Movie Review By Alex Lau
"Lethal Weapon 4" is the latest in the series starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. The first three had Riggs and Murtaugh going up against drug kingpins, evil South Africans, and gun runners. Now, they're going up against illegal immigrant smugglers in Chinatown.
The gang's all here, as the promotional posters will tell you. Joe Pesci is back as Leo Getz, who made his first appearance in "Lethal Weapon 2". Rene Russo is back as Lorna Cole, the tough but beautiful policewoman from the last movie. Murtaugh's whole family is back. Oh, and to add a little variety, Chris Rock enters the scene as a cop who wants to get to know Murtaugh a lot better.
He only adds a little bit of variety, though. Everything about "Lethal Weapon 4" screams familiarity, as if something truly fresh might just rip up the time-space continuum, leaving us nothing but Pauly Shore movies. Can't risk that, so better play it safe.
Jet Li is solid as Wah Sing Ku, probably the coolest bad guy in the series to date. Oh, and a quick note about the authenticity of the spoken Chinese here: in real life, you usually don't see one guy speaking in Mandarin and another guy responding in Cantonese, but to me, it's better than hearing them speak gibberish in heavy American accents.
Director Richard Donner gives you everything you expect from a Lethal Weapon movie: action, humor, more action, and more humor, spliced in with a couple of political messages about as subtle as a sledgehammer. The screenplay, by first-timer Channing Gibson, is not much more than a star vehicle for Gibson, Glover, Rock, and Li.
In the end, "Lethal Weapon 4" comes across like an old baseball glove: it might not fit as well as it once did, but it sure makes you nostalgic for when the old guys could play the game like they used to.
© 1998 - Alex Lau - Air Date: 7/7/1998
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