Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
An adequate conclusion.

I like to think that trilogies are now more mainstream than special. Apparently, anyone who is anyone has to make a trilogy. It’s either one film or three. An even duology just feels wrong because three feels like a more solid figure to finish a series up with. Beyond a trilogy…that’s where things start to get sketchy. You start to ask yourself…why really are there so many movies? Most of the time, the answer is for popularity and because they could…and a lot of the time, the fourth movie is proof that they shouldn’t have extended the series. What about Lethal Weapon, though? Interestingly enough, I gladly accept this as part of the series, and a big chunk of why might directly correlate to Richard Donner, the man who directed every film in the franchise.

It’s now 1998, and both of these sergeants are too old for their job, but they’re going to have to push on if they want to provide for their families. Riggs is having a baby with Lorna, and Murtaugh’s daughter is having a baby with Detective Butters (Chris Rock) at the same time. To keep their minds hard at work, a bunch of Chinese are smuggling…Chinese families as slaves for a hidden agenda. The guns of the operation is headed up by an old fart, but his right hand man is clearly the more prominent villain…played by Jet Li. So what do you think? Do you think these geezers have what it takes to head up against martial arts legend Jet Li?

You know, for the most part, I would agree that they took the best of both worlds, mixed them all together and spat them out for this film. It works sometimes, and other times it doesn’t. I can say that there is about an even amount of memorable scenes, ideas, characters, and story development; something I actually couldn’t say about the other films. That doesn’t crown this film the victor though. Like I said, it blended what was good about the other three films and spat it out here, so there is a mixture of unoriginal and fresh material. At the same time, they didn’t get everything right.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but cutting Riggs’s hair for this film was a bad idea. I know I’ve been complaining and making fun of it in my other reviews, but we’ve now had three films building this character up, and his hair has somewhat became an extension to his character. Cutting that off is like cutting off a leg, and his character just didn’t feel all there, but he did give it his all. So that’s good. Plus, playing opposite of Danny Glover is always a treat, and I’m sure for others who waited years to see this found it nostalgic at the very least.

I found this film to be quite memorable in a lot of areas. There were a few scenes I found memorable – like the whole car chase/fight scene in the mobile home on the highway; the laughing gas scene in the dentist; the fight between Gibson, Glover, and Jet Li; and a scene of closure with Leo towards the end. You also have certain ideas that are memorable, like the two having babies at the same time; the whole side-plot of Chris Rock secretly being Murtaugh’s son-in-law; the Chinese and Jet Li as a villain; and Riggs getting too old for the job.

So much of this film is memorable, and it has a decent plot overall. It’s not the best plot, given, but it’s moderately a good idea. I think it has to do with foreign villains that makes this series great. The threat is bigger, there is an imminent threat that looks unbeatable…those things make this series great. There wasn’t a lot of focus on the plot generally, but you have a good grasp on what’s happening enough to appreciate it.

The Good:
Obviously, Mel Gibson and Danny Glover jump right back into character, but what’s really great about this film is that it wraps everything up. If you ever had an questions in the last film left unanswered, this is the place to go for closure all around. Also, there are a lot of memorable scenes and ideas that this film provides for a generally great experience watching the flick.

The Bad:
Mel Gibson lost a little bit of that Riggs spirit when they cut his crazy hair…beyond era, it makes sense for his haircut…he’s getting older and growing up a little, becoming more sane. Still, though. Also, the plot wasn’t incredibly loud, it was just…adequate.

Memorable Quote:

Lee Butters: Somebody took my phone number and called Afghanistan. Afghanastan. I’ve never talked to anyone in Afghanistan, I don’t know nobody in Afghanistan, and even if did know anyone, I wouldn’t talk to that Afghan ass for three hours. I won’t talk to my daddy for three hours.


One thought on “Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)

  1. I feel like this movie is a mess. Yes, Jet Li is pretty awesome, but everything else feels way off. Chris Rock is mis-used, Joe Pesci is irritating, and there are some painful moments with dull (and borderline offensive) Asian humor. There are a few great scenes, but the rest is not good.


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