By-the-numbers LAPD detective and family man Roger Murtagh (Danny Glover) gets a surprise for his 50th birthday in the form of a new partner: Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson), a live wire who’s developed a death wish upon the recent passing away of his wife. Riggs’ willingness to take wild risks in the face of certain danger makes him both an asset and a menace in taking on ruthless drug smugglers responsible for the death of the young daughter of Murtagh’s old war buddy (Tom Atkins), though before too long he’s invited to his partner’s dinner table, marking the beginning of a beautiful bromance and one of the most successful action franchises of all time. The original “Lethal Weapon” has an edge that its many sequels lack as Riggs is genuinely near-psychotic, though apparently that’s nothing a final cathartic round of fisticuffs with the dastardly Mr. Joshua (Gary Busey) on Murtagh’s front lawn won’t fix; the film also has a nihilistic, anarchic spirit that can only be found in ’80s exploitation cinema, with police officers spewing threats like “No way you live, no way” and cackling with glee when the bad guys blow up in their villainous cars. Don’t think there isn’t some real art going on here, though — Gibson apparently won the title role in Franco Zeffirelli’s “Hamlet” (1990) thanks to the scene where Riggs contemplates suicide. – IFC Staff