‘Lethal Weapon 5’: We’re Definitely Too Old For This (And Here’s Why)
The Lethal Weapon character Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) once said, “I’m too old for this shit” and then he said it again—four times in total. After that fourth grumble, it appeared the sun had set on one of the most sympathetic homicide detectives to have ever graced the silver screen. However, according to a recent edition of The Hollywood Reporter’s Producer’s Roundtable, Murtaugh didn’t ride off into that sunset; he parked his wife’s station wagon and continued hanging out with the problematic Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson). Producer Dan Lin had this to say at that roundtable about Lethal Weapon 5:
We’re trying to make the last Lethal Weapon movie and [Richard] Donner’s coming back. The original cast is coming back. And it’s just amazing. The story itself is very personal to him. Mel [Gibson] and Danny [Glover] are ready to go, so it’s about the script.
This isn’t the first time we’ve been shook with this counterintuitive idea; back in 2018, Lethal Weapon director Richard Donner said that a very dark fifth film was in the works and would be called Lethal Finale. Catchy titles, nostalgia, and iconic buddy cop pairings aside, there are plenty of reasons why this is an ill-advised idea. We’re here to say that Murtaugh isn’t the only one who’s definitely too old for this and here’s why.
Cover Photo: Warner Bros.
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The franchise has historically gotten worse with every installment.
The original Lethal Weapon was a game-changer, a pioneering film. You had the close-to-retirement vet (Murtaugh) paired with the “lethal weapon,” Riggs, a young, ex-special forces wild card with a death wish. It was gritty, witty, and awesome, changing the way people approached the buddy cop genre. The film invented its particular type of mismatch (which has been replicated to death) while still delivering a compelling story. Unfortunately, when writer Shane Black exited the franchise, the subsequent sequels became more and more reliant on Gibson and Glover’s chemistry, resembling more of a sitcom than an action thriller. What was once a climatic UFC fight to the death turned into chicken dancing in boxer shorts.
The TV show tried, succeeded, and then failed, exhausting viewers.
If you’re going to take an R-rated movie franchise and turn it into a network television series, Fox’s Lethal Weapon is a best-case scenario example. Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford worked as Murtaugh and Riggs, respectively. Sure, it wasn’t going to win any Emmys or anything (not that it matters) and relied almost completely on the chemistry of its leads (the surrounding drama being B-movie hogwash) but it was fun. That is, until a bunch of behind-the-scenes melodrama provoked the eventual firing of Crawford; the series then went on without Riggs (and worked) until Wayans confused his art with reality and played the “I’m too old for this shit” card. Canceled.
There are already too many sequels.
Just because Bad Boys for Life resurrected a buddy cop franchise and the Fast and Furious saga keeps turning out sequels like creativity is something you can buy at Walmart doesn’t mean ideas should be recycled. Audiences aren’t that easy (or at least they shouldn’t be). Are we really at the point where every story ever told has to be retold? Surely there’s some young kid out there with an original script ready to be made into a new franchise; after all, Shane Black was straight out of college when he sold his Lethal Weapon spec script to Warner Bros over three decades ago.
Mel Gibson’s signature brand of crazy isn’t cool anymore.
Seeing Gibson go ape shit back in the '80s and '90s was one thing (we thought it was all an act) but now we know that there's something real behind those eyes. The actor’s off-screen behavior since 2006 has drastically changed the way audiences perceive him; so much so that it seems strange that Gibson would even want to realign himself with a character, who, at his best, was completely unhinged. Riggs was our maniac, using his crazy for good, not evil; he kills a bunch of South African white supremacists in Lethal Weapon 2 for Judas' sake. It’s not unfair to say that Gibson’s current reputation might not blend well with a character he hasn’t played since 1998. But hey, maybe he’ll bring crazy back.
Danny Glover was 'too old for this shit' in 1987.
Some say age is just a number, but Roger Murtaugh has never subscribed to this philosophy. Danny Glover is 73 years old. Are we expected to believe that Glover’s Murtaugh, who was in his early 50s in the first film and about to stash the badge away, is going to take a field trip from the nursing home and fight crime? Besides, Murtaugh is a family man; it’ll be hard to imagine his family approving of a walker-wielding crusade. Best case scenario: something really bad happens and it becomes a story about two old men who need to go out swinging. A dark version of Lethal Weapon 5 will be so drastically different than the comedic adventures of old that it will feel like it’s part of a different franchise entirely (this is all assuming they don't de-age Glover and Riggs with CGI).
Everyone is 'too old for this shit.'
There will be no foot races in Lethal Weapon 5. Not only are Glover and Gibson up there in years but the young detective who marries Murtaugh’s daughter, Lee Butters, played by Chris Rock in Lethal Weapon 4, will be in his 50s now. Lethal Weapon is an action franchise: who will be at the center of all the action?
'It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia' already gave us the ‘Lethal Finale’ we deserved.
"It's been done," was It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's official response to the news of Lethal Weapon 5 on Twitter. They're not wrong. Sunny's sixth season brought fans the episode “Dee Reynolds: Shaping America’s Youth.” In that episode, the gang screens their take on Lethal Weapon 5 for high school students; the resulting footage is so terrible—from Mac’s blackface Murtaugh to a The Room-esque sex scene—that it’s magnificent. In season nine they continued their take on the Lethal Weapon franchise with an episode entitled, “The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon 6.” Sunny’s twisted display of nostalgia perfectly exemplifies the fact that we’re definitely too old for this.