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Laramie Movie Scope:
Lethal Weapon 4

Murtaugh, Riggs and company are back again

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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July 11, 1998 -- The latest big summer movie has hit the screen, the fourth in the "Lethal Weapon" movies, and it is about what you would expect with the same stars and the same director as in the previous three films.

Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, René Russo reprise their roles as Martin Riggs, Roger Murtaugh, Leo Getz and Lorna Cole, respectively. Funnyman Chris Rock, who plays detective Lee Butters and veteran Hong Kong action star Jet Li, who plays the lethal Chinese Triad enforcer Wah Sing Ku, round out the principle cast.

As in previous shows Murtaugh and Riggs are both facing life-changing events in their personal lives as a backdrop to the intense action sequences. Murtaugh is expecting his first grandchild and Riggs is about to become a father. The two stumble on a Chinese immigration scheme that eventually puts them and their family and friends lives in danger.

The action sequences in this film are very good and there are some very funny comedy gags in the movie as well. It delivers the action you expect from this series. Jet Li is a real martial arts wizard and he's a pleasure to watch. But like the previous films there is also a lot of violence and profanity. People are garroted and necks are broken with a sickening crunching sound. It isn't a movie for children.

Although the film does have some inventive action scenes, including a fight inside of a moving mobile home, it does resort to some movie clichés, including the old leave-them-in-a-death-trap-so-they-can-escape cliché. The relationship between Murtaugh and Riggs used to work better when there was some tension there. Now that they are "family" it is a little less interesting.

At the end of the movie the story goes way over the top in the sentimentality department, but I suppose it is only natural since this group (including director Richard Donner) has worked together for so long. They really are kind of like family. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1998 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]