Lethal Weapon 4

1998, Action, 2h 7m

68 Reviews 250,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Jet Li's arrival breathes fresh life into a tired franchise formula -- but not enough to put Lethal Weapon 4 on equal footing with its predecessors. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

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.

Cast & Crew

Mel Gibson
Martin Riggs
Danny Glover
Roger Murtaugh
Joe Pesci
Leo Getz
Rene Russo
Lorna Cole
Chris Rock
Detective Lee Butters
Jet Li
Wah Sing Ku
Steve Kahan
Captain Ed Murphy
Kim Chan
Benny 'Uncle Benny' Chan
Darlene Love
Trish Murtaugh
Traci Wolfe
Rianne Murtaugh Butters
Eddy Ko
Hong (Chinese refugee)
Steve Perry
Executive Producer
Jim Van Wyck
Executive Producer
Eric Clapton
Original Music
Michael Kamen
Original Music
Marcus Miller
Original Music
David Sanborn
Original Music
Michael Anthony
Original Music
Alex Van Halen
Original Music
Eddie Van Halen
Original Music
Andrzej Bartkowiak
Cinematographer
Dallas Puett
Film Editor
Kevin Stitt
Film Editor
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News & Interviews for Lethal Weapon 4

Critic Reviews for Lethal Weapon 4

All Critics (68) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (32)

Audience Reviews for Lethal Weapon 4

  • Dec 23, 2017
    There was a time when this franchise was thought to be finished. There was a neat little trilogy which ended quite sufficiently story wise. The main two actors were getting on in years, there seemed to be no real reason to go back to this well. Funny, we find ourselves in that very spot yet again, apparently. So back in 1997 Warner Bros had a bad summer with its crop of releases. The studio needed a big hit and fast, and that safe bet was the [i]Lethal Weapon[/i] franchise. Alas things did not go overly smoothly with an unfinished script and short production time. The actual script was never completely locked down and changed throughout the production. Regular character Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) was brought back after initially being kicked out, whilst new character Butters (Chris Rock) was also introduced late in the game (being gay originally). Its worth pointing out that the movies ending had also not been written when the cameras started rolling for the first time. So this time the plot moves away from drug smuggling and into people smuggling. The lads stumble across a Chinese immigrant smuggling ring being run by some Triads. These bad guys are forcing one specific Chinese man (who clearly has some special skills) to engrave plates to create counterfeit Chinese money. In exchange for this the Triads are bringing his family to the US. Murtaugh and Riggs find themselves helping this specific family whilst trying to crack the illegal smuggling ring. So essentially its the same thing all over again, just swap out drug shipments for people shipments. I think the main issue with this movie is the fact it lacks action, for an action movie. There is a huge focus on the characters and their family lives here, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does get a tad dull. You don't really feel like you're watching an action movie, more like a TV comedy series. Overall I felt the movie struggled to keep things interesting. That being said, this movie did take a surprising turn back towards the original in terms of being somewhat darker, both content wise and visually. Both Riggs and Murtaugh are getting way too old for this shit. Riggs spends most of his time complaining about how old he's getting, and we are indeed shown how old he's getting in a few scenes. Where as Murtaugh is quite frankly past it, you're left wondering how this guy is still working on the force...in the field! The duo no longer come across like a mismatched pair of cops, but more like a mismatched pair of old fogies having a fun day out from their retirement home. Lorna Cole (Rene Russo) is also back but has now been reduced to a background character that is pregnant. She is no longer kicking ass with a smug grin on her face, oh no. Now she's lurching around slowly, heavily pregnant and stuffing her face with all manner of foods (because pregnancy equals cheap food gags). Whilst on one hand this angle is further expanding the story for both her and Riggs, it does kinda spoil her character. I really don't think we needed to see that, surely they could have set the movie after she had the baby? As said Leo is back too and just as daft as ever. This time Leo has become a private eye so now he has a badge and can kinda get in on the action legally. Again its the same scenario with Leo Getz, he's a funny character but way way too stupid for this type of flick. Well that's what I would be saying but we all know this franchise turned into a slapstick comedy affair so technically he fits in fine. Its just a shame that they had to fall back on old jokes (a common problem with sequels). Did we really need another 'they fuck you at the drive-thru' gag? Sure its amusing but you mean to tell me they couldn't think of anything new? New character Detective Lee Butters (stupid name) is secretly getting married to Murtaugh's daughter (who is also pregnant) which is one comedy aspect to his characters story. The other being the new comedy double act that arises between him and Leo. This starts up by Leo inadvertently mistaking Butters for a perp and Butters taking offense, making it racial etc...From there on Leo thinks Butters is too touchy and Butters is always ragging on him. This was a neat little set up but its tainted because you know perfectly well its only in the movie to serve Chris Rock's stand-up routines. At the time Rock was the new comedic sensation in the USA and clearly that got him this gig. Bottom line, Rock was badly miscast and stuck out like a sore thumb. Every time he spoke it just felt like part of his stand-up act, like the movie pauses just so he can have his little spot. Again the villains in a Lethal Weapon movie aren't all that intimidating or threatening. The Chinese bad guys here were generally faceless (as usual) except for Uncle Benny (Kim Chan) who was too old frankly. The actor playing him really didn't come across as if he could actually act, whilst his character just doesn't do anything (probably because he looked around 90 years old. Think old man Lo Pan in 'Big Trouble in Little China'). Then you had Jet Li in his first American movie, and first role as a bad guy. Now where as Li is perfectly fine as the mysterious silent bad guy, he's clearly too over-powered for the movies protagonists. Yet at the same time he's still not that overly intimidating, he's more like a deadly monk. He didn't even dress like a baddie. And herein lies another issue with this movie, the main bad guy is just too powerful. During the movie we are shown how strong, agile and skilled Li's character is. Yet in the finale battle between Riggs, Murtaugh and Wah Sing Ku, the good guys win. Its a typical problem with many similar movies. The highly skilled martial artist bad guy can defeat just about anyone effortlessly, but can't beat the aging good guys. This literally makes a mockery of the entire movie really. Not to mention the quite ridiculous moment when Murtaugh saves Riggs from drowning in the final showdown. Talk about movie magic and suspension of disbelief. In the end this late entry in the franchise felt completely unnecessary. Merely milking the last few drops out of the franchise whilst they still could; whilst the actors were still just about able to pull it off. Did it work? Was it unnecessary? Well yes and no. Overall the movie definitely looks better, moodier, and felt a bit darker/edgier in tone. It certainly feels more like the franchise of old rather than the cartoonish third sequel. But that said it simply cannot escape the feeling of being somewhat unmerited because they kinda tied everything up OK in said third movie. All the soppy family guff we get at the very end was basically not needed, much like this movie truth be told. But surprisingly its actually better than the third movie.
    Phil H Super Reviewer
  • Mar 13, 2016
    Stands tall with rest of series, I can understand why fans might not appreciate it more as it feels very different to the rest maybe it tries too hard in changing with the times and adding more humour than usual, A quite bigger cast than the rest and all were good fun, Some great fast paced action and just as good as they have ever been if you can accept that they tried to change the film to fit the times.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Nov 25, 2015
    Disclaimer: The following review is for "Lethal Weapon 4: Director's Cut" although throughout the review it will simply be referred to as Disclaimer: The following review is for "Lethal Weapon 4". "Lethal Weapon 4" is an okay action film. The acting in "Lethal Weapon 4" is good the best acting comes from "Mel Gibson" "Joe Pesci". The plot to this movie is alright, it's not a very entertaining throughout the movie. The action scenes in this movie are dull and boring. The music in this film is not too bad but not as good as the previous entries. I give "Lethal Weapon 4" a 5.5/10.
    Steve G Super Reviewer
  • Nov 18, 2013
    I suppose that if a series is meant to decrease in quality and be somewhat wasted because the sequels keep getting more and more different from what the original film intended to be, the only guy that has the right to do so is the original director himself. So, in a way, I don't blame anybody beyond Donner because of the decline in quality and manliness. And just like that, we see how a suicidal and dangerously psychotic and crazy lonely cop with suicidal tendencies and a frustrated old family man close to retirement age that claims that he is "too old for this shit" suddenly become parodies of themselves without caring about it. We are so distant from the original characters and from the unforgiving cold-blooded action of 10 years ago that we are left scratching our heads watching the ending, the Hollywood-esque humor and the happy family picture that concludes the film and that has Donner saying: "That's it, I'm done. If any sequel comes out after this, it won't be because of me". There was a menace of a Lethal Weapon 5 back in 2010 that was supposed to be released in 2012. God exists, because that never happened. The way this one ended was not supposed to have a continuation. Thank God the series kept an R-rating status until the end. At least Cry Yuen and Jet Li gave a pleasant Chinese flavor to this mess. 56/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer

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