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Lethal Weapon Review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    67

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    In a movie with the energy of this one, we're exhilarated by the sheer freedom of movement; the violence becomes surrealistic and less important than the movie's underlying energy level.

    Read Full Review

  • 12

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune

    The melodramatic clumsiness of the script, and, in one scene, its gratuitous endorsement of marijuana, betrays the youth of its writer, recent UCLA graduate Shane Black. And veteran director Richard Donner, whose credits include another cartoon movie, can't seem to thread the scenes together in any meaningful way. [6 Mar 1987, p.G]

  • 60

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Julie Salamon

    Lethal Weapon is vulgar, violent and predictable. Yet, in some outbreak of id, I got caught up in the shenanigans of Danny Glover and Mel Gibson as a mismatched cop team. Mr. Glover is more than solid and Mr. Gibson has added a kind of raw humor to his repertoire that is extremely sexy. [5 Mar 1987, p.1]

  • 80

    out of 100

    The New York Times Janet Maslin

    The film is all fast action, noisy stunts and huge, often unflattering close-ups, but it packs an undeniable wallop.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Lethal Weapon reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 15 & under

Mismatched cops spar in violent '80s action hit.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although Lethal Weapon (which stars Mel Gibson in one of his signature roles) is considered an iconic action comedy, it has a lot of graphic violence. And despite the comic moments, the tone is often quite serious. It treats the deaths of villains and innocent civilians in a very casual manner, as if killing bad guys is simply part of the job of being a cop. The only violence that seems to have a psychic toll is the harm done to young, attractive women. Sex is portrayed only in the context of prostitution and murder; there is female nudity (bare breasts) and a naked male backside. There is frequent profanity, including "f--k." Characters are shown smoking cigarettes and drinking beer throughout the movie. One of the main characters is shown intoxicated as he holds a gun to his head. Early in the film, a woman is shown snorting cocaine and swallowing pills before falling to her death from an upper floor in a high-rise. A character is hung from a ceiling and tortured with electric shock -- jumper cables are pressed against his body. Another character is tortured by having salt rubbed into his wounds.

  • Families can talk about the violence here. Do you think there is a message here amongst the carnage -- or is this simply an action film and not meant to be taken seriously?
  • How is race used as a comedic device? Families may want to compare and contrast the ways in which race is presented in more recent films such as Rush Hour, Shanghai Noon, and Men in Black.
  • How does this film meet the criteria of meeting the "buddy movie" formula so often employed in movies?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: An argument could be made that this movie promotes teamwork, but that message is likely to get lost in all the violence, sex, and the formulaic plot structure overall.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: One of the two main characters is openly suicidal; the second of the two main characters is frequently shown drinking beer and often says that he is "getting too old for this s--t."

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Extreme violence throughout the film. A woman commits suicide by falling from a high floor in a high-rise building. One of the main characters openly discusses suicide with those around him and even shows his new cop partner the bullet he intends to use; this character is shown putting a gun to his forehead and then into his mouth. The two main characters -- police officers -- are sent to stop a sniper who is shown shooting at young kids. Frequent gun battles and fist fights throughout the film. A character is hung from a ceiling and tortured with electric shock -- jumper cables are pressed against his body. Another character is tortured by having salt rubbed into his wounds. A house is shown blowing up. A carjacking is shown.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Early in the film, a woman is topless as she snorts cocaine and swallows pills before falling off a balcony from a high-rise building. On a video, three naked women take a shower together -- their breasts are shown. A naked man gets out of bed -- his buttocks are exposed. One of the main characters picks up a prostitute; as she makes "good time" implications, he wants to take her back to his apartment so they can watch TV together.

  • language false3

    Language: Frequent profanity. "F--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," "fag," "hell."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: The movie features TV programs Family Feud, Warner Brothers cartoons, The Three Stooges.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Characters are shown smoking cigarettes and drinking beer throughout the movie. One of the main characters is shown intoxicated as he holds a gun to his head. Early in the film, a woman is shown snorting cocaine and swallowing pills before falling to her death from an upper floor in a high-rise. A teenage daughter is grounded because she was caught by her father smoking pot; during the movie, she argues with him about why it's OK for him to drink, but not OK for her to smoke pot.

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