Lethal Weapon 4 has all of the elements we have come to expect from the series: big car chases and explosions, eccentric characters and a typical cop movie plot. It just doesn’t have them in the right proportion.
Danny Glover and Mel Gibson are back as Murtaugh and Riggs, two Los Angeles police detectives who have caused so much destruction that the department has lost its insurance carrier. This time they discover illegal aliens being smuggled from China, which leads them to a counterfeiting operation being run by a very bad man (Hong Kong martial arts star Jet Li).
Thrown into this mix is pesky con man turned private detective Leo (Joe Pesci); Lorna (Renee Russo), Riggs’ girlfriend from the previous movie, who is about nine months pregnant; and Detective Butters (Chris Rock), who is secretly married to Murtaugh’s daughter (who, incidentally, is also about nine months pregnant).
The movie spends so much time on the doings of these characters that the bad guys almost get lost in the shuffle. Although the characters have made the Lethal Weapon movies palatable for me, this one would have been better if it had shed a few subplots.
That isn’t to say that the movie doesn’t have its entertaining moments. The big car chase on the freeway involving a mobile home will satisfy action fans. Also Jet Li is a great movie bad guy. I was disappointed to see him die at the end; he would have made a good recurring villain.
Although I didn’t feel that Lethal Weapon 4 was a complete waste of time and money (at a matinee price), I could only recommend this for serious fans of the series.