These days, Jiu-itsu is a character all its own in Hollywood action flicks with a bit part (“Matrix,” “Avatar,” “Hulk,” G.I. Joe,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Inception” – you fill in the rest), as a supporting cast member (“Sherlock Holmes”) or even as the leading man (“Red Belt”).
That wasn’t always the case. When Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was still an unknown martial art, in the pre-UFC days, Mel Gibson and Danny Glover starred in the first movie to mention our Jiu-Jitsu, “Lethal Weapon,” in 1987.
Early in the full-length movie, fifty-something-year-old officer Roger Murtaugh implores loose cannon Martin Riggs to settle a dispute through conversation alone. “No guns, no Jiu-Jitsu!” he barks. It didn’t do much good. But it’s at the end of the story that Jiu-Jitsu shines, in a showdown between Mel Gibson and a mercenary villain played by Gary Busey.