Lethal Weapon 4: 20 Years Later

Plot: Detective Riggs (Mel Gibson) tries to settle down with his pregnant girlfriend, Lorna (Rene Russo), while his partner, Murtaugh (Danny Glover), comes to grips with the marriage of his pregnant daughter, Rianne (Traci Wolfe), to fellow cop Butters (Chris Rock). But they find themselves and their families targeted by Chinese mobsters, led by Wah Sing Ku (Jet Li). Riggs, Murtaugh, Butters and private eye Getz (Joe Pesci) decide to go on the offensive before the gangsters get to their loved ones.

I can’t believe Lethal Weapon 4 is 20 years old today; I remember seeing it in the cinema and absolutely loving it. Danny Glover, Mel Gibson and Jet Li? Sold! It didn’t get amazing reviews at the time sitting at 52% on the Tomato-meter. A critic even complained that it was “too violent”. Pussy… no such thing.

Lethal Weapon 4 grabbed me from the start with it’s awesome opening scene featuring a bad guy with a flamethrower (there aren’t enough flamethrowers in today’s movies FYI) and it just got better from there.

Jet Li was one of the best additions to the to the franchise; he didn’t say much but didn’t need to. He could just stand stare and be quietly menacing while rapidly beating the crap out of anyone who got in his way. I still find it hard to believe that Riggs and Murtaugh could have provided even a small threat to him in that final battle but it is suitably satisfying and for me it was the perfect ending to the series. I know there is talk of a 5th movie but personally I would just leave it.

Gibson and Glover remained one of the best on-screen duos with their bickering and buddy banter (try saying that several times while drunk) but sadly Leo Getz survived and he was always the weakest aspect of the series. He is redeemed in this entry however, by his surprisingly heart warming story about his pet frog towards the end which was one of the most moving scenes of the entire franchise. Chris Rock was kind of annoying at times but I found him pretty funny for the most part and his scenes with Getz are entertaining.

I loved Rene Russo who returns as Lorna Cole and is the perfect foil for Riggs; she is strong but likeable and believable. Even when heavily pregnant she can still kick ass too practically in that one scene in the house… before getting knocked out.

Despite the advancing years of the cast the action scenes still hold up with a car chase featuring Riggs hanging off the back of a vehicle on a highway a particular highlight.

After 20 years Lethal Weapon 4 is as entertaining as ever and it’s a franchise that doesn’t have a weak entry as far as I’m concerned; which is your favourite entry of the series?