‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’: Mac & Dennis’ ‘Lethal Weapon 6’, reviewed
Three years ago Mac and Dennis, the Truffaut and Godard of Philadelphia, cobbled together a little bit of cinematic history in their spare time. The film? Lethal Weapon 5, starring Mac and Dennis as the iconic Murtaugh and Riggs. It was racy. It was ballsy. It had a full-penetration sex scene with Frank, playing an Indian chief named “Chief Lazarus.” In short, it had everything you could possibly want in a movie, pornographic or otherwise.
Now, three years later, they’ve returned to the scene of their greatest creative triumph to give the people the sequel they’ve long clamored for. That’s right: Lethal Weapon 6 is ready for mass consumption. In what ways did Mac and Dennis’ followup effort try to one-up its predecessor?
1. Exposition, exposition, exposition
Mac, like me, gets very confused at movies and finds it helpful when the characters tell you exactly what they’ve just done or are about to do. So LW6 is chockfull of careful elucidation of character motivation, geographical information, and notice of any “callbacks” or other handy screenwriting mechanisms. At a key juncture late in the movie, Riggs encourages Murtaugh to shoot a basketball to open a trapdoor. “If you make this shot, you will redeem yourself with the item that you failed with in the beginning.” See? Helpful!
2. MORE blackface
Having followed the recent news of celebrities’ truly poor Halloween costume ideas, Mac & Dennis knew that the blackface that was so shocking in LW5 could only be topped in the sequel…with more blackface. This time it’s not just Mac in on the horrible racism; it’s Dee, too, playing his daughter and fiancee to Riggs (who of course gets blown up early in the movie). Dee, naturally, gets very into character.
3. Resurrected characters
Frank’s character Chief Lazarus was killed in LW5. But those mythology hounds among you might laugh knowingly at the character’s last name… Sure enough, Lazarus is BACK in scene one, brought to life by some kind of shaman (who Frank will later have sex with). Audiences want familiar characters. The blonde Scandinavian henchman Charlie played in the last movie isn’t brought back to life, per se…but avenged by his identical twin, with billowing hair just as lush and wonderful as you could imagine.
4. Top Gun’s homoerotic volleyball scene immediately followed by a shower scene with butt doubles
Oily dudes spiking balls in an indoor gym, working up a tremendous sweat as they engage in fierce competition? A normal day for Mac, but a feast for the eyes for us. Like the best directors, Mac and Dennis know it’s important to give the people what they want.