Monday, June 11, 2012

Scene Stealer: Lethal Weapon 2

I bet the last thing you think about when you’re in the john is that a bomb might be strapped to the toilet.  What would you do if there were one?  We see what happens to one unsuspecting cop when this very thing happens and how, with the luck of his partner, he avoids getting blown to smithereens while taking a, well, you know.

If you’re fans of the Lethal Weapon series, then you’ll be well-acquainted with Riggs and Murtaugh, the mismatched pair of LAPD detectives who always seem to find themselves in a pickle.  When I think of the series, this particular pickle always comes to mind because it’s one of the most hilarious. The sequel is a good movie largely because of the inventive forms of danger it devises and the ways it further defines the relationship between Riggs and Murtaugh.  They’re still like oil and water, but they’re more than just colleagues; they’re friends and their relationship is still defined by two main things: exasperation and trust.

In the second film, Murtaugh finally gets the house to himself for the first time in twenty years when his family goes to stay with his wife’s sister after they are threatened by drug dealers.  He retreats to “man’s sacred place” and notices something awry: written on the toilet paper is the message “Boom You’re Dead!”  If he stands up, a bomb will explode.  When Riggs shows up and finds Murtaugh stuck on his toilet, he gets a look at the bomb and realizes that he’s going to have to call in the bomb squad.  Murtaugh, always the dignified one, doesn’t like the idea because he doesn’t want anyone to see him in that predicament and asks Riggs to keep the situation quiet.  Riggs promises to keep his mouth shut and to only call in the necessary enforcements, but naturally, the next shot cuts to the street outside Murtaugh’s house where sirens blare and throngs of police, fire and rescue, bomb squad personnel and members from Riggs’ and Murtaugh’s precinct have gathered.

Though filled with humour, the scene also shows how loyal and protective the pair is as partners and friends.  Riggs refuses to leave Murtaugh alone when it's time for him to dive from the toilet into the bathtub, putting himself in harm's way for his partner and friend.  "Guys like you don't die on toilets," Riggs tells Murtaugh.  They clasp hands and share a knowing look which is an unspoken unknowledgment of what they each mean to the other.  On the count of three, they both dive into the bathtub and the bomb explodes, sending the toilet flying out the window and onto a police cruiser parked outside.  As smoke and debris billow around them, Riggs and Murtaugh burst into laughter.  They've survived yet another attempt on their lives by banding together.

4 comments:

  1. Any Lethal Weapon scene feels incomplete without hearing Murtaugh say "I'm too old for this shit!".

    I miss Shane Black's writing and humour. Can't wait for his return in Iron Man 3.

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    1. Yes, that is a classic Murtaugh refrain in the series and hearing it always makes for a good laugh.

      I had no idea that Shane Black was attached to Iron Man 3. Nice!

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  2. That is a great scene. It affirms how close the Riggs/Murtaugh relationship has become. As much of a prankster Riggs is, he does at least try to spare Murtaugh from any form of humiliation.

    That is the basis of what a good buddy-cop film should be.

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    1. I couldn't agree more. The Riggs/Murtaugh relationship is the crux of the entire series and it's nice to see how it evolves from film to film.

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