Lethal Weapon Series Premiere PLot Summary:
A quasi reboot/remake of the popular action series. Lethal Weapon follows LAPD officer Roger Murtagh (Damon Wayans) who recently suffered a heart attack, and his new partner, the suicidal former Navy SEAL Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford) who just lost his wife and unborn child.
“This series looks like an unmitigated dumpster fire.”
–Bill Bodkin, September 12, 2016 Pop-Break’s “2016-17 New Show Cancellation Predictions” Column
I will readily admit that I went into the series premiere of FOX’s Lethal Weapon with low expectations. Honestly, I was hoping for a “so bad, it’s hilarious” dumpster fire of a premiere. What I was expecting to get was a forgettable, middle of the road action-drama that I’d forget about after writing my review.
Instead, what I got was a pilot that intrigued me, that makes me want to watch the series next week.
Is it perfect? Absolutely not. There’s plenty of rough edges here that desperately need to be smoothed out, but at its core, Lethal Weapon is a fun run-and-gun cop show that has potential for big laughs, and believable drama.
The main reason the series works is its star, Clayne Crawford.
Crawford has assumed the mantle of Martin Riggs, one of the most recognizable action film characters of the past four decades, and a role made famous by by Mel Gibson. Crawford is able to capture both the quick wit, and harrowing pathos that lie within the Riggs’ character. He portrays Riggs as a kind of sad clown — someone who is going for the laughs, but the pain and agony behind them speak volumes. Crawford is also extremely believable in the action realm of the series, which was one of the reason’s Gibson worked so well in the role.
Thankfully (so far) Crawford’s Riggs has not developed Gibson’s Riggs’ fascination incorporating Three Stooges-esque physical comedy, and one-liners into his repertoire. Crawford has (so far) humanized a character that became a caricature of itself by the time the fourth film rolled around.
On the other side of the coin, Damon Wayans is hit-or-miss as Roger Murtagh, the “too old for this shit” role made famous by Danny Glover. What’s ironic here is that Wayans, known for his comedic roles, seems out of place when he needs to be funny. I don’t think this is because Wayans has all of a sudden forgotten how to be funny, but the direction and writing really hamstrung him. He had to do too much mugging, and his one-liners with Riggs just fell completely flat. Mayans was actually at his best during the dramatic scenes — particularly when he was explaining his love for his family, and how he had a heart attack when his youngest daughter was born.
The chemistry between Wayans and Crawford has a lot of potential. They didn’t necessarily click in the pilot, but they didn’t really need too at first. Next week, when they do a “boy’s night out” will be the real test of their dynamic.
Honestly, give Lethal Weapon a shot. Don’t expect the next great action series, or iconic crime drama — go in expecting to be entertained.
Rating: 7 out of 10