Watching this movie is like watching "Die Hard". You can't look at it without mentally checking off all the moments that have since become cliches in the genre.You know the plot. Mel's suicidal. Danny's too old for this shit. They're like oil and vinegar, but somehow they team up and solve the big case. This, in and of itself, is hardly original - they've been making buddy-cop movies since the beginning of time. Scientists recently discovered cave drawings featuring cars exploding and two stick figures in cop uniforms wise-cracking with each other. What seperated Lethal Weapon from such timeless classics as "Freebie and the Bean", besides the absence of Alan Arkin, was the attention paid to the individual personalities of its characters. They weren't just two cops who told jokes, drank beer, screwed hot chicks, and punched suspects in the face. Of course, exploring these characters' emotions was a bad idea, and it led to such films as "Bridges of Madison County", where Clint Eastwood, original bad-ass, slow dances with Meryl Streep, snooty accent lady. But hell, it worked here.
So Mel and Danny outrun explosions, deal with psychos (Gary Busey, you could act! Who knew?) have dinner with Danny's family, and generally do everything that every single cop team has done in every single cop movie since. But this flick's well-directed, funny, and even after 3 sequels, looking at the original, it still seems fresh.
Watch this movie, and you'll see how the sequels have drained the life out of what was original and winning. And don't even get me started on Joe Pesci. They always talk about how Mel was supposed to die at the end of part 2, at the end of part 4, whatever. When does Joe Pesci die?"Franchise is getting tired! Better bring in a new character! Whiny accountant! Tough dame! Jive-talkin' young cop! Yippee, the back-flipping dog!" This movie was made back when inspiration actually meant something.