The one thing I hate when it comes to my favorite franchises released very early on is that they get milked more often than they should. It’s annoying to know that a franchise you love dearly is turned into a cash cow for a studio. There are pointless sequels and prequels, which don’t really serve much of a purpose other than to make money off of the product’s name.
Films such as The Terminator franchise, Ghostbusters, Charlie’s Angels, The Mummy, Conan The Barbarian all saw horrible sequels, prequels, and remakes that tainted their legacy. This is what happened with Lethal Weapon when the fourth installation in the franchise came out. It is one of the earliest examples of this trend, and one of the worst ones as well. It’s obviously one of the saddest and most pathetic excuses for keeping our franchise running and the cash flow stable. Though in a sense, it is also one of the worst returns to a franchise that should never have been made.
How to Stream or Download Lethal Weapon 4
To stream or to download Lethal Weapon 4, click on the Download button at the end of the review. Then choose the digital store you prefer. Check out also our review of Lethal Weapon, its sequel, and the third part.
The Movie Review
Lethal Weapon 4 is what I like to call an ‘extensive’ sequel. This means that the film does a lot of the things that previous installations did, but brings in elements that extend it further. The film follows the story of our favorite Los Angeles Police Department Officers who have both recently been promoted to the rank of Captain.
Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh both must band together as a dangerous Chinese crime lord intends to free his brother from jail. The story follows Riggs and Murtaugh as they get the team together, along with Leo Getz and Lorna Cole, they also have rookie detective Lee Butters and Wah Sing Ku, a high-level triad negotiator to get the job done.
Richard Donner’s last Lethal Weapon film before he passed away is a bit of a misled endeavor. It’s a film that doesn’t really understand the fundamental concept of Lethal Weapon and tries to evolve into something more full of melodrama and slice of life issues. In doing so, it devolves from the franchise’s long-standing action and cop thriller elements that made it so great.
There is a lot of that still present here, yet the relationships such as between Lee Butters and Murtaugh’s daughter Rianne drain a lot of the screen time and severely mess up the pacing of the film.
A lot of the interactions between these characters simply don’t add anything to the overall plot of the film, and just deviate attention from the matter at hand. However, one thing they were supposed to do was to squeeze out some solid performances from the cast.
That is one of the more disappointing aspects of the film because none of the performances in the film feel genuine at all. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover aside, everyone acted as if this was just another paycheck for them, and the director didn’t really force any good performances out of them either. Joe Pesci as Leo Getz was still a highlight though, and he lit up every scene he was in.
The action in this film is severely weak compared to the rest, though it does have some decent sequences every once in a while. In particular, the final fight that had Ku fighting both Murtaugh and Riggs at the same time. It did feel a bit awkward seeing Danny Glover being forced to do action at that age, though he still did a decent job in the few scenes in which his stunt double wasn’t there taking the punches for him.
The cinematography is much weaker though, and none of the shots are memorable from the film in all honesty. It doesn’t really have that oomph to the punches as the previous films did, and it all feels much floated in general.
The Bottom Line
Lethal Weapon 4 was somewhat the last straw in this franchise’s existence. It’s where this franchise ended forever and had no chance of coming back. In a way, Lethal Weapon 3 should have been that ending, as Murtaugh was supposed to retire by the end of it.
As an added consequence, the film managed to miss out on potentially one of the best endings to a trilogy, and instead saw a lackluster return which just didn’t resonate with me, or the audience.