There have been so many “buddy cop” films that it has become its own genre of sorts. Still, no pairing has yet matched the chemistry of Danny Glover and Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon franchise. Even with four films now under their belts, the duo is capable of delivering a relationship that is worn and comfortable while still remaining fresh and exciting. Some of the franchise’s running gags begin in this first film, like Riggs and his dislocated shoulder and Murtaugh’s familiar “I’m getting to old for this shit.” If you are more used to the later films, this one will strike you as a bit grittier and certainly darker.
Detective Murtaugh (Glover) has just turned 50 and has his eye on eventual peaceful retirement when he is reluctantly paired with the station psycho, Riggs (Gibson). The two new partners are placed on the trail of a dangerous drug ring and are forced to learn to work together when they become targets of an execution.
This DVD contains both a DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks. There is little difference between them except for a more powerful sub range and cleaner highs on the DTS track. There is a tremendous dynamic range in this film, from exploding buildings to an impressive use of highs. The DVD is successful in capturing such an ambitious use of ambient sounds. The mix is very hot and does step on the dialogue in a few places. Mostly all of the sounds are clear and realistic. Michael Kamen’s score is mixed into the action with expert skill, giving the entire mix a much more theatre-like ambiance than most films.
Lethal Weapon is presented in its original theatrical release aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The colors are particularly realistic while not necessarily bright or saturated. Skin tones are near reference. I did notice some grain and print artifact, but not enough to distract from the film. Blacks are a little disappointing in that a few shots seem more gray than black.
Not much to report here. The disc does include trailers and the typical bio material. There is a documentary called “A Fight to the Finish” which was very short and mostly clips from the film.
This release of Lethal Weapon is a little nicer than the box set version which has no feature or DTS track. The box set transfer is provided in both wide and pan&scan versions. Should you get the box set or individual disc? The box set offers a better price on the film series but less on features with the exception of the final disc. Mostly it depends on which features are most important to you. Me, I think I’ll “buy a couple of first-class tickets to Detroit and lay low a few weeks”.