The word might only have been coined in the last few years to define the relationship between two guys in movies like I Love You Man, but the situation has been around for far longer; crossing lines of race and prejudice, marriage, love and music taste in the movies for years.
But not only do Riggs & Murtaugh exemplify a true bromance in the Lethal Weapon series, they do a pretty good number on regular romance too. Looking at it a certain way, the four action-packed blockbusters that tell the two maverick cops’ stories’ hit all the beats of a real-life, long-term relationship.
In the first movie we get an almost schoolyard depiction of two people who outwardly dislike each other but who are driven together through a shared passion; in this case, taking down lots of bad guys and wrestling half-nekkid with Gary Busey. By the first of the sequels, the relationship has settled and Riggs and Murtaugh come across like an old married couple; bickering and arguing and passive-aggressively getting one up on each other. But underneath it all they are still totally devoted to one another’s well-being. Forget Murtaugh’s wife and kids or Riggs’ tryst with Patsy Kensit; those things are incidental. Riggs risks death-by-exploding-toilet in order to save Murtaugh’s life. If that ain’t love, I don’t know what is.
In the third installment we see the relationship taking another recognizable step: going stale as the two central characters fail to recapture the spark they had at the beginning (that’s my excuse for that film’s lackluster execution, and I’m sticking to it.) and in the fourth movie we see an old couple trying to resist the effect of the passage of time on their relationship before realizing that the little things are what keep them together – their families’ happiness. Their friends. Their well-worn mock-rivalry. A dead Jet Li.
Watch any rom-com you care to pick and see how petty and throwaway those relationships are. So you broke up with them because they’re a little mean? Or you had to choose your job at the magazine over a settled life? Riggs and Murtaugh stay together in spite of the fact that ENTIRE GANGS OF PEOPLE are trying to kill them just because they enjoy doing their jobs together and they stay strong and devoted through a haze of flying bullets, surfboards, and a slightly annoying Joe Pesci.
Brangelina can suck a lemon. Rurtaugh is where it’s at.