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Overall Rating
3.04

Awesome: 15.18%
Worth A Look: 16.96%
Average32.14%
Pretty Bad: 27.68%
Total Crap: 8.04%

5 reviews, 82 user ratings


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Lethal Weapon 4
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Give it a rest. Please."
2 stars

"We are not getting too old for this shit!" chant Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in 'Lethal Weapon 4,' echoing Glover's oft-repeated catchphrase. Uh, yes you are, guys.

The very definition of a meaningless, mindless summer sequel, LW4 is fairly painless for about its first hour. After that, you may have to remind yourself what the plot is supposed to be about. And then you may have to remind yourself why you bothered to remind yourself. This is easily the most sketchily written of the Lethal Weapon movies, obviously improvised on the set whenever possible (a ploy that fizzles more often than not).

There was really no reason to make a fourth entry in this once-honorable action series -- there was barely a reason to make the third one, either (except that it introduced Rene Russo, a welcome dose of estrogen in this testosterone-drunk series). For me, the perpetually near-retired Roger Murtaugh (Glover) and psycho Vietnam vet Martin Riggs (Gibson) hit their stride, and their peak, in 1989's satisfyingly whiplash LW2. Since then, Murtaugh and Riggs have coasted on our affection for them; Riggs isn't even crazy any more -- in LW4 he's so mellow he seems ready to host a landscape-painting show on PBS.

Director Richard Donner (who has helmed all four Lethal Weapons) is coasting, too. He stages one good wacky car chase on an L.A. freeway, and it's stupidly enjoyable while you're watching it. But afterwards you may recall the movies it cribs from -- Raiders of the Lost Ark, a similar chase in LW2 -- and you also may feel bone-tired of car chases. And there's never any real threat or danger in the action scenes. By now, Riggs and Murtaugh are so well-loved that you know Donner isn't going to kill off either of them.

The Lethal Weapon movies have always thrown in some hapless attempt at social relevance amid all the cartoonish brutality -- we had South African villains in LW2, a gun-runner providing weapons to South Central kids in LW3, and in LW4 we have a Chinese Mr. Big (Jet Li, the latest Hong Kong star to dip his toe into Hollywood waters) who smuggles Asian immigrants into Los Angeles only to enslave them and force them to work in his counterfeit-cash operation. One step forward, two steps back: Just as Mulan comes out and Asian-Americans thought it was safe to go to the movies, along comes LW4 to revive the old Yellow Peril. Jet Li is impressive here, but his moves left me wanting to see him in his undiluted Hong Kong glory, not in weak Hollywood stuff like this.

Russo returns as Riggs' detective sweetheart Lorna, who is now pregnant and therefore excused from most of the boy-boy action. (She does pack a mean kick despite being nearly nine months along -- any women out there care to comment on the physical verisimilitude of this?) Joe Pesci also returns as the motormouth Leo Getz, now an inept private eye who seems to exist only to expound nasally on a variety of irrelevant topics. Series newcomer Chris Rock, as a hot-headed younger detective, joins Pesci in a rather amusing dual rant about cell phones, but both men wear out their welcome fast. They both start at a high pitch and never let up -- they're like duelling car alarms. Meanwhile, Glover and especially Gibson sit back in most of their improvised scenes and goof off; some of the goofing off is funny, but most of it is just two overfamiliar partners trying and failing to wing it without a script.

Somewhere around the second hour, I lost interest. A minor character we've gotten to know and care about is killed, and it has no weight, no impact on his family or on the cop who has befriended him. I trust I will reveal nothing shocking by noting that the bad guy gets it in the end -- does he ever not, in the LW series? -- but Donner, having impaled him during a thunderstorm, misses his chance to send the villain off in grand fashion with a well-aimed bolt of lightning. He misses a lot of chances; he prefers to kick back and relax. But what's the point of a relaxed Joel Silver action blockbuster?

At 'Lethal Weapon 4,' you're either glad to be with these guys again, or you wish Warner Brothers would come up with a good story for them -- or simply retire them. The schmaltzy final scenes, which surface from the depths of a pious family-values hell, would indicate that this sequel is meant to be our goodbye to Murtaugh and Riggs. If only it weren't such a long goodbye.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=30&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/21/07 07:49:28
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User Comments

12/03/10 PAUL SHORTT WATCHABLE ADDITION TO THE SERIES WITH GOOD ACTION SEQUENCES 3 stars
3/05/10 Robert Overall, my personal order of the Lethal Weapon movies from best to worst is: 2, 1, 4, 3. 5 stars
2/17/10 Reality of Films Not as good as the first two, but still a very strong end to the series. 5 stars
10/23/09 the dork knight Disappointed that Jet Li's brother wasn't Jackie Chan. He looked like him from afar. 3 stars
8/29/09 Jeff Wilder Gets the job done. But feels like they went back to the well one time too many. 3 stars
8/04/08 Farnsy My second favourite in the franchise! 4 stars
1/06/08 Jeff Anderson The weakest of the series. However, the freeway chase(Donner's a master!!)is truly amazing! 2 stars
1/08/07 action movie fan great thrills and action--jet li is sensational-agreat chapter in the series 5 stars
3/06/06 Anthony Feor Amazing stunts and evrything, but why so late 4 stars
8/30/05 ES Loved the whole series 4 stars
5/27/05 tony Chris Parry is a gaylord! This was a great way to end the series,with the chinese 4 stars
12/05/04 Kristina Williams everyone at their most annoying 2 stars
8/30/04 Captain Obvously... That\\\'s my name. Chinease Triads... WOW! 5 stars
6/08/04 PAYNE My Fav! 5 stars
12/07/03 john great action and a wonderful ending - they are not too old for this shit! know the rest 5 stars
10/26/03 rat assed mutha shiter loved the film, me and the miss did 2 5 stars
7/31/03 omar "surfur" youssef Murtah is "getting too old for this shit." Briggs is still crazy. God, let this end NOW! 2 stars
6/09/03 The Chronic yes, because the first 3 were SOOO cool. White trash movies rock! 1 stars
5/20/03 mr. Pink An improvement on the horrible third movie. Especially Rock & Li provide most of the fun. 3 stars
3/25/03 Emelie GREAT! 5 stars
3/20/03 Jack Sommersby Loud, obnoxious, and just plain tired stuff. 2 stars
12/11/02 Piyush pandey Leathel 1 stars
9/27/02 Tom Fleeman They slid a bit on this one, but still good. 4 stars
4/28/02 Butterbean They just didn't give a shit anymore. At least Jet Li kept me entertained. 2 stars
12/06/01 KMG Too many "family talks"...I thought they were getting old but geesh! 2 stars
11/29/01 The $1.98 Pyramid Gibson had doubts about this, so was I. 3 stars
10/19/01 Andrew Carden A Few Fairly Good Action Scenes Are Totally Destoryed By A Really Stupid Comeback. 2 stars
10/10/01 jawsboy funny but too much comedy. great action and photography, bad script. maybe the worst??. 4 stars
9/19/01 Sam Leathel Weapons are the best movies of all time BIOOOOTCH!!!! 2 stars
8/19/01 Edwin Menguin I'm getting too old for this TOTAL FUCKIN' SMELLY LICKABLE SHITE 1 stars
8/19/01 Babybelle Boo-hoo,where's Riggs gone! Bring me back the crazy man..... 3 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk Far better than the 3rd installment. Jet Li is amazing. One of the funnier 'Weapons' 4 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) THE BEST "LETHAL WEAPON" MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
7/10/01 M Mel Gibson beautiful! 5 stars
5/14/01 fifu a very good return to the series jet li is amazing 4 stars
4/16/01 LiL I loved this! The fire scene in the beginning was just great! 5 stars
4/02/01 Nick Since LW1, the films have had a grip on America for a reason - they're fun fluff 5 stars
12/07/00 Cristopher Revilla these guys ARE too old for this shit!!! they should make a TV series, still it was okay 3 stars
11/27/00 The Evil Penguin the worst of the trilogy 2 stars
10/21/00 Jed This is actually a fine sequel almost as good as the original. 4 stars
10/18/00 Dan Better than expected but still junk. Russo and Pesci shouldn't be in this shite. 1 stars
8/11/00 Jason Kallelis I actually liked this one the most, not sure why, maybe because it was the first I saw. 5 stars
7/19/00 Naushad Khanji A huge muddled,noisy and lousy film. 1 stars
4/12/00 Bruce Not as good as part 2, but it has some very good moments 4 stars
2/09/00 Richard Wright Suprisingly good for a third sequel, but soon our duo WILL be too old for this shit. 3 stars
1/21/00 movieman entertaining 5 stars
12/18/99 SID How can this be so campy, and have the most over-the-top violent ending of the series? 3 stars
11/04/99 Mickey "Father Death" MacJohnstmyster Give it up Donner ,money that should have been spent making Goonies 2 . 1 stars
7/04/99 J-Dogg My uncle dragged me to see this shit twice and I regret it. Tries too hard to be funny. 2 stars
4/07/99 Michael Grimm that chinese dude made chan look like a pussy 3 stars
4/04/99 Jeff not realistic, but entertianing 4 stars
2/23/99 Piz Gibson vs. Li, very hard to vote for the good guy,we've done this before, 3 times. 3 stars
2/11/99 Melissa Rock has a nothing role, Li is very convincing. See it to say you've seen all 4. 3 stars
12/15/98 paulstanley aren't these two ready for retirement yet..old is old 1 stars
11/25/98 Mr.Pink Better than the last one 3 stars
11/08/98 Mike F it was ok. not as good as the others. 3 stars
11/04/98 The Dude I thought it ruled, but I think it wasen't the best. 5 stars
11/02/98 MR HOLLYWOOD !! ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz, MEL FUCKIN SUX,PESCI RULES cause his italian of course...... 2 stars
10/29/98 zenball Liked Li's 'Tai Chi Master' better 2 stars
10/24/98 grunter Fuck Mel and Danny; GIVE JET-LI HIS OWN STARRING VEHICLE!! NOW!! 2 stars
10/18/98 Kwyjibo These guys cruised through the whole movie. Thank God for Jet Li. 2 stars
10/18/98 Sailor Moon Ate My Balls More comedy and action! What a blast! 4 stars
10/14/98 Alex F. Jet Li kicks ass. Might be his worst movie, but he still kicks ass. 4 stars
9/29/98 Marty in St.Louis If I gotta hear anymore of Glover & Gibson's "witty banter" I will need a gun. 1 stars
9/25/98 Foxgirl Hilarious.Definately a "pop-corn movie". 4 stars
9/23/98 ShadowStar© If you liked 2 and 3, you won't be disappointed. Same schtick, different flick. :-) 4 stars
9/20/98 Chip Taylor Best Lethal yet!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/18/98 {{{OZ}}} Tired tired tired 2 stars
9/17/98 MR HOLLYWOOD ! ITS SO SHIT AND OVER-HYPED IT INSULTS YOUR INTELLIGENCE !! (but it is funny) 2 stars
9/16/98 N. Davis It wasn't the best movie I've seen, but I enjoyed it. I love to watch Mel in these films. 4 stars
9/15/98 Negative Creep Like an episode of the Cosby Show with bullets flying by. 3 stars
9/14/98 Rob Sinelli HELL YEH! MEL FOREVER! 4 stars
9/14/98 Chip Taylor The Best lethal weapon yet. Good explosive scenes. And some humor. So ... see it. 5 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball For the stupider folks in the audience. 2 stars
8/20/98 The Man With The Helmet Jet Li, out of control good. Joe Pesci, banish him to movie-jail. 2 stars
8/20/98 CC go, if just to see Chris Rock rant about the floor 4 stars
8/18/98 VioLenT BoB Go To See Jet Li....He's Amazing. 3 stars
8/16/98 Johny Could have used more time in development, but OK 3 stars
8/15/98 Schmeekins Bah, why bother? 1 stars
8/15/98 Matt Maybe its cuz I saw it with family, but I couldn't wait for it to end. 2 stars
8/14/98 f*r*o*s*t*y Chris Rock made it worth seeing, if nothing else. 4 stars
8/13/98 {{OZ}} For the feeble-minded, but painless enough 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  10-Jul-1998 (R)
  DVD: 03-Feb-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  10-Sep-1998 (M)


Directed by
  Richard Donner

Written by
  Jonathon Lemkin
  Alfred Gough
  Miles Millar

Cast
  Mel Gibson
  Danny Glover
  Jet Li
  Rene Russo
  Chris Rock
  Joe Pesci



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