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Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Retro Review: National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 (1993)

National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1
Cast: Emilio Estevez, Samuel L. Jackson, Kathy Ireland, Frank McRae, Tim Curry, William Shatner, Whoopi Goldberg
Genre: Satirical Buddy Cop Comedy
U.S Box Office Gross: over $27 million 

Plot: A spoof on Lethal Weapon, other movies, TV commercials etc. Two, unlike L.A cops, investigate a ''cocaine in girl scout cookies'' case 

'Eventually Runs Out of Bullets'

Loaded Weapon 1 does lack that vintage Zucker bros magic that made Airplane! and the first Naked Gun truly memorable and instead, it approaches things in a pedestrian manner. The so-called 5 min laughs and jokes seem muted and short and a tad giggle-worthy, but aren't exactly laugh-out-loud funny, as they lack the rapid-fire approach where the jokes do not hit the funny bone as hard as it could have done, and the consistency in good comedy that is being churned out is not as good as I'd imagined it to be. 

Narcotics squad detective Jack Colt, who is supposed to be a play on Mel Gibson's Martin Riggs of Lethal Weapon teams up with Wes Luger, who is avenging the death of his partner, Billie York (Whoopi Goldberg).

Sadly, when the laughs dried up, it became pretty much bland and not much to write home about, and I think killing off Whoopi Goldberg, who could've and should've played a much bigger role here, put paid to that. Emilio Estevez and Samuel L. Jackson step outside of their comfort zone as they dip their toes in comedy, but it felt like they were way of their element and don't possess much in the way of comic timing and delivery. Plus, there isn't much synergy between this pairing and their deadpan turns never clicked, thus lacking Leslie Nielsen's Frank Drebin's oblivious and complicit wit of The Naked Gun films and Police Squad! TV series and Nielsen's ability to play ''fish out of water'' types. 

Basic Instinct, which is referenced through the famous Sharon Stone leg-crossing interrogation scene, is usually a difficult film to spoof, although Fatal Instinct, a parody of both Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct, manages to send up that movie and other thrillers, modestly well, moreso than with Loaded Weapon 1 with the Lethal Weapon franchise. Other films referenced include The Silence of the Lambs and Die Hard with cameos from the likes of Jon Lovitz, Denis Leary, the late Phil Hartman, as is Emilio Estevez's half-brother, Charlie Sheen, who coincidently enough appeared in the superior Hot Shots, & another spoof comedy.

William Shatner has that Super Mario/Armand from The Birdcage dodgy moustache thing going on and Playboy/swimsuit model Kathy Ireland features as the film's eye candy, without really doing and saying much of worth.  

With a run time of practically 84 mins, the film paces through without really becoming the outrageous laugh-fest it has been touted as. It tries to be zany but without the raucous and side-splitting silliness of the Zucker bros and Mel Brooks, especially for a so-called parody. It's just not up to par. 

Final Verdict:

Whilst it's worth watching for those new to this movie and fans of satirical, spoof and parody comedies, I think if you have seen either or all of Naked Gun, Airplane, Spaceballs and enjoyed them, then quite frankly, you've seen its comedy executed far better, and in spades. Here, its inconsistency sort of shot Loaded Weapon to pieces. 


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