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22nd Dec 2021

If Die Hard is a Christmas film, then so is Lethal Weapon

Danny Jones

Lethal Weapon is a Christmas movie

So be it

It’s an age-old debate: is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Pretty strange considering the answer is, obviously, yes – it’s set at Christmas, has jingle bells in the score and Christmas music playing throughout.

However, now that people are finally starting to bury that ol’ chestnut by the open fire, the decision seems to have wider implications on the Christmas movie genre as a whole – and it would seem people now think Lethal Weapon fits into that category too.

As fans of 80s and 90s action movies in general, we have absolutely no problem with this and, to be fair, the case is pretty easily made as you’ll soon find out. Let’s begin…

First off, not only is the film set during the holidays (pretty solid start here) but the film opens with Bobby Helms’ ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ and features a shoot out amidst a crowd of Christmas trees. We could just stop here and be satisfied, to be honest.

Furthermore, you hear further festive favourites like ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ and ‘The First Noel’ throughout the 110-minute run time and not only are the streets lined with Christmas lights but you see a flood of decorations close up whenever the shot features Murtaugh’s (Danny Glover) house.

In case you weren’t convinced enough already, you only have to look at the parallels between the film and half of the redemptive arc Christmas movies have: case and point A Christmas Carol. Like Scrooge, Riggs (Mel Gibson) is disillusioned not just with the police force but life in general, spending most of the film debating whether to end it all – shades of It’s A Wonderful Life too.

It’s only after he bonds with Murtaugh over the death around them that he starts to see life is worth living and turns over a new leaf, hoping to be a better man who is not only grateful but wants to show appreciation to others, as signified by him handing over the gift to his new partner in the film’s final scene. He even spends Christmas with his new partner and his family, for God’s sake.

If that wasn’t enough, when speaking to Dazed Digital, Steven De Souza – screenwriter on many similar movies like Die Hard, Beverly Hills Cop and the 48 Hours films – said that producer Joel Silver (who worked on both franchises) gave a very specific reason as to why he pushed to set both of these films at Christmas:

De Souza revealed Silver “had decided he liked all his movies to take place at Christmas, as they would then very likely be played on television every December and we would all get residual cheques. Obviously, he was right!”. How Hollywood of him but smart, nonetheless.

So there you have it: Lethal Weapon is a Christmas movie and, just like with Die Hard, we’re not willing to debate it any further. We’ve not managed to get Mark Kermode round to the Gibson and Glover classic just yet but, as we all know, his word is very much gospel when it comes to stuff like this:

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