An excerpt from my script review for Lethal Weapon (1985 Draft) which will be available 01/10/17:

4.) Dialogue and Description

The description I enjoyed.

Short punctual style that’s both clever and easily digestible.

(Apologize the scanned copy does NOT allow a quick copy/paste.)

Page 3 – Nice visual of a Christmas time Los Angeles. We can “see it” in a way that doesn’t go into boring overdetail. That’s very important, even when writing today.

Page 8:

Riggs smiles like a cobra…

Another nice visual, because by using cobra, we understand Riggs is a lethal predator, who enjoys his prey.

Page 9 – A key element in Amanda’s apartment is a photo of Murtaugh and Amanda’s dad, Dick. Shows they’re army buddies, and that her suicide/death will be personal for Murtaugh. (Sadly left out of the film I believe.)

***This is a PERFECT example of only using specific details if it’s related to the plot. Amanda having a picture of just her dad? That’s background noise, not a plot device.

Page 65 – Already touched on the CREEP factor of Black’s obsession with Rianne, but here’s another example, how Murtaugh simply shuts the door on his two younger children, but Rianne asleep in a super sexy shaft of moonlight? Daddy can’t pass up a chance to kiss her (albeit on the forehead), only to have her murmur from a presumed sex dream after said kiss.

(Seriously, I can’t be the only father who was disturbed by this, right?)

Page 86 – Back to Rianne promoting racial purity, how pissed was Shane Black when they cast Traci Wolfe as Rianne Murtaugh…imagine being a fly on the wall when he received that news!

(Similar to Donner’s first reaction at Mr. Glover?)

Page 109 – Pissed at Max Landis.

At this point in the description Black stops the presses, breaking the fourth wall to let us know how awesome Riggs is at killing people and then unfolding an epic battle.

When reviewing American Ultra, Landis does something similar and tells us that the fight is going to be epic, a technique I really enjoyed.

There I thought it was original, but now I see Black did it 10+ years earlier, and I wonder if Landis just ripped it off.

Page 111 – Nolan Ryan! The Strikeout King!

Do you know I met him when I was around 10? My dad contacted his agent and had a whole surprise meet and greet set up at a Cleveland Indians game! (Ryan played for the Rangers at the time.)

I still remember the first thing he said to me, “Where’d you get that hat?”

It was a replica Texas Rangers hat with his signature screen printed on the bill.

At the time, I thought he asked because it impressed him, but looking back now as a jaded adult, I wonder if he wasn’t pissed thinking he wasn’t getting a royalty from it.

Oh! And when my dad went to take my picture with him, he backed up against the wall, and slid down for a better angle (Nolan Ryan was extremely tall compared to 10 year old me.)

Dad turned the lights out on us, freaking Nolan Ryan out!

So there’s my Nolan Ryan story…

Lastly on description, Mr. Black seems REALLY obsessed with weapons throughout this script, right?

He doesn’t just say, rifle, pistol, rocket launcher, etc. but names each type, at one point mocking readers if they don’t know specific weapon capabilities.

Part of me wonders if a teen wrote something similar today, would he (or she) be put on some sort of watch list?

Want more helpful screenwriting tips and movie/script reviews? Follow this link to our Discussion Forum.

And be sure to check out our Notes Service, where I give my detailed thoughts and suggestions on your script.