There’s a bunch of potential new remake news from Warner Bros. today, most of which is either silly or plain idiotic. This is one of the silly ones: the studio has moved from the idea of making Lethal Weapon 5 (which Shane Black has already outlined) to rebooting the series entirely. Tales From the Gangster Squad writer Will Beall has been hired to write the film based on his pitch for a “hard R-rated edgy street cop movie.”

Mel Gibson reportedly passed on the fifth film, and all love for Shane Black aside, he was probably correct in doing so. So Lethal Weapon 5 is dead, and I think even the most die-hard fans of the series can probably live with that.

So why is this idea silly? Two reasons. One is that the characters of Murtaugh and Riggs are inexorably linked with Danny Glover and Mel Gibson. The idea of recasting them is, at the risk of abusing this word, silly.

The second reason is that recasting the roles and revamping the movie just results in a distant copy of Lethal Weapon, and we already have dozens of those. Thanks to Shane Black’s energetic script, Richard Donner‘s direction and some very smart casting, Lethal Weapon became one of the benchmarks for action films, and along with Midnight Run and 48 Hours is one of the defining points on the ‘buddy comedy’ template.

I’m all for a fun, hard-R street cop movie. I’d be happy to see one that channels the spirit of Lethal Weapon — the exaggerated characters, the quippy humor, the well-executed action. But if a script is strong enough to become that, allow it the dignity of being its own thing. Will Beall has been a cop, and I’d love to see how his personally-informed take on the genre would shape up. I can guarantee it’ll be a lot more interesting to audiences if it isn’t presented as Lethal Weapon 2012. [Deadline]

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