhaps fair for its time in 1987; stands out quite a bit in modern times.
    • Riggs' "courtship" of Rika in part 2 starts out with manly initiative and is portrayed as wacky antics combined with Love at First Sight in the name of love, but for modern audiences may go right into creepy Stalker with a Crush territory, particularly when he makes a scene in the grocery to force her to come with him, a stranger she barely knows, to his trailer home on the beach, while at the same time painting a target on her back.
  • Vindicated by History: 3 & 4 are much more fondly looked on nowadays. They aren't as popular as 1 or 2, but general consensus is that the quality of the sequels is much more consistent than other sequels to '80s action films.


Example of: