Lethal Weapon 4


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Lethal Weapon 4
"The real plot doesn't start for almost an hour and when it does is less interesting than a Roger Moore 007 caper."

Big mistake. Going one more time. Mel Gibson didn't want to. At first. Until they mentioned the money? He's definitely not trying. He's having a lark. Martin Riggs used to be an interesting guy, traumatised by his wife's death, almost suicidal and unhinged, long-haired, disobedient and a dangerous man to have as a friend. Now he's an orange-juice-on-the-patio homebody. His lady (Rene Russo) is about to give birth. He worries about whether he should marry her.

On the work front, he doesn't seem to care. What turns him on is taking the Michael out of Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover), his partner. The first 45 minutes is banter, repartee, kidding between these two. Murtaugh's daughter is pregnant. Riggs knows the inside story of who her boyfriend (Chris Rock), secret husband (?), is. Murtaugh hasn't a clue and thinks his (big) little girl has been abandoned. Riggs plays up to this. It's a domestic sit-com.

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The real plot doesn't start for almost an hour and when it does is less interesting than a Roger Moore 007 caper. Jet Li, Hong Kong's latest kungfumeister, plays the cool killer better than most. His martial arts skills are formidable. It's a pity that the Gibson-Glover bonding sessions fill so much space, when this man could have taken on the LAPD single-footed. It would have been more entertaining.

This is purely a personality show. Joe Pesci pops up with his comic character, Leo Getz, and gives a demonstration of machine-gun diction. There are Clint Eastwood style gags about being over the hill. As cops, Riggs and Murtaugh, are not so much has-beens as never there. Involvement with the Chinese gang lord, for instance, happens by chance when they're out fishing.

The thriller element, which mattered in the first and third "Weapons", does not exist. Gibson sees himself as Leslie Nielsen's replacement. If Riggs treats the Triad hard men as puppy dogs, why should the audience worry? All that remains is a buddy movie, with expensive wreckage. No wonder Li never smiles.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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The ageing crime-fighting duo take on a Chinese crimelord.
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Director: Richard Donner

Writer: Channing Gibson

Starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Rene Russo, Chris Rock, Jet Li, Steve Kahan, Kim Chan, Darlene Love, Traci Wolfe, Eddy Ko

Year: 1998

Runtime: 127 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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