|Channeling his intensity into other things besides crime fighting.|
Somehow Gibson managed to be both tough yet tender and be an 80s action star. Yet it is interesting that in the first two Lethal Weapon films, he never gets the girl. As if to reaffirm the idea that action stars can't fall in love, both his wife and Van Den Haas are killed. The latter event reminds Riggs of his previous loss and makes him even crazier which leads Lethal Weapon 2 to its violent conclusion. In this way, the film takes a risk in that it lets Gibson be sexual, but then promptly undermines that by returning him to his usual work-obsessed, crime-fighting, tough guy ways. Still, the vulnerability is naturally present in Gibson's face. There is a wildness to his eyes and a set to his mouth that is compelling. He became a sex symbol for women and someone men could admire. He also almost fell into the regular guy action hero category (a niche Bruce Willis basically owns) except somehow he wasn't- and this was owed to his intensity and the depth he possessed that most other action stars of the day lacked.
Mellon, Joan. Big Bad Wolves: Masculinity in American Film.