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Lethal Weapon 4

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Lethal Weapon 4

Starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover
Director: Richard Donner
Rated: R
RunTime: 127 Minutes
Release Date: July 1998
Genres: Action, Comedy


*Also starring: Joe Pesci, Rene Russo, Chris Rock, Jet Li, Steve Kahan, Kim Chan, Darlene Love, Traci Wolfe



Review by Jerry Saravia
No Rating Supplied

Who would have thought that a decade later the "Lethal Weapon" franchise would turn into an unfunny, Cosby-like comedy about family values with some exploitative violence thrown in? Not only that, but remove all the elements that made the first three films exciting and fresh.

Let's consider the first "Lethal Weapon," a tough-as-nails buddy-buddy police actioner with a badass Mel Gibson as the suicidal Martin Riggs. Here was a ticking time bomb ready to die at any given moment - regardless of the consequences. Let's also consider Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), a family man who served in Vietnam and is getting ready to face old age. The two were an unbeatable pair, and they also faced one of the best villains in the history of action films, played by Gary Busey! The point was that a mutual camaraderie existed between them.

The second film was purely action and laughs with the very funny and oily Joe Pesci as the accountant, Leo Getz ("Whatever you want, Leo gets!"). It also set the standard for one of the best, most explosive action scenes ever. The third film went further with the comedy, and too much action. There was little or no character development, and the introduction of the Internal Affairs officer, Lorna (Rene Russo), resulted in one of the weakest entries of the series.

So what's left in "Lethal Weapon 4"? Not much I am afraid. Riggs is now a respectable citizen with short hair, ready to settle down, and no longer lethal (Is this the same suicidal freak from the first film?). Chris Rock is shown briefly and doesn't figure much in the story, except that he gets Murtaugh's daughter pregnant. Murtaugh is unaware that Rock is the father, and thinks he's gay. Riggs's girlfriend, Lorna, is also pregnant and wants to get married! Funny, indeed. Leo Getz is back as a private investigator, and he is unbearable throughout with his continual "whatevers" and "okays." The thin story has to do with Chinese gangsters conspiring in some threadbare plot about counterfeit money, and led by a formidable villain (Jet Li), a martial-arts expert - a true lethal weapon. And there are the requisite explosions, implausible action scenes, and typically racist jokes aimed squarely at the Chinese.

"Lethal Weapon 4" looks like it was assembled rather than directed. One car chase here, one fist fight there, one obvious joke here, and so on. There's no plot or story to speak of. No shred of acting skills either, despite the high-powered cast, although Jet Li says a lot with one stare, here and there. It's like a tired parody of the "Lethal Weapon" experience, and its ickily sentimental, heavily overwrought last passage - involving Pesci's unintentionally funny monologue and dual pregnancies - left me in a state of dumbfounded shock. There's never any sense of danger or peril, and no sense of communion or camaraderie between the characters. It's "Lethally Bland Weapon" for dummies.

Copyright 1998 Jerry Saravia

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