|Lethal Weapon 4|
|Directed by||Richard Donner|
|Produced by||Joel Silver|
|Starring|| Mel Gibson|
|Preceded by||Lethal Weapon 3|
|Followed by||End of series|
Lethal Weapon 4 is the fourth film directed by Richard Donner and starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Rene Russo, Chris Rock and Jet Li. It is the last instalment in the Lethal Weapon Series.
In this installment of the Lethal Weapon series, Lorna Cole is pregnant with Martin Riggs' baby; they are not married but both are thinking about it and have misgivings and fears. Murtaugh's daughter Rianne Butters is also pregnant and has secretly married Lee Butters, a young cop who works at the same precinct as Murtaugh and Riggs, though she cannot tell her father because he doesn't want her to date cops.
The opening scene is an unrelated sequence in which Riggs and Murtaugh, two LAPD sergeants, confront a lunatic wearing a flame-retardant armored suit and wielding an automatic firearm and a flamethrower. The unidentified man is destroying cars and shops along a city street. Aside from some comedic value and a reminder to the audience of Riggs marksmanship skills, the scene mainly serves to show the two partners informing each other of Lorna's and Rianne's pregnancies. After this scene, a title card shifts the story to "almost nine months later."
The rest of the movie revolves around Riggs, Murtaugh, and Butters' investigation of a Chinese immigrant smuggling ring, which begins after a vessel is captured with a cargo hold of slave labor. That night, Murtaugh, Riggs, and Leo Getz (Pesci)- the latter now a private detective - find a small dinghy alongside with an entire Chinese family, whom he "rescues" and provides shelter for at his house, claiming to be "freeing slaves." Meanwhile, Riggs and Murtaugh are being informed by Captain Murphy that the damage they've caused, the department lost it's insurance and aren't able to get a new, and since firing them isn't really an option for them, they're being promoted to Captain.
Information about a crime boss known as Uncle Benny Chan (Kim Chan) then leads them to Chinatown, where they are introduced to their new arch-nemesis, a high-ranking Triad negotiator named Wah Sing Ku (played by Jet Li). Wah Sing Ku is organizing the release from prison of four Triad overlords, called the Four Fathers. They are being held by a corrupt Chinese general who demands a huge payoff in exchange for their freedom, but Uncle Benny and Wah Sing Ku plan to give him only counterfeit cash. The captive artist working on the printing plates for the scam is the elder uncle to Hong, the father of the Chinese family Murtaugh has rescued.
Riggs and Murtaugh decide to hire Leo to follow Uncle Benny around, but the Triad feels they are getting too close and decides to strike back. After Hong contacts his uncle, Riggs and Murtaugh come home to find Wah Sing Ku there with the other Triad gang members holding Murtaugh's family hostage; Hong and his family were already taken away. After a brief skirmish (where Wah Sing Ku dismantles Riggs' gun with a flick of his wrist in one deft move), the entire family is tied up and the house is set on fire with everyone inside, including both pregnant women. Ping, the youngest of the Hong children, comes out from hiding safely and frees all of them just in time to break out through the living room window.
Riggs takes a radio from Lorna's car, and the pair set off with Rianne's car in hot pursuit of two of the Triad men. Reaching them on the freeway, Riggs lets Murtaugh take over driving and climbs out of the car and leaps over to a mobile home. He pulls one of the thugs through the car window into it, demanding to know where the Hongs are. After engaging in a fight they crash onto the road; Riggs, sitting on a table, holds onto the trailer by the plastic covering they fell through, and the Triad man is run over by a bus. His partner accelerates and attempts to kill Riggs, who is forced to throw one of the table legs at the assailant. Murtaugh rams into the Triad car and, hearing sirens, the thug makes an escape. Riggs climbs back beside Murtaugh, and they chase the thug, trying to find answers. However, they accidentally fly off a ramp into a building, driving through one of the floors and out back onto the road. Then the last Triad man they know of is killed by a truck.
Leo alerts them that he had tracked down Uncle Benny at his dentist, and while using Leo as a distraction to keep the dentist busy, Riggs, Murtaugh, and Butters use laughing gas to extract information from him. Here, Murtaugh inadvertently learns that Butters is married to his daughter and that he is the father of her baby, but puts it aside until later. Uncle Benny mentions the Four Fathers, which the detectives mis-hear as "forefathers"; another detective, Detective Ng, who knows about Chinese society corrects them on this point and helps them piece the entire operation together. Benny is later strangled to death by Wah Sing Ku for his indiscretion, and Hong is killed as an example to get his uncle to cooperate. Even when the printing plates are finished, the uncle is killed as well for no information to given to the cops about what went on at the hideout.
Arriving at the meeting between Wah Sing Ku and the corrupt general, Riggs, Murtagh, Butters and several other detectives expose the money that is being used to buy the Four Fathers' release as counterfeit; as a result, the general personally executes three of the Four Fathers. Wah Sing Ku shoots and kills the general, and a gunfight breaks out between the cops, the Triad men, and the general's private army in the foreign trade zone down by the docks. During the fight, one of the Four Fathers and older brother to Wah Sing Ku is killed by Murtaugh, and Butters is injured while protecting Murtaugh. The climactic scene takes place on a pier where Riggs and Murtaugh, both unarmed, take on Wah Sing Ku, who is enraged by the death of his brother. Eventually, Murtaugh impales Ku with a piece of metal stick. Murtaugh is knocked out unconscious, and Riggs and Ku fall into the water as the concrete pier begins to collapse. Ku, after getting brutally beaten as well as impaled, is finally killed by a desperate Riggs with a submerged AK-47 nearby. Riggs swims up to the surface, but becomes trapped underwater again, under a part of the broken pier. Murtaugh comes to, realizes Riggs is in the water and dives in to pull the broken part of the pier on him and sets him free him.
The next scene shows Riggs at his deceased wife Victoria Riggs' grave telling her he hasn't visited her in a while (evident from a weed growing over the grave), and confesses to her of his love for Lorna. He asks her help and support in marrying Lorna as he tells her she would've wanted him to be happy and be married again and make Lorna happy as he made her happy when they were married. He then suddenly draws his gun when he hears a nearby footsteps in the cemetery, which turned out to be Leo Getz practicing his PI techniques. Leo tells Riggs that he and Murtaugh are the only friends he's ever had aside from his childhood pet frog. Riggs' pager reveals indicating that it's a message from Lorna that she's about to have the baby and they rush to the hospital. Before leaving the grave, he tells her he'll always have the ring she gave him, and always have her in his heart forever and ever.
The movie ends with Lorna and Martin's last-ditch marriage by a minister, Rabbi Gelb, in the maternity ward, and Roger accepting Lee and Rianne's marriage. Two babies are born to Rianne and Lorna, as Martin Riggs is finally settling down. Captain Ed Murphy gives them their former positions as sergeants back since the city is self-insured, and brings gifts for the newborn babies. The Hong family is granted asylum. Everyone in the maternity ward is all getting their picture taken by the doctor. The end credits feature the song "Why Can't We Be Friends?" by War along with a collage of screen shots and snapshots taken during production from all four movies in the series.
There has been talk of a fifth Lethal Weapon film, although neither Mel Gibson nor Danny Glover have expressed interest. In 2007, Moviehole.net received word from sources that Warner Bros. are in the early stages of trying to relaunch the Lethal Weapon series sometime in 2009 or later. A spec script treatment has been written by Shane Black, leading to rumors that the sequel was on fast track by Warner Bros. with Black in the director's chair. Actor Columbus Short said he was being considered for the role of Murtaugh's son. Director Richard Donner is not involved with these plans, but he has his own ideas for a Lethal Weapon 5. According to the Los Angeles Times, Gibson has refused to reprise his role as Martin Riggs for the fifth time, which Donner thinks is out of personal loyalty because Donner is not involved. Joel Silver later confirmed Gibson’s lack of interest in the project. "We talked about it, but it was something that Mel didn't want to do now," he explained. "It doesn't mean that he doesn't want to do it ever, but as of right now, he doesn't." On the Australian website What's Playing, an insider said, "They’re talking again. Mel probably needs Joel, not to mention Lethal Weapon now more than ever, so I wouldn’t at all be surprised if it comes off this time. And it could be a good move, that’s a mighty big brand name – it probably would help Gibson, professionally-speaking.”