Taglines: Pity the bad guys.
LAPD Homicide Sergeant Roger Murtaugh, shortly after his 50th birthday, is partnered with Sergeant Martin Riggs, a transfer from narcotics. Riggs is a former Special Forces soldier who lost his wife in a car accident two years prior, has turned suicidal, and has been taking his aggression out on suspects, leading to his superiors requesting his transfer. Murtaugh and Riggs quickly find themselves feuding with each other.
Murtaugh is contacted by Michael Hunsaker, an old Vietnam War buddy turned banker, but before they can meet, Murtaugh learns that Hunsaker’s daughter, Amanda, apparently committed suicide by jumping to her death from her apartment balcony. Autopsy reports show Amanda to have been poisoned with drain cleaner, making the case a possible homicide. Hunsaker tells Murtaugh that he was concerned about his daughter’s involvement in drugs, prostitution, and pornography, and was trying to get Murtaugh to help her escape that life.
Murtaugh and Riggs go to see Amanda’s pimp, but find a drug lab on the premises, leading to a shootout. Riggs kills the pimp and saves the life of Murtaugh, who starts to tolerate his new partner. Though the case seems closed, Riggs is aware that the only witness to Amanda’s apparent suicide was Dixie, another prostitute who was working away from her normal streets.
They go to see her at her home, but it explodes as they approach it. Riggs finds parts of a mercury switch from bomb debris, indicating a professional had set the bomb; children who had been nearby witnessed a man approach the house with a tattoo similar to Riggs’, and Murtaugh suspects Hunsaker knows more than he has told him.
The two approach Hunsaker before Amanda’s funeral, where he reveals that he had previously been part of “Shadow Company,” a heroin-smuggling operation run by former special forces operators from the Vietnam War, masterminded by retired General Peter McAllister and his right-hand man, Mr. Joshua.
Hunsaker had been laundering the money, but wanted to get out, and when McAllister found out he’d contacted Murtaugh, the general had Amanda killed. As they talk, Joshua arrives in a helicopter and kills Hunsaker. Shadow Company attempts to kill Riggs in a drive-by shooting, but he is saved by a bullet-proof vest. Murtaugh and Riggs fake his death to gain the upper hand.
Lethal Weapon is a 1987 American buddy cop action comedy film directed by Richard Donner, produced by Joel Silver, and written by Shane Black. It stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover alongside Darlene Love, Ebonie Smith, Gary Busey, and Mitchell Ryan. In Lethal Weapon, a pair of mismatched LAPD detectives – Martin Riggs, a former US Army soldier who has turned suicidal following his wife’s death, and Roger Murtaugh, a 50-year-old veteran of the force – become partners.
The film was released on March 6, 1987. Upon its release, Lethal Weapon grossed over $120 million against a production budget of $15 million, and it was nominated for Academy Award in the category of Best Sound. It spawned a franchise that includes three sequels and a television series.
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Directed by: Richard Donner
Starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Mitchell Ryan, Tom Atkins, Darlene Love, Traci Wolfe, Jackie Swanson, Lycia Naff, Patrick Cameron
Screenplay by: Shane Black
Production Design by: J. Michael Riva
Cinematography by: Stephen Goldblatt
Film Editing by: Stuart Baird
Costume Design by: Mary Malin
Set Decoration by: Marvin March
Music by: Eric Clapton, Michael Kamen
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: March 6, 1987