Lethal Weapon 4

1998, Movie, R, 123 mins

Review

LETHAL WEAPON 4
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"I'm too old for this s---," declares loose cannon Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson), and he's not the only one. Cynical and contemptuous of its audience, this lazy sequel oozes an insufferable air of self-satisfaction. The actors choke with laughter at their own cleverness and high-salaried camaraderie, but what about the rest of us -- especially those who can't be bought off with regularly spaced explosions and car crashes? Characters are so minimally drawn that unless you've seen at least one of the previous films, you'll have no idea what they mean to one another or why they behave the way they do. The mix of low laughs and brutal violence is jarring. The plot, concocted by at least five writers, is a slapdash collection of situations and premises: Lorna (Rene Russo) is pregnant with Riggs's baby. Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is suspected of being on the take. Murtaugh's pregnant daughter, Rianne (Traci Wolfe), secretly married to sharp-dressing Detective Butters (Chris Rock), doesn't dare tell Dad because he never wanted her to marry a cop. Riggs, Murtaugh and old pal Leo (Joe Pesci) bumble into the path of a freighter transporting illegal Chinese immigrants, and Murtaugh rescues the frightened Hong family, taking them home like a litter of stray puppies in a cardboard box. It all has something to do with counterfeiting, triads and modern-day slavery. Hong Kong action star Jet Li is reduced to playing an inscrutable Oriental sadist. And for all the Murtaugh-Riggs friendship, casual racism abounds in the form of "flied lice" cracks and "Confucius say"-style insults. Crude homophobia fuels the running gag that Murtaugh thinks Butters is gay, tainting with homosexual innuendo the younger man's efforts to curry favor with his unwitting father-in-law. Are you laughing yet? Someone is -- all the way to the bank. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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