out of 4
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Lethal Weapon 4
Review by David Wilcock
1½ stars out of 4
The gangs all here, again, in this amiable action comedy. Gibson and Glover
are back as cops Riggs and Murtaugh, who both feel that they're 'getting too
old for this sh*t.' Well, it looked like the director, and the
scriptwriters, and getting too old also, as this movie is firmly stuck in
the 80's. Anyway, the boys are caught in a plot about illegal smuggling of
Chinese folks into America. Glover lets one of the families stay in his
home, but he's picked the wrong family. Bad guy Wah Sing Ku (Jet Li) is soon
looking for them, and then intent on getting rid of the lads, plus Rigg's
wife Lorna (Rene Russo) who is now nine months pregnant. Joining the good
guys is Chris Rock, supposedly 'playing' a character called Lee Butters, and
old favourite Joe Pesci as annoying side-kickabout Leo Getz. And, of course,
the familiar action and jokes are spread throughout the movie.
Well, maybe 'movie' isn't the right word for Lethal Weapon 4. Perhaps
're-union' is more like it. LW4 is less of a movie rather than a big
get-toghether of the cast and the director. Everyone seems to be having a
great time on-screen, all laughing and joking and have a 'good time.'
However, this dosen't convey to the audience, and we feel like spectators
looking though a window to a great party inside. Therefore, LW4 skimps on
script and character development, and concentrates of the jokes and action.
Actually, it centres on the jokes more, because it took a good 40 minutes
before the proper action began. Yes, LW4 suffers the problem of 'developing'
characters we are already familiar with and don't really care about. The
actors charms help pull of this slow start, however, and the chemistry
between Gibson, Glover and Pesci is magical.
When the action finally appears, it's well handled and fairly entertaining,
if somewhat familiar. There's the usual fist fights, gun shoots and car
chases. Sadly, there's no 'new' feel to them, they've been recycled from a
million films before. The writer, Alfred Gough, dosen't try anything too
original, and tries to stick to standard action fare, which is does very
well. The jokes are O.K, although their are funnier because of the cast, not
the jokes themselves. Gibson can make any gag seem great, and Chris Rock,
far better here than Doctor Dolittle, is a welcome addition with his Eddie
Murphy style delivery. Richard Donner gets the job done, and some of the set
pieces are well done, especially the first 10 minutes. Overall, though, it's
all a little underwhelming.
LW4 is far from being a bad movie, it's just not too good either. It's
marginally better than Lethal Weapon 3, but not as entertaining as the first
or second movie. While this type of movie was great in the 80's, it seems
out of place in the 90's where we expect action movies to have a little more
punch to them, and razzle dazzle. It's fun, and not boring, but in the end,
LW4 didn't really need to be made, and is just an excuse for everyone to get
back together. And the corny, ridiculous 'we're great friends' ending is one
of the funniest endings in movie history.
In other words, making a fifth movie would be like milking a dead cow.
Warner, please make Lethal Weapon now rest in peace. Amen.
Copyright © 1998 David Wilcock
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