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LETHAL WEAPON 4

SYNOPSIS:
Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) are getting older and have more things on their minds than just police work. Murtaugh is about to become a grandfather, while Riggs is about to become a father with internal Affairs inspector Lorna Cole (Rene Russo), although they're not married. With the assistance of their comic sidekick and former money launderer turned private eye, Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) and a new detective, Lee Butters (Chris Rock), the two old partners discover that a crooked local businessman, Uncle Benny (Kim Chan), is involved in illegally bringing immigrants into the country as slave labor. When they discover that a member of the Asian Triad, Wah Sing Ku (Jet Li), is also involved, they start to put the heat on the bad guys.

"Lethal Weapon 4 explodes onto the screen bigger than ever. The characters are so well established, they are like old sneakers, although Danny Glover’s Murtaugh seems to be lumbered with sillier and sillier stunts. In one of the earlier films, Murtaugh was caught with his pants down in the smallest room of the house; in this one, he strips down to his boxer shorts to cause a diversion in the middle of a crisis. In fact, the whole opening sequence, which while overtly spectacular and amusing, is rather overworked and overdone. It looks as though the scriptwriters were trying just a tad too hard. And they needn’t – try so hard, that is – because the rest of the script is involving, funny and thoroughly entertaining. In fact, it is arguably the best script of them all. The sub-plots are well thought out, and there’s a lot of business going on for everyone. Mel Gibson brings extra dimensions to Riggs, while the successful Gibson/Glover partnership continues to come up aces. The stunts are breathtaking, especially the car-chase crashing through a skyscraper. Chinese star Jet Li is fabulous, exhibiting martial arts skills that will leave you breathless. He has a screen presence that commands attention, and is a welcome addition here. Rene Russo is terrific and Joe Pesci provides the perfect comic relief. This is James Bond-type of action, punctuated with self-deprecating asides– you can relax and let the good guys dazzle with stunts and thrills, all in the comfort of your cinema armchair."
Louise Keller

"One expects Hollywood to remain consistently formulaic; sometimes the formula pops, but for the most part is fizzes, as in the case of this fourth, excessively silly Lethal Weapon. The problem with the film is that the team is so sure of itself, that it simply insists on making something to please its fans while taking little notice of how tedious the whole thing has become. The result is a clunky, incoherent mess, a hybrid of genres and styles that never gel. From one totally absurd set piece to another, Lethal 4 resembles little more than an excessively violent cartoon, whose characters lack depth or emotional range. The first film was fascinating, and as much character-driven as plot-driven, but now, it resembles a mindless caricature of itself. The script, such as it is, seems to have been written on the run, and the film is a hazy, hotch potch of ideas and vignettes. There are explosions and car chases, fights and gun fire, the dull verbal repartee which often seems inaudible, and attempts at poignancy and humour. Gibson and Glover do their thing with a certain proficiency, but the relationship lacks a genuine spark. Only once or twice does Gibson's acting shine [a touching scene at Riggs' late wife's grave being one of the few in question]. But generally, Lethal Weapon 4 is all about the art of stunts and pyrotechnics; the art of film making has been lost in the cinematic shuffle, and there are more dollars than sense here. Regrettably, this Lethal Weapon, the most excessively violent film of the series, is a case of one too many. You've been four-warned."
Paul Fischer

"It’s hard to mix relentless joking with killing on screen, especially when both come in such hefty doses, although fans of this series – and of the cast – probably won’t care, because they instinctively realise none of it can be taken too seriously. For me, that’s why the film loses its dramatic tension; but with all the trappings that money can buy, the film is entertaining on its own terms. I agree with Louise about the laboured jokeyness of the opening sequence, and I don’t even think it’s funny enough to warrant the time and effort involved. There are some terrific scenes, though, and of course, great action stunts. I kinda, sorta enjoyed much of it…."
Andrew L. Urban

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1
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LETHAL WEAPON 4 (M15+)
(US)

CAST: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Rene Russo, Chris Rock, Jet Li, Steve Kahan

DIRECTOR: Richard Donner

PRODUCERS: Joel Silver, Richard Donner

SCRIPT: Channing Gibson; story, Jonathan Lemkin, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, based on characters created by Shane Black.

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrzej Bartkowiak

EDITOR: Dallas Puett, Frank J. Urioste

MUSIC: Eric Clapton, Michael Kamen, David Sanborn

PRODUCTION DESIGN: J. Michael Riva

RUNNING TIME: 127 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 10, 1998







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