If you were to ask somebody to name the finest action movie to emerge from the 1980s that comes packing a hefty dose of holiday spirit, it would only take a millisecond for Die Hard to be named as the answer. However, that’s egregiously unfair to Richard Donner’s all-time great Lethal Weapon, which has been shunned from the festive conversation by default.
Obviously, writer Shane Black’s entire career would go on to let us know how much he loves the Christmas period, but the 1987 great that introduced the world to Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs and Danny Glover’s Richard Murtaugh literally kicks off with “Jingle Bell Rock,” and the yuletide festivities play a major and recurring role in the story from then on out.
We’re not saying that Lethal Weapon is some underrated gem that nobody ever talks about, because any self-respecting fan of shoot ’em up cinema would surely be of the opinion that it’s at least one of the most influential buddy cop capers ever made, if not comfortably ranking among the top tier.
Instead, the point we’re making (which is being echoed as we speak on Reddit) is that it never tends to get a look-in as an unsung holiday treat, when the conversation always inevitably focuses on Die Hard when the chatter heads into “1980s classics set around Christmas that feature a star-making turn from an everyman hero facing insurmountable odds with nothing but a pistol and a quip for company.”
The best case scenario is simply to give them both an equal amount of attention, which is what they deserve.