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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 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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