Lethal Weapon 4 is like a ten year high school reunion, or at least what I’ve heard about them everyone is older and overweight But, the good thing is the familiarity with everyone and Lethal Weapon 4 has familiarity. From the director, Richard Donner, who directed all four films, to most of the actors, everything old is new in Lethal Weapon 4.
Lethal Weapon 4 is more like the third film than the first two. The first two had substance that accompanied the action. For instance, in the first movie, there was a genuine character development scene – Rigg’s first dinner at the Murtaugh house. The second matched the first, an action film with substance. The third, though, was a straightforward action movie.
Many didn’t like the third, and I rank it last also, although it was fun. Lethal Weapon 4 is also just about action, with no real character development and no substance.
What makes the Lethal Weapon films so popular is what looks at first to be a cliched but later turns to be original, relationship between Murtaugh and Riggs. Danny Glover and Mel Gibson are perfectly cast in the respective roles. The relationship between Murtaugh and Riggs is reduced to a bunch of onscreen quips and onliners staring with the third film. In the first two, the humor came from the situations, while the third and now fourth rely mostly on oneliners to get laughs. With this in mind, the big draw for the “new” Lethal Weapon, starting with Lethal Weapon 3, franchise is action. And with Lethal Weapon 4 director Richard Donner does not disappoint.
If you liked the first two and thought the third was complete action fluff, than you might not enjoy this fourth installment. However, if you go see Lethal Weapon 4 strictly for action you will walk out happy. The best action scenes are those in which we get to see the restrained Jet Li. But also watch for the scene with Gibson that uses a big rig, a long piece of plastic, and a table.
Jet Li , like Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-Fat, is a world renowned action star – except in the US. Lethal Weapon 4 marks his introduction to the Hollywood movie market. And what an introduction it is. Li is a kick-butt martial artist who has better moves than Jackie and as much film coolness as Chow. His martial arts scenes feel restrained, though. He can beat the living daylights out of both Gibson and Glover with just his pinky, but he’s held back because he’s the bad guy.
Gibson and Glover are back doing Riggs and Murtaugh. Neither are doing much new, but that’s what I expected. Among the returning players are Renee Russo and Joe Pesci. Russo is, next to Li, the best thing in this movie, bringing a freshness to her role. Pesci should win some award for most annoying performance this year. OK, OK, OK? The newcomer is Chris Rock and he brings some freshness to this aging series.
But let’s get to the most important thing the action. The action is incredible. First, as I mentioned before, Jet Li is a very cool addition. But, Donner has a natural eye for action and he has a bunch of standout sequences in the film. Lethal Weapon 4 is not a deep, though provoking movie it’s an action fluff movie.
Ultimately, there will be Lethal Weapon 1 and 2 lovers who will disregard Lethal Weapon 4 as a rushed-for-the-money sequel, but it is also a fun film. There are three things to see Lethal Weapon 4 for first is the amazing Jet Li. He brought “oohs” and “ahhs” to the audience I saw the film with. Second is Renee Russo, who is just cool. And third is the action. There are action sequences in Lethal Weapon 4 that are memorable. Lethal Weapon 4 gets a big recommendation from me. This is action-fluff at its best.
Edited by Cher Johnson.