There was once a time when the high-strung Martin Riggs would have been a perfect addition to the small screen, but that was like 20-25 years ago, when the Lethal Weapon films were still hugely relevant. Fox is giving a new generation of TV audiences the Riggs and Murtaugh treatment this fall, and while obviously nothing can top Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as the leading duo, the first trailer for the modernization does manage to capture the madcap energy and hectic action of the films, while also amping up the jokes. If you don’t have a heart condition, check it out!
Regardless of whether you were super pumped by everything in that trailer or severely put off that anyone would try to recalibrate these classic characters for serialized TV, you can’t deny that this trailer does just about everything possible to remind audiences which franchise it’s based on. Want to know how crazy Martin Riggs is? Just watch him single-handedly take down a group of masked criminals and then have a piece of pizza, without realizing that there’s still a live bomb nearby that’s about to detonate. Or maybe you’ll be more convinced when you see him leaping from one vehicle to another, knocking someone out while hanging on to the top of a car and then leaping off presumably without suffering a laundry list of bodily injuries.
But while Rectify’s Clayne Crawford totally embodies the ne’er do normal behavior of Mel Gibson’s suicidal character, comedy vet Damon Wayans doesn’t have quite the same put-upon attitude that Danny Glover’s Murtaugh had. The aging detective recently had a heart attack and is advised to take it easy, which obviously isn’t going to happen, but the trailer makes the character look far less pissed off and wringer-run than the original version, opting for a goofier performance instead. Especially that last moment when he’s talking about kissing up to the boss, played by Kevin Rahm. It’s just…
But anyway, nobody’s watching Lethal Weapon to get health and wellness updates about the elder main character. We’re watching to see bad guys get blasted and to see shit blow up. And there appears to be quite a bit of that happening in the pilot, so the rest of the season will likely deliver on that front as well. If Riggs isn’t jumping from buildings by Episode 2, he’s not trying hard enough. Not that it’s all action, as the trailer also delves into the emotional undercurrent that drives Riggs’ baffling behavior. He used to have a wife in his Texas homeland, but she was killed in a car accident. (No sign of the dead child that the early descriptions set up, so perhaps that element has been excised.) Will her death somehow get worked into his new life and new job in a way that isn’t just mentally debilitating? We’ll have to wait and see.
Fox didn’t have much of a success on its hands in bringing Minority Report to TV audiences last year, seeing as how that’s already been scrapped. Lethal Weapon would probably be a better gamble had original screenwriter Shane Black been involved, but he’s not interested in the least, though he has no ill will against the show as it is. But the trailer looks better than I expected, and even without Joe Pesci involved, it looks like it could be fun.
Lethal Weapon will bring the “opposites attract massive amounts of trouble” tale to viewers on its schedule on Wednesday nights this fall, with a specific premiere date to be determined. Check out our premiere schedule to see when everything else is debuting in the meantime.
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