Adam Wingard may have spent the majority of his career prior to Godzilla vs. Kong working almost entirely in the realm of horror, but the filmmaker is clearly a massive fan of the action movie. The Guest was an ode to the neon-soaked aesthetic that characterized countless 1980s thrillers, while he’s also taken on the incredibly tricky task of crafting a sequel to John Woo’s classic Face/Off.
On the surface, the MonsterVerse doesn’t share a whole lot of connective tissue with the golden age of action cinema, that glorious ten-year period beginning with Lethal Weapon in 1987 that gave us Die Hard, Point Break, Speed, Hard Boiled, Face/Off, Con Air, The Rock, Air Force One, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Predator, The Killer, RoboCop, The Fugitive and many more, all in the space of a decade.
However, Wingard did admit that his influences for Godzilla vs. Kong weren’t quite what you’d expect. He cited Clint Eastwood’s classic Western Unforgiven as an inspiration, with the ruler of Skull Island positioned as the aging gunslinger drawn into one last battle, and the movie’s VFX supervisor Bryan Hirota has now confirmed that the epic creature feature contains direct homages to Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, as you can read below.
“I don’t know if I can think of specific Easter eggs that haven’t been caught. Knocked out, sleeping Kong on the transport ship is also a nod to King Kong vs. Godzilla, but I think people have spotted them all. Adam also has these nods to 80s action stars, like how Kong jumping off the carrier when Godzilla blows it up is a nod to Bruce Willis in Die Hard, and Kong putting his shoulder back into place is a nod to Martin Riggs’ dislocated shoulder bit from Lethal Weapon 2.”
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A gigantic ape that’s hundreds of feet tall doesn’t readily share much common ground with either John McClane or Martin Riggs, unless you view them as world-weary and grizzled action heroes that put themselves through the physical wringer in order to get the job done and save the day. In any case, all we need now is for the next installment in the MonsterVerse after Godzilla vs. Kong to fully embrace the comparisons by giving Kong McClane’s white vest and Riggs’ mullet the next time we see him.