Loaded Weapon 1 (1993) / Comedy-Action
aka National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon One
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for brief nudity, sexuality, language, drug content, and violence
Running Time: 84 min.
Cast: Emilio Estevez, Samuel L. Jackson, William Shatner, Kathy Ireland, Tim Curry, Jon Lovitz, Frank McRae, Whoopi Goldberg, F. Murray Abraham, Charlie Sheen, Denis Leary, Phil Hartman, J.T. Walsh, Bill Nunn, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Lin Shaye, Paul Gleason, Beverly Johnson, Bruce Willis (cameo), James Doohan (cameo), Denise Richards (cameo), Corey Feldman (cameo), Erik Estrada (cameo), Larry Wilcox (cameo), Christopher Lambert (cameo)
Director: Gene Quintano
Screenplay: Don Holley, Gene Quintano
When a screwball spoof is successful, it is stupid in an intelligent kind of way. Loaded Weapon 1 is just plain stupid. While a few of the quips and sight gags might elicit a mild chuckle now and then, for most of the running length, the juvenile-minded writing and out-and-out silliness never really approach the sharpness or juicy satirical qualities that would suggest an inspired, realized concept. Basically, this is just a very sophomoric version of movies that are already semi-spoofs on their own right. When you realize that featured lampooned films like Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, and Basic Instinct provide far more laughs than Loaded Weapon 1, you can only conclude that this weapon has been loaded -- with blanks.
Emilio Estevez (Young Guns, Stakeout) plays Jack Colt, a loose-screw cop newly assigned to be the partner of LAPD detective Wes Luger (Jackson, Patriot Games), who has trouble firing his weapon ever since a traumatic event in his past. Their latest assignment is to take down a major drug operation run by the nefarious General Mortars (Shatner, Star Trek VI), who has concocted an ingenious scheme to smuggle his drugs through boxes of Wilderness Girls cookies.
One major problem with Loaded Weapon 1 is that writer/director Gene Quintano doesn't really have a set idea as to what sort of movie genre he is trying to spoof. It is basically an exaggerated reinterpretation of the Lethal Weapon series, with a few scenes from other memorable cop films tossed in from time to time, but never really hits its target in an acute, knowing way. We've also already seen cop spoofs before in the Naked Gun and Police Academy films, the latter of which Quintano graduated from, leaving us with no concrete hook to ride for its short running length.
You can load your weapon, but if you don't know what you're aiming at, you're unlikely to hit your target. Loaded Weapon 1 is the cinematic equivalent of firing endless rounds of ammo blindly in every direction, hoping that at least one of its bullets will score a hit.
©2006 Vince Leo