If the 1980s and 1990s were the golden age of action movies (in sheer volume at least), Lethal Weapon, descended from the tougher, grittier cop movies of the '70s (Dirty Harry and The French Connection), remains one of its most lasting products. Similar to the following year's Die Hard, the first Weapon balances a likable and believable sense of humanity with a good helping of frenetic action. Mel Gibson is the star here, and his menacing but exposed performance (as in Mad Max) gives the film much of its edge. Director Richard Donner manages the pace of the movie well, and he is careful to make his two stars (Gibson and Danny Glover) the center of our attention without sacrificing the action thriller conventions and construction. Since his major film debut, 1976's The Omen, Donner has proven himself to be one of the more entertaining directors working firmly inside of the Hollywood system. This was the movie that launched Glover into the public consciousness after some notable supporting roles in Witness, Places in the Heart, and Silverado. It also marked a successful comeback for Gibson after a two-year break from filmmaking.