TV LINE – In a recurring bit sprinkled throughout this week’s Lethal Weapon, Murtaugh and Riggs bicker about how best to describe their partnership. Are they surf and turf? Ham and pineapple? Chips and salsa? Tango and Cash? Starsky and Hutch?
Likewise, I spend a lot of the hour wondering the best way to describe this odd show to people who haven’t seen it. Action with heart? Comedy with action? Completely unbelievable stunts interspersed among fun-but-forgettable police cases? One man’s desperate cry for help flecked with one-liners and a car chase or two?
We’re now two episodes into Fox’s series reboot of the film franchise, and I still don’t know exactly how to answer when people who haven’t watched ask what it’s like. But after the second installment, I do know this: It’s a good thing that Dr. Cahill is bird-dogging the off-kilter detective, because there is a gaping hole of pain hiding underneath that mop of curls, and it’s only a matter of time before that kicky beach nudity and hee-larious drinking at work turn into a real problem for Murtaugh and the department.
Let’s review the highlights of “Surf N Turf.”
TV LINE – If you’re getting too old for this ish, you probably remember the original Lethal Weapon franchise: a series of buddy-cop films that launched in the late 1980s and capitalized on the chemistry between leads Danny Glover and Mel Gibson.
Fox’s TV-series reboot of the movies updates the action but follows the same formula: Its co-stars Damon Wayans (in the Roger Murtagh role) and Clayne Crawford (as Martin Riggs) play off each other incredibly well, injecting a ton of humor into what is, essentially, just another police procedural.
In a moment, we’ll want to hear what you think of the pilot. But first, a brief recap:
We meet Riggs as he’s chasing some bad guys with a fellow cop in Texas. He’s all cocksure and yeehaw, but he knows what’s important: When his pregnant wife, Miranda, calls to let him know that she’s gone into labor, he quickly pulls over and takes out the bad guys with a shot from very far away in order to meet her at the hospital on time. (We later learn he was a Navy SEAL, but still…)
But Miranda is in a terrible car accident on her way to the hospital. Both she and the baby die, leaving Riggs a sobbing wreck who moves to California six months later and spends his days getting blind drunk and considering suicide in a trash-filled trailer by the beach.
Meanwhile, 50-year-old Det. Murtagh is preparing for his first day back at the force following his heart attack and subsequent surgery. He’s got three kids, the youngest of which is a baby, and he’s completely healed. Murtagh’s life — aside from circumstances conspiring to thwart him from receiving promised oral sex from his hot lawyer wife (Girlfriends‘ Keesha Sharp) — is pretty good… until he gets to the precinct. His old partner, Brooks (Mad Men‘s Kevin Rahm), is now captain. And his new partner… is Riggs.
Murtagh and Riggs meet after the latter waltzes into a hostage situation at a bank, challenges the thieves to kill him in order to get their demands met, shoots all the bad guys, inadvertently sets off the detonator one of the criminals’ bomb vests and then saunters out, snacking on a piece of pizza, just before the blast goes off.
The point the Fox drama repeatedly makes is that Riggs just doesn’t want to live anymore now that Miranda is gone; at the end of the hour, he admits to having a death wish but says he can’t do the deed himself “’cause she’d be ashamed of me.” So instead, he places himself — and Murtagh, who chafes at first but eventually comes around — in several death-likely situations, such as a high speed car chase that crosses the path of a grand prix race and another hostage situation in which Riggs is headed for the angels until a quick-thinking Murtagh shoots his partner in the foot, making it possible for him to drop and grab a rifle, offing the bad guy and saving a 12-year-old kid in peril.
The case Murtagh and Riggs investigate — a faked suicide to cover a drug plot gone bad — is inconsequential; Jordana Brewster’s brief appearance as a police shrink, as well as the revelation that Miranda’s father is the city attorney smoothing over any fallout from Riggs’ unorthodox approach to police work hints, that the drama plans to mine the younger detective’s widowhood and mine it deep.
TV LINE – The broadcast networks have nearly 20 shows debuting this fall, including Michael Weatherly’s NCIS follow-up, Kiefer Sutherland’s term as POTUS and the story of MLB’s first female player. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.
Next up on our list….
THE SHOW | Fox’s Lethal Weapon (Wednesdays at 8/7c, premiere date TBA)
THE COMPETITION | CBS’ Survivor, NBC’s Blindspot, The CW’s Arrow and ABC’s The Goldbergs/Speechless (new)
THE CAST | Damon Wayans, Sr. (My Wife and Kids), Clayne Crawford (Rectify), Keesha Sharp (The People v. O.J. Simpson), Kevin Rahm (Mad Men), Jordana Brewster (Dallas) and Johnathan Fernandez (Good Medicine)
THE SET-UP | Grim Reaper-taunting Martin Riggs (Crawford) transfers to the LAPD, where he is partnered with Roger Murtaugh (Wayans), a family man who in the wake of a recent heart attack just might be getting too old for this… situation. Kinda like the movie, you know?
THE FIRST IMPRESSION | As a child of the ’80s, I had reservations about cuing this pilot up. Believe me. But damn… this small-screen reboot is fun.
Time to get Lethal again.
IGN – The pilot for FOX’s Lethal Weapon series screened for fans at San Diego Comic-Con and we’ve got an advance spoiler-free review for you. The premiere episode will air Wednesday, September 21st.
Cutting to the chase, I enjoyed the Lethal Weapon pilot more than I anticipated.
Like, I assume, most of you, I was — and for the most part still am — against the rebooting of Lethal Weapon. I’m against most reboots just based on principal, in general, but I can still be wrong – like with Hannibal and Fargo (even though Fargo acts more like a spiritual adaptation/sequel). Basically, there was no point to turning Lethal Weapon into a TV show when the original films are still easily accessible and, in the case of the first two, still hold up.
But I won’t spend this entire review arguing about the actual validity of the show or making a case for or against why it should exist as a thing. It exists. We can’t change that. Let’s see if it works.
And it does. Mostly due to Clayne Crawford’s performance as rambunctiously traumatized cop Martin Riggs. Being a fan of Sundance TV’s Rectify, Clayne Crawford’s casting was the thing that initially caught my interest about this show. He’s so damn good on Rectify — which tonally is very different, of course — that I’ll admit to getting a little excited about hearing he’d be Riggs. And it turns out that excitement was justified.
UPROXX – Surefire Hit — No show on the new Fox schedule is likely to become another Empire-sized hit, but brand recognition, a good cast (Damon Wayans and Rectify‘s Clayne Crawford) and a compelling trailer make Lethal Weapon worth a look. Crawford is fantastic in the trailer, and if the show can inject some interesting serial storylines around the staid procedural formula, it could work.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER (1) – And I think Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans work, so I think Lethal Weapon has a chance to work. And remember that in order to work, Lethal Weapon doesn’t have to be as good as the first two movies in the franchise, but it should try to be better than the last two. Crawford and Wayans look to play off of each other well and the clips didn’t pander to the brand or to “I’m too old for this shit” catchphrases. This could end up just being Fox’s version of CBS’ version of Rush Hour, but I’m fooling myself into believing it’ll be something better.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER (2) – Yeah, it’s a reboot — and the last thing Hollywood needs is another unoriginal idea. But the Warner Bros. TV-produced drama was showered with praise by Fox TV Group chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman from the Beacon Theatre stage, and backed up privately by several others who have screened the pilot. Much is being made of star Clayne Crawford (Rectify), an eleventh-hour find who’s moving with his family from Alabama to Los Angeles for the role. In fact, he’s said to be Warner Bros. TV’s highest-testing character ever. Additionally, the pilot was the year’s highest-testing drama at the network, which will pair it with juggernaut Empire on Wednesdays.
Starring: Clayne Crawford, Ethan Embry, Mykelti Williamson, Gary Grubbs, Chelsea Bruland, Catalina Soto-Aguilar Kind
Ben, a police officer who’s part of an anti-terrorist task force, suffers a major trauma when he confronts a bomber planting a second device in a disused building. Waking in hospital, he discovers that everything is a little…off. His boss, though concerned for his well-being, is being overly enigmatic, as is the elderly Peter the security guard/custodian. However any concerns he has about his surroundings are pushed aside when it becomes apparent that the bomber, Daniel, has followed him to the hospital, with deadly intent…
We recently reviewed CTU: Special Ops, the first feature directed by Drew Hall. It’s an enjoyable action movie which does suffer a little from last-minute changes to the script which leaves a few plot threads hanging. I’ve been fortunate enough to see a preview of Drew’s follow-up movie, and can happily report that not only is it not afflicted by the same issues but builds upon the strengths of CTU.
Working from his own script, Drew’s film works on a number of different layers at the same time. Any horror fan worth his/her salt will work out at least part of Ben’s predicament, however it is the way it plays out which makes the film unique, and details are teased out, not only about what is happening in the film’s present, but what has happened in the past. There are plenty of visual clues and titbits of overheard dialogue to clue you in as the story progresses.
Convergence is rather refreshingly devoid of obvious plot clichés. For example, when Ben finally discovers what has happened, he’s pragmatic enough to accept the facts but still determined to protect the people around him.
The production values are really strong. The action, which peppers the film throughout, is very well handled, with gun-fights and hand-to-hand scraps being well choreographed, shot and edited in a nice clear style. There are some very atmospheric sets, such as the makeshift altar Ben stumbles across. Makeup and costume design is also spot-on: there are some strong gore-fx and the quartet of killers have a very unique, sinister look to them (its basically their “normal” look, but in each case given a small macabre twist).
And then there’s the cast, who really work the material. Clayne Crawford who plays Ben has a particularly strong scene where he reminisces about his father. Wearing his glasses he comes across as a Jack Ryan type of cerebral hero who’s as likely to think himself out of a situation as fight his way out. Meanwhile Ethan Embry’s Daniel is a very enigmatic, sadistic killer, able to convince people to participate in his plans.
There is so much to consider with this film already, yet I’m deliberately being obtuse – there’s a lot I’m not saying and I’ll leave you to find out why. As mentioned earlier this film works on different levels, and it is likely to stay on your mind for quite a while after viewing.
Drew Hall’s second feature builds on the successes of CTU and learns from its errors. It presents a refreshing take on a particular genre and is thoroughly compelling from start to finish.
9 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)
Source: Flash Bang
BY JAMIE HALL ON OCTOBER 26, 2014
The following review has been made possible thanks to a very thoughtful preview from Drew Hall (director) of his upcoming psychological thriller Convergence.
As this is a preview of an as of yet unreleased film I won’t focus on the films plot all that much at all, in fact all I’ll say is that the film follows Detective Ben Walls as he finds himself passing between present day and the future.
It’s an interesting premise that is thankfully masterfully executed. Convergence is an incredible film, regardless of being an independent film or not this film is balls to the walls excellent.
It’s devoid of big set piece action sequences and is even centred primarily around just one location. It is predominantly all set within a single hospital, a hospital where Ben Walls continues to flit between timelines.
Without big set pieces to wow and captivate an audience the film must rely upon the strength of its writing and the ability of its actors to engage the audience. And the writing and acting in Convergence are both on top form. The story is incredibly strong and very well written, at times both creepy and thought provoking. This is a pinnacle of the psychological thriller, keeping you in suspense and nervous anticipation throughout.
But a good script would be nothing if the actors weren’t able to deliver it, and thankfully Convergence is filled with a talented cast who manage to embody their roles so completely as to blur the line between reality and fiction. Clayne Crawford deserves particular note as the lead character of Ben. Crawford takes an already excellent story and adds another layer, taking the film to an entirely new level of authenticity.
You see the film is interesting enough on its own, but the captivation is created thanks to Crawford and his pretty badass portrayal of Ben. Crawford plays a thoroughly engaging character that is easy to relate to, his confused portrayal of a man constantly switching between times is entertaining and riveting, we want not only to discover the truth but for him to survive it all with us.
There are a few strange issues I found with editing, where a scene felt as if it had been cut off a few seconds before it truly should have been, but this is certainly nothing that would affect the overall quality of the film in anyway. In fact that’s really the only think I can think of that could in anyway be construed as negative about the Convergence. I truly loved the film, it was an intelligent and poignant creation that both tantalised and shocked me.
Converge is a brilliant directed, terrifically acted film that I know will do terrifically well at any festival it is entered into, or at least it bloody well should do.
I was left wondering just how it will end throughout. And with a captivating cast and an excellent plot I was never once bored while watching, the plot twisted not once, but multiple times throughout, leaving me hanging onto the edge of my seat as I waited to finally, once and for all discover the truth behind just what the hell was going on. It was a thrilling ride, and you know what? While I am able to do so I think I will once again go and explore Ben and his paradigm altering world. Good day folks and bloody well keep you eye firmly peeled for Convergence.
Source: Fraking Films