When a multimillionaire man's son is kidnapped, he cooperates with the police at first but then turns the tables on the kidnappers when he uses the ransom money as a reward for the capture of the kidnappers.
With personal crises and age weighing in on them, LAPD officers Riggs and Murtaugh must contend with deadly Chinese triads that are trying to free their former leaders out of prison and onto American soil.
Porter is bad, but his neighbours are worse. Street-wise and tough, an ex-marine, he is betrayed by a one-time partner, and shot in the back by his junkie wife. He survives and returns, looking to recover his share from the robbery of an Asian crime gang. The money has passed into the hands of "the Outfit", a slick gangster organisation that runs the city. He has to make his way through a world populated by heroin dealers, prostitutes, sado-masochists, gunmen and crooked cops, a place where torture is a way of life. His only friend is a former employer, a prostitute, and her loyalty is in question, given she now works for the Outfit. He makes good early progress, but then falls into the hands of Fairfax, the crime boss.Written by
There was originally a scene where Porter rips out the eye of one of the guards in the Outfit's building where his ex partner Val is. For some reason, this scene was not included in either the theatrical or Director's Cut of the movie, and is only available in a very rare, bad quality, workprint. See more »
When Porter is in the cab stand, the cop's badges are on their right side. When Porter and Stegman are talking outside you see the cop looking at them from the window, his badge moves to his left side. See more »
GSW: that's what the hospitals call it: gunshot wound. Doctor has to report it to the police. That makes it hard for guys in my line to get what I call, quality health care.
See more »
Director Brian Helgeland's cut was significantly changed by producer/star Mel Gibson before release and was 15 minutes shorter than the final version. Here are some of the differences to Gibson's highly publicized reshoot version of the film that was released into the theaters.
No voiceover of Porter
The opening shot of Porter in the doctor's office is not in Helgeland's cut. The film begins with Porter on the bridge returning to the city. Brian's cut doesn't suggest the double-cross until we see the flashback.
A more harsh exchange when Porter visits Rosie (Maria Bello) for the first time.
Odds and ends with Val Resnick (Gregg Henry) throughout the film. Includes a curbside threat to the David Paymer character and a funny scene calling Pearl (Lucy Liu) on the phone.
A small exchange between Porter and the Asian gang.
When Val breaks in and beats up Rosie, Porter the dog gets shots in the head and remains dead. In Mel's cut, the dog lives.
The two versions of the film begin to change greatly when Porter confronts Fairfax (James Coburn). The dialog is different and the outcome of the scene is changed.
Bronson the Outfit boss is played by Sally Kellerman rather than Kris Kristoffersen. She's never seen in the film, instead interacting with Porter over speakerphones. When Porter begins to kill her associates, the boss almost immediately gives in to Porter's demands. In Mel's cut, the boss was a bigger character and provided a bigger climax. All the boss's son and torture scenes are not in Brian's cut of the movie.
The climax of the film takes place on a mass transit platform. Porter arranges to pick up his cut of the money, but the boss dispatches hitmen to stop him. He gets the money, but is shot in the chest. Stumbling out of the station, he drops the bag and a homeless man picks it up. Porter refuses to put up a fight and begins to die. Rosie finds him and slaps him back to life. Porter suggests a doctor he knows can patch him up. The final shot is of the two driving out of town.
Mel (as Parker aka Porter) is a bad guy who comes across as a good guy because everyone else in this flic is even more nasty than he is. It's a simple play on perspective not often utilized in the movies. Usually, the hero is A HERO, white hat and all, even with a few quirks or deficiencies to his character. Not so, here. And the key to the whole picture is buying into Mel as a bad man, all despite his many years in heroic roles beforehand. It works very well, especially in the beginning, where it really needed to. There's an early scene during the credits where Mel forces himself to smile in a mirror, as preparation for putting forth his 'best face' to a teller at a bank. One gets the impression this really is a man unaccustomed to smiling, a sour, angry man. The early scenes also recall the beginning of "Miami Blues," that being a criminal swooping into town and wasting no time in bringing a little terror & hardship on certain select bystanders. There's a danger, in a film sense, of satirizing such moments too much, to the point of slapstick comedy - rather than dark comedy, which it really is. But Mel doesn't mess around here: he means business, bashing scum left & right, and blowing 'em away as he moves up the ladder of an organized crime organization. The rest of the cast is top-notch, by the way. The casting directors must have had a field day on this one. Then Mel himself is beaten; the whole theme of the movie seems to be about pain: how much one can stand; how much one can dish out. It ends up being very cathartic. The cinematography also helps this picture: the photography is quite stark,ultra-crisp, adding to the 'punch' of the whole show. The lines on Mel's face are deeper than ever; he seems to carry years of pain there. And years of guilt, maybe.
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