Danny Glover is Sergeant Roger Murtaugh who is concerned about getting older, especially since he just turned 50 years of age. Retirement will be coming quickly for the Sergeant, in fact if he can make it without any serious incidents, he will be a happy homicide detective. After losing his wife in a traffic accident, Sergeant Martin Riggs (played by Mel Gibson) has been considered as suicidal, so much so that his fellow detectives are unwilling to work with him. A smuggling operation that has been operating the Los Angeles area known as Shadow company is under the control of a team of ex-special operations that functioned during the Vietnam era.
Murtaugh and Riggs have been paired together and neither are happy with the arrangement, but when the killing starts, they both jump in feet first to find the ones behind it. Murtaugh confronts Riggs about the possibility of him committing suicide, demanding that he thinks about what he does before he makes that decision. Riggs assures him that although he may not be happy with the way things are, Murtaugh can depend on him. Although Murtaugh is still a little concerned about his new partner, they pool their efforts to address the latest homicide before them. After being called to the scene of a crime, the neighborhood kids remember seeing an Army special forces tattoo on one of the assailants.
The kids they question are as forthcoming as kids can be, but both detectives are still forced to use kid gloves when they decide to question them. Richard Donner directs this action thriller as we are treated to a roller coaster ride of emotions provided by Glover and Gibson. The combination of Riggs and Murtaugh allows Riggs to change his way of thinking and become a little more focused on the task at hand. Look for recognizable names like Gary Busey as Joshua, Tom Atkins as Michael Hunsaker and Darlene Love as Trish Murtaugh.