By: John M Jerva
“What ya Say Jack, would you like a shot at the title?” It’s Christmas Day and I’m here with a special holiday installment of Foot Fist Fridays! There’s nothing that says Happy Holidays more like Mel Gibson and Gary Busey going toe to toe in the finale from the first Lethal Weapon movie. Just like Die Hard, I must say that the first movie in the Lethal Weapon franchise is indeed a Christmas movie and it’s definitely festive complete with Christmas songs to go along with all the mayhem and carnage the ensues in this classic film from 1987 that world eventually spawn three sequels and hopefully one more in the future.
Mel Gibson’s portrayal of burnt out Vietnam veteran turned police detective Martin Riggs is without a doubt one of the most iconic characters in action cinema history. What makes it even better is this film also stars veteran actor Gary Busey as the mysterious assassin Mr. Joshua who works for the criminal organization that Riggs and his partner Roger Murtaugh, played brilliantly by Danny Glover, go after when the daughter of one of Murtaugh’s war buddies died under mysterious circumstances.
Busey, who is a shell of his former shelf nowadays used to be one of the most sought after DTV action stars in the 80’s and 90’s and here he plays Mr. Joshua with the right amount of evil evil and arrogance. Even though he is as bad as they come, Mr. Joshua follows a code of honor just like Riggs and respects his enemies.
The ending culminates in a one on one death match which takes place on Murtaugh’s own front yard as Riggs challenges Mr. Joshua to a winner take all brawl that is fast, brutal and stripped down and Gibson is spot on in the physical aspect here as he demonstrates some awesome martial arts moves. I remember seeing the movie on opening weekend snd seeing this fight for the very first time. The scene is filmed in a chaotic manner which suits what is happening and I always had a feeling that Riggs exorcised a few demons with this fight even though he was far from OK when the credits rolled.
A lot of criticism has been made of this fight and while some will say that the editing is bad or such, I always felt that it was important and instrumental to the growth of Riggs as a character and it made us care for him more. It certainly is in your face and it was one of the original fight scenes that I was introduced too as I was start to gain my love of the action genre with each passing day. Movies and certain scenes are supposed to make you feel something snd this one did for me and Riggs will always be one of Gibson’s most iconic roles besides Max of course.
Anyway, enough talk on that. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from myself and all the Action-Flix.com family. Let’s hope that 2021 rises above and here’s hoping that the action films rock.
Remember to tune in next week for a very special New Years Eve installment of FIREPOWER FRIDAYS!
Now let’s watch Riggs take out the trash below!!!