Also with: Bill Nunn, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Lin Shaye, Vito Scotti, Ken Ober, James Doohan, Richard Moll, Charlie Sheen, Denis Leary, Corey Feldman, Phil Hartman, J.T. Walsh, Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Paul Gleason, Ric Ducommun, Charles Napier, Charles Cyphers, Robert Shaye, Danielle Nicolet, Beverly Johnson , Bruce Willis.
More an imitation than a parody, this would-be comedy is very short on laughs and gives away virtually all of them in its coming-attractions trailer. Comedy-starved audiences may give it a couple of weeks’ life at the box office.
The National Lampoon logo was last used on a movie spoof in 1981 with “National Lampoon Goes to the Movies,” but that deadpan effort was so bad it never was released theatrically.
This one isn’t any better.
Premise is to spoof Richard Donner’s three “Lethal Weapon” pix, right down to copying their logo.
Unfunny script by director Gene Quintano and his co-writers assumes the viewer will be kept awake by having scenes alternate between the three films, but that’s not sufficient to qualify as effective satire.
Launching point is Emilio Estevez doing a flat reading of Mel Gibson’s hothead “L.W.” character, just like his brother Charlie Sheen made fun of Tom Cruise in “Hot Shots!”
To remind the viewer of this, Sheen shows up as a valet parking attendant, and Jon Lovitz even brings up the rip-off question explicitly to Estevez late in the film.
Unfortunately, Estevez lacks the feel for self-parody his brother demonstrates.
Ostensible plotline has evil general William Shatner (allowed to ham it up disturbingly by Quintano) and his goofy-accented henchman Tim Curry in a scheme involving cocaine and Girl Scout (that’s Wilderness Girl) cookies.
Investigation begins when cop Whoopi Goldberg (one of the few cameos uncredited) is murdered.
Estevez is teamed with Goldberg’s ex-partner Samuel L. Jackson, earmarked for the “L.W.” Danny Glover role.
Jackson plays straight, doesn’t even come close to raising a smile in the audience and merely proves that he would have been miscast opposite Mel Gibson in the first place.
The re-creation of scenes from “L.W.” movies includes Jackson’s pretty daughter Danielle Nicolet playing footsie with Estevez from Film 1 and Estevez comparing scars with heroine Kathy Ireland a la Rene Russo in Film 3.
From Film 2 we have Estevez’s beach home blown up, only it turns out by mistake to be the home of uncredited guest star Bruce Willis (in “Die Hard” garb) instead.
Film digresses at length with Kathy Ireland and an uncredited actress both playing Sharon Stone in “Basic Instinct” for some cheap potshots.
This is one area where the film’s PG-13 rating negates the unexpurgated comedy potential of the material.
By the time “Loaded Weapon 1” ends with an imitation of “Wayne’s World,” its abbreviated 76-minute running time (plus seven minutes of credits to come) has become exceedingly tedious.
Scattershot sight gags and cheap action scenes obviously can’t compete with the scope of the Warner Bros. Donner films, which also have plenty of honest humor in them, thanks to the stars’ cross talk plus Joe Pesci.