Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lethal Weapon turns 25

My thoughts on the 25th Anniversary of Lethal Weapon, and how the film affected my life as a cinephile, is now up at Edward Copeland's site. Here's a sample:

Donner also makes the film re-watchable all these years later because the logistics of the action scenes make sense. Something modern action films are completely devoid of, letting your audience get their bearings and understand the confines of the space the film’s characters inhabit (especially during fight scenes) is what separates the really good action films from the bad ones. Look at the final fight scene between Riggs and the mercenary Joshua (a fantastic performance from Gary Busey in a role he credits to saving his career at the time) which is an interesting mix of Brazilian ju-jitsu and a fighting style known as Jailhouse Rock which is a mixture of different styles. These fighting styles hadn’t been seen onscreen before in a mainstream action movie (Steven Seagal’s Above the Law wouldn’t come out for another year) and showcase just how lethal Riggs is; they also put the viewer right into the chaos of the final fight which is a brutal, intense hand-to-hand battle. The difference between this final fight scene and say something from the Bourne movies is that Donner wisely cuts back about every 20 seconds to an establishing shot to remind the audience where they are so they can logically follow the action in the scene despite its chaotic aesthetic. It’s one of my favorite fight scenes in any action movie. 


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