Lethal Weapon appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. No severe problems cropped up here, but the movie still never offered a terribly memorable presentation.
Sharpness usually seemed acceptably crisp and well-defined, though a bit amount of haziness occurred as well. Occasional bouts of mild softness occurred, usually during interior shots. Much of the movie appeared acceptably distinctive, though. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement seemed to be absent. Source flaws were also negligible. A few specks cropped up but not with any regularity.
Hues seemed a little muddy and bland during most of the movie, as Weapon often presented a rather brownish look. On some occasions, I thought colors appeared acceptably bright and accurate, but these were rare; mainly the hues came across as flat and without much life. Much of that related to production design and film stock, as 80s movies often came across this way. Black levels were decent, though, and shadows tended to be reasonably clear. Neither of those elements excelled, but they didn’t cause concerns. This was a generally positive picture despite the occasional problems.
As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it remained oriented toward the front spectrum. The forward channels displayed acceptable spread from music and some effects and the audio blended together fairly well. Surrounds kicked into gear during action scenes, but I didn’t think they were especially involving. The track had a somewhat artificial feel to it and didn’t become as engrossing as I’d like.
Audio quality was decent but fairly bland. Dialogue sounded mildly thin and reedy. However, the speech usually came across as distinct and easily intelligible with no signs of edginess. Effects were clean and decently realistic but they lacked much clarity or force. Music was similarly smooth but without great dynamics; the soundtrack offered modest low end but did not stand out in any way. As a whole, the mix was roughly average; it offered a listenable but uninvolving experience.
The DVD came with virtually no extras, but a few components round out the Blu-ray. We open with an audio commentary from director Richard Donner. Along with an unnamed moderator – and an off-microphone interviewer – Donner delivers a running, screen-specific look at cast, characters and performances, music, stunts and action, story and themes, sets and locations, and a few other production areas.
Prior Donner tracks have been spotty, and that trend continues here. We get an awful lot of dead air, and the format is annoying, mainly because we often hear Donner’s answers but not the questions themselves. Donner’s comments vary from moderately informative to totally banal. While we do learn a reasonable amount about the film’s creation along the way, it’s a tough trek.
14 Additional Scenes fill a total of 29 minutes, 44 seconds. Expect most of these to extend existing sequences or themes, as only a few of them develop new concepts. That means the nearly half-hour of footage includes a lot of material already in the final cut, so we don’t have a ton of truly new shots. Still, it’s interesting to see some of the excisions, so this becomes a nice collection.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we locate a Music Video for Honeymoon Suite’s “Lethal Weapon”. I don’t remember Honeymoon Suite, but based on this video, they seem to have been one of many Night Ranger-style banal rock bands from the 80s. The song is utterly predictable and forgettable, and the video is just a lame mix of movie clips and cheesy lip-synch footage. Ugh!
An influential “buddy flick”, Lethal Weapon holds up reasonably well after 25 years. While it’s not a great film, it creates decent entertainment and remains easily the best in its franchise. The Blu-ray provides erratic but generally positive picture and audio along with some similarly erratic supplements. Nothing here excels, but this becomes a fairly strong home video reproduction of the film.
Note that as of May 2012, this version of the film is current available only as part of the five-disc “Lethal Weapon Collection”. It includes all four of the flicks in the franchise and presents unique Blu-rays; the box does not simply repackage the versions already available individually. It also throws in a fifth platter with bonus features.