LETHAL WEAPON 4 (1998)

lethalw4

Directed By: Richard Donner
Written By: Channing Gibson
Story By: Jonathan Lemkin, Alfred Gough & Miles Millar
Based On Characters Created By: Shane Black
Cinematography: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Editor: Dallas Puett, Kevin Stitt, Eric Strand & Frank J. Urioste 


Cast: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Jet Li, Joe Pesci, Chris Rock, Rene Russo, Kim Chan, Steve Kahan, Darlene Love, Richard Riehle, Mary Ellen Trainor, Ebonie Smith 


With personal crises and age weighing in on them, LAPD officers Riggs and Murtaugh must contend with deadly Chinese triads that are trying to free their former leaders out of prison and onto American soil.
This film feels like the filmmakers are trying too hard to bring in so many gimmicks and elements to feed the audience for the formula to come alive again. Which while the audience loves the characters. The Quality of the story does them a disservice. Where we feel that the film is running on steam with a cut rate storyline that ultimately does have a point, but what you have to go through to get there feels like it’s almost not worth it. As the film offers plenty of nostalgia but proves to be too much of a good thing. If you are exposed to it all the time it becomes tiresome as it becomes the normal. 

Adding Chris rock and Jet lei and returning Joe Pesci to the story gives fresh elements but they feel stuffed in. Even with Chris rock and Joe Pesci working well off of one another and adding a dramatic scene for Pesci towards the end as a heart to heart talk. Though the scenes with a Chris rock usually bring the movie to a halt for him to deliver some comedic lines which is why he is there. He is usually funny but again makes the film seem on pause for a few minutes.

It also reeks of just reaching to stay relevant to show the detectives trying to make it in modern and changing times.

The opening of some kind of armored arsonist feels ridiculous and random. Though slowly selves into an immigrant storyline that feels like a bit of a stretch to deepen the story and lit dramatic politics Into the story. As well as putting faces into the victims for them to fight for. While being able to tie in a foreign superstar as the villain.

It also allows the franchise to acknowledge an aging Riggs isn’t unstoppable as he used to be. As he actually never wins fights here but does defeat Jet Li of course with help where the theme of family comes in again.

The film carries the theme of family that feels somewhat overwrought. Just as having a certain character have a child late in life remains a kind of message of rebirth and tors up some loose ends.

The orthodontist Scene is the comedic highlight of the film. As the humor of the film was more modern for it’s time with racial humor which comes courtesy of Chris rock.

The film isn’t horrible but shows it’s age and has a fine ending but still took some of the shine off the glow and beauty of the original film and the franchise trilogy. Which wasn’t perfect but managed in it’s Time to feel relevant. Though at the time the most Asian actors toy were going to see in am American franchise film. Which throws In Politics that were of the time.

The introduction of Jet li more shows off his fighting skills and how dangerous he is as a villain but more as a weapon to be stopped then as a character. He is his own right hand man and is so fast.

The film seems more like a cash grab, but one for old times sake. As no one really asked for this film or needed it. But it’s nice to have, but not as worthy as it thinks it is. It is a satisfying action comedy film.

As each part since part 2 has only had more of a immigrant story rather then either racists or the problems of weaponry and corruption. Each new film also seems to have an action stunt spectacular and offensive off color jokes. This one is more apparent and focused then in villain so seen more as acceptable as aimed at him. Thou  gh with Mel Gibson usually making these jokes it feels more harsh then it should.

At the time of the film’s release Hollywood seems to be casting more Asians in movies. Usually foreign superstars making their English language debuts lien Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun Fat in movies such as TOMORROW NEVER DIES, THE CORRUPTER, ROMEO MUST DIE and THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS though still ended up mainly playing mild stereotypes, expected roles that had certain dimensions that were rarely romantic or sexual. Though still got a girl in the end and got starring roles and work. Staying around though still found more creativity and success working abroad and in more direct Asian cinema that had helped make them Stars in the first place.

Grade: C

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