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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
Positive 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."
Violence & Scariness
Extreme violence throughout. 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 fistfights 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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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, and their breasts are shown. A naked man gets out of bed, and 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.
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Frequent profanity: "Ff-k," "s--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," "fag," "hell."
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Products & Purchases
The movie features TV programs including Family Feud, Warner Bros. cartoons, and The Three Stooges.
Drinking, Drugs & 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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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
LETHAL WEAPON is an unsubtle action movie that trades intrigue for visceral emotion. Angst hangs over much of the film. This world is populated with vengeance-crazed murderers and lonely suicides. Writer Shane Black peppers the movie with gallows humor, and veteran action director Richard Donner keeps things lean and mean, refusing to complicate the simple drug-running plot with so much as a twist.
The film caters to the audience's bloodlust, allowing us to relish Riggs' ruthless retribution by making him pay for his sins with his sanity. The violence is justified only in the sense that the bad guys are drug-running murderers and so deserve to die. Gibson excels at playing the dispenser of righteous violence and tragically flawed action hero. Lethal Weapon is suspenseful but never quite achieves the fever pitch of a Die Hard film. It is more interested in justifying violence than making the audience think.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate