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die hard is a xmas movie | by maryann johanson

dream cast: hypothetical ‘Lethal Weapon’ remake

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to remake an 80s classic TV show or movie with an all-new cast. This week: Lethal Weapon, the 1987 flick that — along with Die Hard the next year — kicked off a new ethos in action movies of more humor, more violence, and more FX.

(If you have a suggestion for an 80s TV show or movie we should play with, feel free to email me.)
The original cast featured Mel Gibson as LAPD sergeant Martin Riggs, griefstricken over his wife’s death and more than a little crazy with it (though he was probably always something of a loose cannon) and Danny Glover as Sergeant Roger Murtaugh, solid family man, looking forward to retirement, and not at all interested in getting killed on one of this last days on the job.

A remake could go in lots of different ways… in fact, it would probably have to. What made Lethal Weapon so unique 20 years ago is what every action movie has been copying since then, so a straight-up remake would be pointless: it would look like every other action movie we see these days. So we could do a retro throwback — the 80s are long enough ago now that they’re starting to look a little funny — and do it as a more overt comedy. How about this: We do a behind-the-scenes making-of metacomedy, sort of like Tropic Thunder meets, well, Lethal Weapon:

Sergeant Martin Riggs: Ewan McGregor as “Ewan McGregor” as “Martin Riggs”
Sergeant Roger Murtaugh: Samuel L. Jackson as “Samuel L. Jackson” as “Roger Murtaugh”

And so part of the joke becomes that the actors are the complete opposite of the characters they’re playing.

Or else we set our new Lethal Weapon today, and let it be funny and violent and over the top, but we switch the genders — it’s a female cop who’s nuts, and a female cop about to retire:

Sergeant Martina Riggs: Angelina Jolie
Sergeant Raya Murtaugh: Alfre Woodard

How would you remake Lethal Weapon?

Meet Martin Riggs again for the first time:

Who knew there was a whole opening scene that got cut from the movie?


MPAA: rated R


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