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Review Lethal Weapon 4 (1998): It's solid but already was running out of ideas!

genre: action, crime

Lethal Weapon 4 for a long time was a film that I liked a lot. Now after having seen it again for the sixth time or so I have some reservations. It does seem to be the lesser of all the sequels. Why? Because this part already was running out of ideas. It was more like a repeat of previous films where Jet Li was signed on as the main villain. And while he did a good job I do think he was underused.

I am not sure who to blame here. The writers or director Richard Donner. Although very likely it's the writers since they seemed to have forgotten that Mel Gibson's character Riggs is a Lethal Weapon. I know that the excuse they use is that Martin Riggs has gotten old and simply is not as lethal as he used to be. I get it. And to be honest that was quite interesting if not for the fact that most of the time Riggs is completely inept. Murtaugh (Danny Glover) who already was too old for this shit three films ago seems to be on par or even more skilled than before. How come Martin has lost his touch so much? It also makes the end fight between Riggs, Murtaugh and Wah Sing Ku (Jet Li) a little laughable. It would have been far more exciting had Riggs been on top of his game and still would have gotten his ass beaten by Wah Sing Ku. That would have also been more respectful towards Jet Li since he is criminally neglected. They could have allowed him to make his scenes count.

Then there is the addition of Chris Rock. We all know that Chris Rock is a very funny guy but here in this film he barely is. Like in previous films it's Joe Pesci who provides the most comedic relief. But I don't blame Rock. Again the writers have dropped the ball and failed to let him do his thing. The worst offence is the fact that the action is not as exciting as it was in previous films. There is one spectacular and memorable car chase scene but everything else is pretty generic. You have one of the most skilled action stars at your disposal and then you just let him stand there and do a kick or two. Are you kidding me? I know I am repeating myself but I just want to point out how awful it is that Jet Li has been so underused.

Now there are some redeeming factors that make Lethal Weapon 4 enjoyable. Mel and Danny are solid as ever especially now both are too old for crazy shenanigans. I liked how Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) finally was respected and seen as part of the family. Leo always was quite a tragic character who got bullied by Martin and Roger even when he did his best to accommodate and help them out above and beyond. The credit scene where photos of all the cast and crew members are shown was nice and touching. Definitely fitting as end of the franchise. While I am curious what they are going to do with Lethal Weapon 5 I don't really want that to happen. If both Riggs and Murtaugh were too old then what would that make them now?

Overall a solid part but a whole lot less strong than the previous films in the franchise.

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