I'm not sure if this was the first Lethal Weapon movie I ever watched, but it was definitely the only one I remembered before making my way through the entire Lethal Weapon series again. At the time, I liked the movie, but I don't remember thinking it was anything out of the ordinary. I thought it was on par with pretty much all of the other B-movies I used to watch (a lot of action), but watching it again it is made clear how great a movie it actually is.
The characters are all very down-to-earth and personal. Chris Rock is probably the one that doesn't fit in the most, but maybe that's the point, putting together one big crazy family, and the movie feels real. Sure the explosions are over the roof, and the movie jumps right into a scene with a flamethrower-wielding maniac, but overall the events feel natural, if only overly acted.
The episode in the burning house, the fight on the highway, and the final fight scene, they all really manage to capture the intensity of the situation. The intensity of the fire, of the speed in the chase, and the emotion in the final fight is particularly intense. Jet Li adds some much appreciated martial arts mastership to the mix, and overall it just boils down to a serious dose of action and personality, all intertwined. Riggs is kind of an asshole, but he does care for his friend, and he does have some hardships of his own.
I also like the way that movies from this time period took place in the sun a lot. It wasn't just all darkness and doom and gloom, but actually intense fights even in broad daylight, and that adds to the realism. I don't know if I should call it realism since I'm really not watching movies like this to experience reality, but rather to experience something extraordinary, but I suppose you could call this extraordinary reality. Two cops, lots of criminals, a lot of action, and a lot of talk. It's great. It's just great.
The only two moments that didn't seem very realistic are 1.) the car bursting into flames when hit by a train, twice. The same car gets hit twice, and bursts into flames twice. It feels obviously staged. No... actually, that's all I can think of. Apart from that, it's a great movie. Both antagonists and protagonists have deep personalities, and though there's not really that much comedy, it's a fun watch, with a lot of action. If you haven't seen this series yet you're probably missing out!
rated 4/5: fo shizzle