Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) – Richard Donner

Roger Murtaugh’s (Danny Glover) retirement is only ten days away, so you can be assured that he and Riggs (Mel Gibson) are going to find their way into trouble in the third entry in the Lethal Weapon franchise. Reuniting director Richard Donner with all the familiar faces that have populated the universe returning, as well as the addition of Rene Russo as Lorna Cole, an Internal Affairs cop who may be more than an equal to Riggs.

This time around, the gang are all involved in an ex-cop, Jack Travis (Stuart Wilson), who is selling confiscated arms and ammunition on the streets of Los Angeles – he hires ex-cons for his construction company, anduses it as a profitable cover.

As usual, it’s the characters that makes these films a lot of fun. That, and the chemistry the actors share, how the dialogue, moments, and throwaway lines all seem to have a reality to them, as they seem so unrehearsed.

By this point in the series, I imagine that Donner, Gibson and Glover all have a great sense of short hand when working with one another, and while the story isn’t as strong as either of the two previous films, it’s still a solid action film, and also delivers a bit of a commentary on guns on the street, and how they very often end up in the wrong hands.

Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) returns, as do all the members of Roger’s family, including the wonderful Darlene Love as his wife, Trish, and Rene Russo’s Lorna fits nicely into the group. It’s also great that Captain Murphy (long time associate of Donner’s Steve Kahan) has screen time, and for the first time interacts directly with the villain.

And while it’s fun to watch Riggs and Roger at work, any intelligent viewer knows that if they really were cops, they probably would have been booted off the force awhile ago – especially Riggs.

It should come as no surprise that as the film ends, Roger pushes off his retirement again (another ten years until forced retirement) which leaves the film open for a sequel (coming up shortly on the blog) and serves as a bit of a commitment to Riggs, who would have been completely adrift should Roger have retired.

There are some fun sequences in the film (the opening bomb sequence is a favourite), and great music by Micheal Kamen, Eric Clapton and David Sanborn (and I love the opening track by Sting, ‘It’s Probably Me’ and the Elton John track, ‘Runaway Train’ that closes the film).

And just watching this one, put me back into the summer this one came out, where I was, what I was going through, and how these films were a welcome break from reality for a couple of hours.

And since I’m apparently on a bit of a Richard Donner kick at the moment, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there are a couple more films of his coming up on the blog.

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