How A Real-Life Explosion Completely Changed Lethal Weapon 3’s Story
Lethal Weapon 3 filmed an explosion of a real building that became one of the Lethal Weapon franchise’s most memorable moments. Released in 1992, the third film in the Lethal Weapon movie series reunites Mel Gibson’s Martin Riggs with Danny Glover’s Roger Murtaugh, as the LAPD sergeants uncover an arms smuggling ring run by a former police lieutenant. Lethal Weapon 3, although more comedic than its predecessors, still delivers high-stakes action sequences – thanks in part to a memorable scene that almost never happened.
Lethal Weapon 3 opens with Riggs and Murtaugh responding to a bomb threat at International Control Systems, Inc. Believing the threat to be a hoax, overzealous Lethal Weapon franchise hero Riggs decides to investigate himself before the bomb squad arrives. Murtaugh reluctantly follows, despite having only eight days until his retirement. To Riggs’ amusement, there is, in fact, a bomb in the parking garage. After some banter between him and Murtaugh, Riggs cuts a wire that speeds up the timer’s countdown. Riggs and Murtaugh escape in the nick of time before an explosion levels the building and sends a thick wall of smoke rolling through the streets.
The Demolition Explosion Changed Lethal Weapon 3’s Tone
The explosion of the ICSI building in Lethal Weapon 3 was actually a real demolition of the former City Hall in Orlando, Florida. While prepping the third Lethal Weapon movie, the sequel’s production crew received a letter from the film department of Orlando asking if they wanted to make use of the demolition. The movie already had a script, but the opportunity was too good for director Richard Donner and company to pass up. The special effects department coordinated with the demolition team to make the implosion look like a fiery explosion for the cameras.
Lethal Weapon 3 is more comedic than its predecessors – something that is immediately evident in Riggs and Murtaugh’s banter prior to the explosion. The scene’s payoff, however, lets the audience know that there still exists real consequences for the characters’ actions, whatever tomfoolery may precede it. Using the Orlando City Hall demolition adds a level of realism to the Lethal Weapon scene that may have otherwise been overshadowed by the movie’s more outlandish elements.
How The Real Explosion Made Lethal Weapon 3 Better
The Lethal Weapon movies have never truly been action-comedies. Shane Black wrote the original Lethal Weapon with co-writer Jeffrey Boam as more of an action-thriller, and although the two returned for the sequel, Lethal Weapon 2 leaned more comedic before the third installment turned the comedy up another level. This makes the explosion all the more important to ground Lethal Weapon 3 in a sense of realism and severity that it desperately needs.
The bomb scene and its ensuing explosion at the start of Lethal Weapon 3 remains one of the most memorable moments in the franchise. The fact that it depicts an actual demolition of a real building makes it even better. The Richard Donner movie tasked Mel Gibson and Danny Glover with racing down the building’s steps as the explosives were detonated. Gibson recalls (via Empire), “When we took off, I thought, ‘I’d better slow down for him’ – but he actually ran right past me.” Perhaps Glover was, in fact, not getting too old for this.
More: The Lethal Weapon Cast’s Favorite Villain
#RealLife #Explosion #Completely #Changed #Lethal #Weapon #Story