This is not your daddy’s “Lethal Weapon.”
Premiering Sept. 21, Fox’s “Lethal Weapon” is a reboot of the popular franchise that starred Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as bickering, but fierce, cops. The original 1987 movie was a huge hit. Fans loved it for the banter — and the action.
“We’re trying to focus on the characters, not on guns, or the violence, in the show.”
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The new TV series, starring actors Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford, is apparently trying to soften some of the harder edges of the original R-rated films.
Although the trailer and story still suggest plenty of gunplay from veteran detectives Murtaugh and Riggs, Fox has decided it’s better to have no lethal weapons visible in any “Lethal Weapon” posters.
The Fox “Lethal Weapon” decision is not the first time liberals have recently made attempts to remove guns from promotional artwork. “Girls” star Lena Dunham made headlines last month by throwing her support behind an effort for New Yorkers to remove firearms from “Jason Bourne” posters. It fizzled.
Is this Hollywood’s plan for upholding their anti-gun politics? Do they believe that not showing guns in their film posters will somehow change the content of their movies? Removing guns from advertisements will not change the fact that much of Hollywood derides the Second Amendment while hypocritically relying on heavy simulated violence to sell product. This recent trend seems like more of an overreaction to current events than anything else.
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Fox Entertainment Chairman Dana Walden defended the “Lethal Weapon” decision at the recent Television Critics Tour.
“Even the artwork you saw of ‘Lethal Weapon,’ we’re trying to focus on the characters, not on guns, or the violence, in the show. You have to hit a balance. They’re trying to create stories that are relevant in this day and age and feel heightened and have life-and-death stakes and take place in a cop world or in the world of terrorism — it’s hard to imagine that without any violence, so it’s just trying to find the right balance.”
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The show may end up suffering for the promotional material. Entertainment Weekly published one such poster, which is similar to the tweet above, and it’s confusing. It looks more like a Hallmark card than a poster for “Lethal Weapon.” Wayans and Crawford are seen walking and laughing in the colorful image that appears to be selling a PG-rated sitcom as opposed to an action-based detective series.
The decision to lighten the promotions for “Lethal Weapon” and keep guns away is counterintuitive. Without selling the harder elements of the series, the producers and studio are failing audiences and putting themselves at risk for attracting viewers not expecting, or wanting, gunplay.
The original “Lethal Weapon” franchise sold each film as what they were: R-rated buddy cop movies that had fun, but still featured guns and action and the heavier elements of the characters, including Murtaugh’s grief for his late wife and his post-traumatic stress disorder. All four posters for the original films contained firearms.
The politically correct marketing is certainly not a good sign for the new “Lethal Weapon.” It means the reboot may be in the wrong hands and a far cry from the once-beloved film series.
It’s not Fox’s only attempt at pushing an anti-gun agenda within their programming. Fox Entertainment President David Madden told Entertainment Weekly that their reboot of “24” entitled “24: Legacy” will attempt to scale back the gun-infused action from the original series. “We’re telling a thriller story, so clearly there will be gunplay, but we’re trying to tell it in a thoughtful and modulated and complicated and humanistic way.” Welcome to 2016 — the year our favorite action franchises get baby-proofed.