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The 411 Douchebag of the Week: The Lethal Weapon Christmas Edition

December 25, 2017 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Lethal Weapon

The 411mania Douchebag of the Week

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the latest edition of The 411 Douchebag of the Week. I’m Bryan Kristopowitz.

Last year, during Christmas week, I took a look at the douchebags in Die Hard 2: Die Harder. The year before that I looked at the first Die Hard movie. Since there are no more Die Hard movies taking place at Christmas (at least not at the moment), I’ve decided to move on to a different big time action franchise that got its start in the late 1980’s and takes place at Christmas. Well, I shouldn’t say “franchise” since I’m only going to look at the first movie in the franchise as that’s the only one containing a “Christmas theme.” The other three movies in the franchise take place at other points in the year. What franchise/movie am I talking about?

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Lethal Weapon.

It’s the classic buddy cop action flick that made both Mel Gibson and Danny Glover big time movie superstars (Gibson had already played Mad Max three times before Lethal Weapon and his Martin Riggs character hit cinemas in 1987). Directed by Richard Donner and featuring a kick ass script by Shane Black, Lethal Weapon is a story of mismatched cops trying to take down a drug running operation that has ties to former American Special Forces operators. It’s filled with terrific performances, badass action, and humor that you just don’t expect. Stars Mel Gibson and Danny Glover have amazing buddy chemistry and work well together, both in the movie’s quiet/”dramatic” moments and its action moments. Much like Walter Hill’s 48 Hrs., Lethal Weapon has become a template for other action movie directors to follow, both big and low budget, and the movie still packs a punch thirty years later.

In the ensuing years, three Lethal Weapon sequels have been made, with Lethal Weapon 2 hitting movie screens in 1989, Lethal Weapon 3 in 1992, and Lethal Weapon 4 in 1998. Rumors of a potential fifth movie seem to bubble up every few months, and with the ongoing wave of nostalgia for anything and everything 1980’s and the recent return of Mel Gibson to the good graces of Hollywood (his movie Hacksaw Ridge was nominated for multiple Oscars, something that seemed inconceivable after Gibson’s drunken/anti-Semitic tirades, arrests, and messy divorce), don’t be surprised if a fifth Martin Riggs/Roger Murtaugh adventure appears soon. Lethal Weapon also currently exists as a TV show on the Fox broadcast network, with Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans playing Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh (the show is in the middle of its second season).

Now, the first Lethal Weapon, the one I’m talking about in this very issue, is the only movie of the four that takes place at Christmas. I’m still not sure why it takes place at Christmas. Perhaps it happened that way because no one else had done it before in an action movie? And would we have Die Hard at Christmas if Lethal Weapon had done it first (well, the Chuck Norris flick Invasion U.S.A. came out in 1985 and took place at Christmas for the most part, so Lethal Weapon isn’t the absolute first action movie to take place at Christmas, but it’s the one everyone seems to site when discussing the whole “Christmas action movie” thing)? Probably not.

So who is the top Lethal Weapon douchebag? Read on to find out!

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The 411mania Douchebag of the Week: The Lethal Weapon Christmas Edition

But first, this week’s honorable mentions:

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Roger Murtaugh: Initially I didn’t want to put Murtaugh on this list as he’s one of the movie’s main heroes and Glover is awesome in the role, but I decided to put Rog on the list for two reasons. First, his total public meltdown after Riggs “brings down” the jumper. I get why Murtaugh is upset with the insane way Riggs dealt with a suicidal jumper because the whole thing could have gone badly at any point. Yes, the fire department managed to install the giant air mattress thing just in time, but what if there had been some delay and Riggs screwed up his jump timing? Did Murtaugh have to have such a public meltdown, though? I don’t think so. He could have waited to “talk” with Riggs in the car or ushered him over to the empty grocery store and then lost his mind on his new partner out of public view. That would have been more professional.

Second, Murtaugh’s remarks about his wife Trish’s cooking right in front of Riggs are humiliating for Trish. Murtaugh could have found some other way and some other time to tell Riggs that, sometimes, Trish’s cooking isn’t the greatest. He didn’t do that, though. Murtaugh told Riggs that Trish’s cooking is terrible right in front of Riggs. Murtaugh is lucky that “asshole” is the only thing Trish called him.

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Mendez: As played by the great Ed O’Ross, Mendez is the low level criminal that meets with General McCallister and Joshua at the night club to “discuss a purchase.” Mendez is outraged that McCallister is using “mercenaries” to run his drug running operation and is having second thoughts about getting involved with McCallister. Oh come on, Mendez, you didn’t know that McCallister was using “trained killers” to run drugs in Los Angeles? How is that possible? And then Mendez’s total freak out while watching Joshua endure the pain of a lit cigarette lighter on his forearm is just so over the top and ridiculous. He never saw anything like that before? He never ran into some low level criminal asshole with a thing for completely unnecessary pain? I find that hard to believe, too.

I’ve often wondered what the hell happened to Mendez after the movie ended. Was he rounded up by the cops as part of the investigation after the big shootout at the end of the movie? Or was he killed off screen at some point and I missed someone talking about it? Anyone out there know?

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Joshua: Joshua is General McCallister’s main henchman and is played by Gary Busey. Joshua is a ruthless prick who seems to get off on following orders and killing people, like when he kills Hunsaker, Trixie (we don’t see him plant the bomb at Trixie’s house but we know he did it), and then tries to kill Riggs via drive by shooting. You’d think a badass mercenary like Joshua would kill people less publicly. A fucking house explosion? Assassination via helicopter at a fucking funeral? An actual drive by shooting? What the fuck? What the hell ever happened to silent but deadly sniper attacks and shit like that?

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And then there’s Joshua’s final fight with Riggs on Murtaugh’s front lawn. Did Joshua really think that if he somehow beat Riggs in hand-to-hand combat he was just going to walk away? Why not just give up and then commit suicide by cop so you don’t have to tell anyone anything? That would seem like a more “honorable” death for an ex-Special Forces operator/mercenary asshole, wouldn’t it?

And think about this. Let’s say he doesn’t essentially commit suicide by cop at the end of the movie and is eventually tried, convicted, and sent to prison. Think of the possibilities there for a Lethal Weapon spin-off franchise where Joshua has to fight guys in prison and shit. How cool would that have been? Good going, Joshua, fucking up a potentially lucrative and fulfilling life of killing people in prison simply because you’re the baddest guy there. Douchebag idiot.

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Michael Hunsaker: Played by the immortal Tom Atkins, Michael Hunsaker, at first, seems like a father in need of serious revenge for the mysterious death of his daughter. He goes to his old ‘Nam buddy and cop Roger Murtaugh to get justice for his daughter (“You find them and you kill them. You can do that. You owe me”). It all seems so reasonable in an action movie kind of way. But when Murtaugh and his new partner Martin Riggs start digging and find out that Hunsaker’s daughter’s death is connected to the criminal bullshit Hunsaker is involved in suddenly Hunsaker is all worried about his “other daughter” and what could happen to him. Hunsaker had no fucking clue that his daughter was killed because of his connection to the major drug running operation spearheaded by his old CIA buddies and the ones he launders money for at the bank? What bullshit.

And how about this. Hunsaker may be old and out of practice when it comes to killing people when he freaks out on Murtaugh in the bank and demands justice for his dead daughter, but I’m sure he still knew enough to handle a gun and join in on the hunt for McCallister and his goons. Why didn’t he do that? What the hell kind of father demands revenge and then completely wimps out on it?

A piece of shit one, that’s who. Like McCallister wouldn’t go after his “other daughter” later on. McCallister already showed that he’d do anything to protect his drug business. What the fuck, Hunsaker?

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General McCallister: As played by the great Mitch Ryan, General McCallister is a slimy piece of shit drug runner who deserves to die because he’s a piece of shit drug runner. On top of that, though, McCallister is also a man willing to molest a young woman to get what he wants. We don’t see him molest Murtaugh’s daughter Rianne (Traci Wolfe) after he kidnaps her and then ties her up in that dank hideout behind the night club, but he implies he wants to with that “You have a fine looking daughter, Sgt. Murtaugh” line, which still makes my skin crawl every time I hear it. And what the hell is she wearing in that scene? A negligee? She’s only a teenager you sick fuck!

Man, I love it when McCallister dies towards the end of the movie. I love it when he’s stuck in the car, upside down, and unable to grab the grenade to prevent it from exploding. It’s exactly what that motherfucker deserves.

And finally, this week’s 411 Douchebag of the Week: Lethal Weapon Christmas Edition goes to

Douchebag

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Captain Ed Murphy: As played by Steve Kahan, Captain Murphy becomes a bigger player in the Lethal Weapon franchise later on in the sequels. I believe he only has like one brief scene in the first movie, making a smart ass remark to Murtaugh about shaving his beard. But if you think about it, even with his one brief scene, Captain Murphy is the one who sets up the entire franchise by partnering Murtaugh with suicidal scumbum cop Martin Riggs. And think about what happens after that pairing. In each movie Murtaugh’s family is put in harm’s way. In the first movie it’s his daughter Lianne. Murtaugh may be a good detective, but without Riggs to tell him all about mercenaries and mercury switches and whatnot would he have been able to figure out the whole McCallister/Shadow Company drug running conspiracy? Probably not, at least not initially. And if Murtaugh didn’t get involved with any of that Hunsaker’s daughter’s murder/suicide would have been unsolved and Murtaugh’s family wouldn’t have been assaulted later on. Murtaugh’s house would also have remained intact.

And then think about the subsequent movies and the carnage that Riggs and Murtaugh produce while chasing down the bad guys. I’m sure the mayor and city auditor and whatnot would have preferred Riggs and Murtaugh not be partners. There likely would have been less damage to the city of Los Angeles as a result.

I mean, who is really responsible for that building explosion at the start of part 3? It sure as hell isn’t Riggs’s fault. If Murphy had kept Riggs in narcotics and not partnered him with Murtaugh none of the shit we see in all of the movies would have happened. Murtaugh could have eventually retired, he wouldn’t have sat on an exploding toilet, he wouldn’t have had to have his fucking house renovated, and he sure as fuck wouldn’t have had Jet Li burn his house down with his family inside of it because he wouldn’t have been involved in any of that shit.

So good going, Captain Murphy. Everything that happens to Murtaugh and the city of Los Angeles is all your fault. I hope the city sent him a bill at some point.

**

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Well, that’s Douchebag of the Week: The Lethal Weapon Christmas Edition. I hope you liked it. Thanks for reading.

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