Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis may be a relatively new talent in Hollywood (he also wrote American Ultra in theaters right now, and Victor Frankenstein coming next year), but he’s been around the industry his entire life. His father is filmmakier John Landis, director of The Blues Brothers, Animal House, and Michael Jackson’s music video for “Thriller.”
That means Landis always had a fascination and draw towards filmmaking, and he always seems to be cooking up ideas for movies, whether they’re original scripts, or just non-commissioned screenplays for properties that Landis wasn’t hired to write, such as his treatment for Ghostbusters 3 or his crazy-long script for a Super Mario Bros. movie. And now we have a Max Landis Lethal Weapon 5 pitch that sounds like it could actually work, even though it will likely never get made.
Speaking with Grantland while promoting American Ultra, the conversation turned to Lethal Weapon, which prompted Landis to give a quick “pocket pitch” for what he would do for Lethal Weapon 5, which he would make the final movie in the series:
“The final Lethal Weapon, if I have to pocket-pitch it right now, is Murtaugh and Riggs are asked to work with a group of, like, four cops who are younger, who were all involved in an action movie that we didn’t see. You hear the report, and it sounds like a Lethal Weapon movie: ‘They drove a school bus off of an oil rig?’ Then Murtaugh and Riggs are assigned to take them on like an Outward Bound program and try to teach them to be better cops and respect authority. Then it turns out the villain from the action movies that we missed is coming to kill them. Murtaugh and Riggs in the woods for the first time in any of the movies, with four characters we really like, do a slasher movie.”
This almost sounds like a pitch for Lethal Weapon by way of Straw Dogs or Rambo, but it’s simultaneously different and familiar enough that it could work if it were ever made. It also allows for the potential to explore some emotional territory for Riggs since he spent some time in Vietnam, and seeing action again in the jungle (or woods in this case) could bring out some bad memories for him at a time when they need him to be on top of things.
In addition, I also like this method of passing the torch without really pushing Riggs and Murtaugh to the side. We get to see a new group of hot shot cops who have been through some of the same crazy action that Mel Gibson and Danny Glover‘s characters have been, but now they’re all on an even playing field, each with something to learn from the other, as they try to survive against a killer in the woods.
While I’m not sure we need a Lethal Weapon 5 (and I don’t know if Danny Glover could even do it anymore), this wouldn’t be a terrible way to go. At the same time, Lethal Weapon 4, though it wasn’t stellar, put a nice cap on the end of the franchise, with Riggs and Murtaugh finally seeming like they were too old for this shit. And let’s not forget that there were rumblings of Lethal Weapon 5 happening about seven years ago, but Mel Gibson reportedly passed on making it.
It’s more than likely that Lethal Weapon will return in some form, whether it’s a sequel or reboot, but for now, this is just something fun to think about.
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