Lethal Weapon 3

Lethal Weapon 3

***

Reviewed by: Stephen Carty

If Lethal Weapon was the ‘dark, suicidal Riggs one’ and Lethal Weapon II is the ‘one with the South Africans’ (“Dip-lo-ma-tic Immunity”), then this third instalment is the ‘Renno Russo one’. Sadly, while all the cast and director Richard Donner return to give us another enjoyable romp, its also the weakest of the three. Still, if you’re looking for snappy one-liners, wild action and a buddy-cop yarn, then you’ll still be in for a gun-totting treat.

While sergeant Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is counting down the days till his retirement, Riggs (Mel Gibson) comes across lethal armour piercing bullets that are being sold on the street to young kids. Despite having been demoted due to all the damage they’ve done, the pair investigate until Internal Affairs gets involved and officer Lorna Cole (Russo) comes along for the ride.

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Amping up the bangs even more so than last time, the opening is explosive as our favourite cop double-act accidentally blow up a huge building. From here we get good entertainment as the pair are relegated back to uniform patrol (check out their punishment for jay walking), but it soon results in a high-speed motorway chase, where Riggs inevitably runs onto, hangs from and jumps off a moving vehicle. In terms of fun action, Lethal Weapon III has plenty.

However, the loss of screenwriter Shane Black is undoubtedly felt (he left after the second when his decision to kill off Riggs was overruled) as there is less character and depth than in previous instalments. Sure the one-liners remain zingy and the buddy banter is largely untouchable, but by progressively upping the cartoon-mayhem there’s less tension as we know none of our dynamic duo are going to buy it.

Additionally, aside from having a decidedly-dubious moustache that should be brought in for questioning on its own, Stuart Wilson’s underwritten Jack Travis Is the series’ weakest villain thus far. The addition of Russo’s ass-kicking, perfect-for Riggs love interest is decent (though it is painfully obvious it’s a stunt double doing the martial arts), but Pesci’s “okay, okay” schtick isn’t quite as funny and there’s a pattern forming. Riggs chases after something, Murtaugh follows shouting: “Riggs! Riggs! Hey Riggs!” and then Leo has a vocal, sweary diatribe against something.

By going bigger, faster and louder than before, Lethal Weapon III doesn’t hit the same highs. Still, while almost too old for this s**t, as far as far as plotless-action goes, you won’t find better.

Reviewed on: 24 Feb 2010
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The odd-couple cops get involved in tracking down armour-piercing bullets being sold on the streets.
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Director: Richard Donner

Writer: Jeffrey Boam, Robert Mark Kamen

Starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Rene Russo, Stuart Wilson, Steve Kahan, Darlene Love, Traci Wolfe, Damon Hines, Ebonie Smith, Gregory Millar, Nick Chinlund, Jason Rainwater, Alan Scarfe, Delores Hall

Year: 1992

Runtime: 118 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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