The Lethal Weapon series is one that I always liked, but it has been quite some time since I watched any of the movies in the series. Fortunately for me, Warner Brothers has gone and released a new set containing all four films along with a fifth disk containing new documentaries. On top of that, the movies have all received spiffy new transfers, which improve upon the individual 2006 Blu-ray releases.
Disk 1: Lethal Weapon
Lethal Weapon pairs veteran detective Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) with the suicidal crazy Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson). Murtaugh is feeling the weight of the job and Riggs is suffering from his Vietnam experience combined with the recent loss of his life. Together they find themselves mixed up in a drug smuggling ring.
This movie is an absolute blast. Action from start to finish, characters that are actually develop and are interesting, and an overall energy that cannot be denied. Beyond that, there is a dark edge, an aura around the Riggs character. Watching him act suicidal, unhinged, and so dedicated to the job is pretty amazing, especially when placed next to the world weary family man that is Murtaugh. Seeing the natural relationship develop is not something you see everyday, especially in an action film. It was also fun seeing Gary Busey in a movie where he matters. I think the last time I actually saw him in a movie he was voicing a killer cookie (no joke).
Lethal Weapon is a movie that holds up and is better than my memories give it credit for. There is something to be said about the combination of character, action, and practical effects is rather exhilarating. It is no faint praise to say director Richard Donner and writer Shane Black crafted a defining moment in the evolution of the buddy comedy. It is also notable as Gibson's first major American film following the Mad Max films.
Audio/Video. The 1.85:1 frame looks really quite good. One of the keys is to not freak out when you see the opening stock shot; it does not look particularly good and this is likely the best it is going to look. The rest of the film is quite solid, it is not perfect and there is plenty of grain evident, but colors are all sharp and there is a good level of detail, although shadows do seem to get a little muddy at times. The overall look is very distinctive as a film from the 1980s and that is a good thing. I really like the film-like quality of the grain and the not quite modern look of the transfer.
Audio is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that sounds quite good. The dialogue is clear and centered with a strong score that uses the surrounds to nice effect. I particularly liked the gunshots; they have a very distinctive sound, in particular the scene where Murtaugh goes to save his daughter and Riggs makes use of a sniper rifle. Definitely not a modern track, but still sounds quite good.