7/21/16

LETHAL WEAPON 4 - REVIEW


A whopping 6 years after Lethal Weapon 3, we somehow got another sequel to the iconic buddy cop action franchise starring Mel Gibson as loose cannon Martin Riggs and Danny Glover as Roger "Too Old For This Shit" Murtaugh.

A little older but not much wiser, the LAPD duo are still taking on bad guys in the streets in the most destructive and explosive ways possible but now, with Riggs' girlfriend Lorna (Rene Russo) and Murtaugh's daughter being pregnant, they're having to consider their age and their future. On top of that, you've got a Chinese immigrant smuggling ring being exposed which builds into a money laundering masterplan led by Jet Li's intimidating villain. And, of course, Leo (Joe Pesci) is thrown in there for added comic relief, as if having Chris Rock fast-talking his way through some of his leftover stand-up routines wasn't enough. It's a bit of a bloated, unfocused script and one wishes that some of it had been edited out or polished up a little because, as it stands, this sequel is a bit of a mess.

On the plus side, there's tons of action and impressive stunts to enjoy, Riggs and Murtaugh are just as likeable as ever and Jet Li is arguably the franchise's coolest and most memorable antagonist. Basically, this is Lethal Weapon 3 with a good villain with more old man jokes, more comic relief, more martial arts, more car chases but also a solid payoff. The third film's ending was somewhat disappointing so seeing Riggs and Murtaugh take on a very pissed-off Jet Li in a moody setting mano-a-mano is a breath of fresh air and makes for a genuinely tense climax. This is a much lighter movie in tone and, because of that, you never get the emotional payoff that you expect in some scenes and, believe it or not, having Joe Pesci monologue through a story in which he kills a frog by running it over with his bike doesn't exactly make for a tear-jerker scene.

Lethal Weapon 4 is admittedly a fun movie and fans of the previous films should find plenty to enjoy here. It may not be anywhere as good as the first two movies but, as a final send-off, it's charming, funny and entertaining enough to make it well worth a watch.

Ok: NOW they're too old for this shit.

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