why Cranky is in pain
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

amazon.gif
Top Selling DVD     Books

BLU-RAY DVDs:
50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Robocop
Selma
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
Akira
Avatar
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Bambi
A Bug's Life
Cars
Chronicles of Narnia set
Coraline
Ghostbusters
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Ratatouille
Rio
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
combo
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE

OFCS

Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

 DISNEY PIXAR DVDs
Alice in Wonderland
Bambi
Beauty and the Beast
Bolt
Cinderella
Coraline
E.T.
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Pinocchio
Princess Mononoke
Ratatouille
Rio 
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

Lethal Weapon 4

Starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover,
Joe Pesci, Rene Russo and Chris Rock and Jet Li
Screenplay by Channing Gibson
Story by Jonathan Lemkin and Alfred Gough and Miles Millar
Based on characters created by Shane Black
Directed by Richard Donner
Website: www.lw4.com

IN SHORT: Better than 2 and 3 combined.

A quick Cranky history to recap the last 12 years -- Lethal Weapon (1987) was a terrific flick. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989) wasn't as great, but it did better box office which justified making Lethal Weapon 3 (1992) which was worse than the first two but, again, did better box office than the preceding two . . .

Despite the confusion you're no doubt feeling since I raved in the summary and trashed in the first 'graph, as always, Cranky make no comparisons to Source Material. He did enter the movie theater dreading the inevitable and absolutely necessary expository dialog needed to bring those of us unfamiliar with the LW epic up to date. The absolute pain Cranky felt sitting through the horribly scripted opening scenes (you've got a total of four writers on this thing so blame whoever you'd like) was almost equal to the boredom I felt during Armageddon.

Here's the difference between this month's popcorn movies: Armageddon had no ups and downs. It's characters were so poorly developed that you didn't give a damn about 'em unless the manipulative script pushed your buttons. Once Lethal Weapon 4 gets all the necessary crap out of the way and hits its stride, well, this sucker rocks.

The opening scenes of LW4 feel like a series of acting school improvisations, as Detective Sergeants Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) take down a bullet proof, flame throwing terrorist (you've seen this bit better edited in the trailer, which clocks in at a merciful one-fifth the running time, give or take). "Nine months later" Riggs and Murtaugh feed comic relief Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) to the sharks and stumble into another big action sequence, involving the smuggling of Chinese immigrants. The first action scene is a cover for exposition. The second action scene sets up the real story that follows, introducing the Chinese equivalent of organized crime, called Triads, to us Occidental folk. Smuggling leads to dirty dealings at high political levels and then to the ultimate criminal act of this flick -- which I won't reveal. Those familiar with the first three flicks will probably laugh heartily at the multitude of asides, one-liners and other jokes in the First Act dialog, which is stilted and painful. (yada yada yada).

About 20 minutes in, Danny Glover drops a joke that, like the Chinese theme of the movie, I can't remember an hour later, but it's incredibly funny and broke Cranky out of his sequel funk. Then, Triad leader Wah Sing Ku (Jet Li) shows up and things, story-wise, get nasty and violent. If you're like Cranky, you have no idea who Jet Li is, but you're gonna remember him. If you do know who he is, you're gonna be headed back to the box office to watch his stint as LW4's bad guy again and again. Gibson's character refers to Li's character as "Bruce," as in Lee, as in you are not going to believe what this martial artist can do. LW4 goes heavy on the ultraviolence and thankfully light on the villain's explanatory dialog. Li doesn't speak a word of English, which makes his character all the more evil.

Briefly: Riggs' live-in love Lorna Cole (Rene Russo) is very preggers. Riggs does not want to remarry -- rent the first one -- and Lorna isn't pushing . . . you know what's coming, but you'll be very pleasantly surprised, and probably laugh hysterically, when it happens. Murtaugh's daughter Rianne (Traci Wolfe) is also expecting, but she's not married and isn't telling who done it. Chris Rock joins the cast as the way too personally attentive to Murtaugh Detective Lee Butters. The aforementioned Twenty Minutes of Hell reveals all the secrets in the flick and from there on in LW4 is wall to wall bash crash wham joke bam thud pow explosion and great interaction between all actors involved. Wait for a Chris Rock and Joe Pesci head to head on the evils of cellular phones. Marvel at Jet Li's moves.

LW4 may be way too violent for simple date flicks -- Cranky's an old fogey and even he flinched when Jet Li let loose. As action flix go, it's a better ride than anything I've seen with lizards, comets or other space debris in it.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Lethal Weapon 4, he would have paid . . .

$6.50

Lethal Weapon 4 beats its previous sequels to bits. I was going to knock off four bits for the painfully necessary exposition that takes up the first 20 minutes, but that would be beating a dead horse. The Mel Gibson-Jet Li face off more than makes up for it.

For more on triads, head for the local used book store and look for a copy of "Warlords of Crime" by Gerald Posner. Or buy any of his books, and look for my name in the acknowledgments. Odds are you'll find it. Tee hee


buy movie posters

The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is Copyright © 1995  -  2015   by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.