I guess I should stop being surprised. After all, there are only so many franchises out there, and judging by the way things have been going the past few years, it makes sense that every single one – even the ones that seemed long dead – are getting resurrected one way or another.
The list is so long it’s not even worth typing it out. Suffice it to say that if there’s a series of movies you enjoyed over the past 30 years and it has yet to be revisited one way or another – whether via a sequel (National Treasure), a prequel, a reboot (Die Hard), or a TV series – just you wait. Odds are, it will be back soon enough.
Today’s example is the buddy cop movie that started them all: Lethal Weapon.
This is a rare case, because not only was there already a sequel that came too late and didn’t work, there was also a recent TV series. That sequel hit theaters in 1998, co-starred Chris Rock and Jet Li, and was not good. The TV show ran for three years, with Damon Wayans as Murtaugh and a couple of guys as his partner (after the first co-lead was a little too Riggsy for comfort). Not only that, original star Mel Gibson has had his fair share of issues in the 21st century, though he was at the Oscars last year, so all seems to be forgiven, somehow.
So much so that he and Danny Glover are supposedly being recruited for this new sequel by producer Dan Lin, who also hopes to get original director Richard Donner – who hasn’t directed a movie in 4 years – back on board. Lin recently appeared at a producer’s roundtable, where he spoke about his plans for the project.
“We’re trying to make the last Lethal Weapon movie. And Dick Donner’s coming back. The original cast is coming back. And it’s just amazing. The story is very personal to him. Mel and Danny are ready to go, so it’s about the script.” About which there are no details because it has yet to be written.
In the last few days Mel gave an update on that on Good Morning America where he said:
Absolutely. The man who was behind all of that, the man who brought it to the screen and gave it the goodies is working on it right now, Richard Donner. He’s a legend.
Not only is Mel Gibson a bit of a dicey bet to lead a wannabe blockbuster, Danny Glover is 73! I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he is definitely too old for this shit. And so, for that matter, is Chris Rock, who was positioned to potentially take over in Lethal Weapon 4, but the movie didn’t do well enough to revive the series. Previous cast members also included Rene Russo, last seen in Avengers Endgame, and Joe Pesci, who came out of retirement for Best Picture nominee The Irishman and is probably not too keen on playing fast-talking Leo Getz in Lethal Weapon 5.
But stranger things have happened, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see. To be honest, I’d rather see a sequel to My Cousin Vinny!