How Does The 1987 Lethal Weapon Hold Up In 2020? Yikes
We're all looking for something to watch while we are stuck at home. I was pleased to see the Lethal Weapon movies were just recently out on Netflix. I haven't seen them in probably 20 years so I thought it would be a good re-watch. However, just minutes into the first Lethal Weapon, I realized I forgot how different the world was just 30 years ago.
I told my co-host Lauren who is in her 20's to watch it. I did give here a warning: it was a far different time than what we live in today. Try to get over that and enjoy it for an action movie as it was. She did, but she was pretty shocked at some of the things she saw.
The first Lethal Weapon came out in 1987. It's probably the greatest buddy cop movie franchises of all time to this day. And yes, it was just a movie and not real life, but it mirrors the real world of the time. What was different? Well for one, cops got away with just about anything in the movies. While I've always been on the side of our police officers (my stepfather being one), there was not nearly the accountability in 1987 that there is now for police in 2020.
Mental health awareness is a pretty big thing now in 2020, but back in 1987 it was often seen as a sign of weakness if you sought help. Martin Riggs should have never been anywhere near a gun. Yes, it's a movie, but you know it echoes the real life situation of cops under stress and not getting the help they needed back then. Heck, it's still happening today.
Mel Gibson's character does also use the f word in the movie. I'm not talking about the four letter one, but the other one that was widely used back in the time period as a derogatory homophobic slur. Yah. That was common place back then and well into the 1990s. It's a different time now, and what a way we have come. So, heads up on that one.
Watching these movies again, I realize how big of an anti-gun message Lethal Weapon 3 has. You see anti NRA posters in the police district and the premise of the movie is getting cop killer ammo off the street. I like to think I'm a pretty sensible gun owner. I'm not a member of the NRA. But I do own guns and shoot regularly. It drives me nuts when I see these Murtough and Riggs waving there guns around everywhere and practicing the worst safety habits I've ever seen on screen. To me it's hypocritical to profit off a gun wielding action movie while also protesting the NRA.
Let's jump to Lethal Weapon 4, which was out in 1998. That's 11 years after the first and almost into the new millennium. You'd think that would be politically correct, right? It's a shocking reminder that 1998 was 22 years ago, and a lot has changed even since then. For one, it's amazing how the portrayal of Chinese immigrants was almost cartoonish at times. I don't think they meant it to be that way, but there is no way this movie wouldn't be under attack if it was released today. And rightly so, I've never understood how offensive portrayals of Asians or Asian Americans has been socially acceptable even up to recent years.
Now please, if you've read this far understand that I'm not some snowflake that can't enjoy these movies. If anything, I'm defending the franchise as saying it's a representation of the world we lived in, and you can't hold it up to the same political correctness as today's world. These movies helped me out in one of the darkest world news weeks I may have ever experienced in my 36 years on this planet. It's a great distraction and they are entertaining movies, and if anything they show us how far we've come.