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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Richard Donner
Cast:
Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Rene Russo, Stuart Wilson, Steve Kahan, Darlene Love, Traci Wolfe, Damon Hines
Writing Credits:
Jeffrey Boam (and story), Shane Black (characters), Robert Mark Kamen

Tagline:
The magic is back again!

Synopsis:
Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh pursue an arms dealer who is a former LAPD officer.

Box Office:
Budget
$35 million.
Opening Weekend
$33.243 million on 2510 screens.
Domestic Gross
$144.731 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Castilian Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Brazilian Portuguese Monaural
Czech Dolby Digital 2.0
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
German
Italian
Castilian
Spanish
Brazilian Portuguese
Dutch
Mandarin Chinese
Cantonese Chinese
Korean
Greek
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Russian
Thai
Indonesian
Swedish
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Turkish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
German
Italian
Castilian
Chinese
Dutch
Korean
Spanish
Portuguese
Czech
Brazilian Portuguese
Russian
Thai

Runtime: 118 min.
Price: $79.98
Release Date: 5/22/2012

Available Only as Part of “The Lethal Weapon Collection” Five-Disc Set

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Richard Donner
• Three Additional Scenes
• Music Video
• Trailers


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Lethal Weapon 3: The Lethal Weapon Collection [Blu-Ray] (1992)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 28, 2012)

Since 1989’s Lethal Weapon 2 was an even bigger hit than 1987’s seminal Lethal Weapon, another sequel became inevitable. Thus audiences greeted 1992’s Lethal Weapon 3, another success in the series.

Commercially, that is, as Weapon 3 took in a nice gross. Was it an artistic success as well? That’s an iffier proposition.

After police Sergeants Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) and Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) botch their attempt to defuse a bomb, they get busted down to patrolmen. During a dull day on the beat, they witness an armored car theft and pursue the crooks. Following a wild chase, they arrest Billy Phelps (Mark Pellegrino), and they plan to interrogate him about the armor-piercing “cop killer” bullets found in his gun.

However, Phelps doesn’t stay in custody for long. While Riggs/Murtaugh spar with Internal Affairs Detective Lorna Cole (Rene Russo) about jurisdiction, crooked former cop Jack Travis (Stuart Craig) waltzes into the station and murders Phelps. This sets Riggs/Murtaugh up with Cole to pursue Travis and his illegal arms dealing business. Riggs and Cole also develop a romance, a factor that complicates matters.

When I went into Weapon 3, I’d not seen it in 20 years and I admit viewed it under the assumption that it would demonstrate the series’ continued decline. Weapon 2 showed a definite step down after the first flick, and Weapon 4 proved to be the nadir of the franchise. Logically, Weapon 3 should’ve displayed another drop as the step between Weapon 2 and Weapon 4, right?

Nope. While it’s not a great – or even especially good - film, Weapon 3 manages to surpass its immediate predecessor. Its greater emphasis on action hints at the drop-off that would come with Weapon 4 six years later, but the flick managed to become reasonably entertaining in its own right.

One big reason I thought Weapon 3 topped Weapon 2 revolved around its villain. Weapon 2 suffered from Die Hard 2 syndrome, as it lacked a particularly interesting baddie; it was awfully hard to invest in jowly old Joss Ackland as the object of our collective hate.

On the other hand, Craig’s Travis proves to be much more hissable. He’s as cold-blooded as they come and shows the cruelty one expects from a big-time movie baddie. The flick doesn’t use him as much as it should, so he’s still not a classic big-screen antagonist, but at least he’s substantially more interesting than Weapon 2’s Arjen Rudd.

In addition, the introduction of Russo’s Lorna Cole character adds spark to the proceedings. Originally a model, Russo only appeared in four films prior to Weapon 3, and it acted as her breakout. Yeah, Major League was a hit, but Russo didn’t enjoy a “star turn” there, while Weapon 3 gave her real room to sparkle. She creates a totally plausible – and totally enjoyable – take on the butt-kicking tough girl, and she helps make the film work better than it probably should.

On the negative side, like I mentioned, the villain really does do less than I’d like, and director Richard Donner can’t resist the temptation to editorialize. He always throws his social viewpoint into his movies, and he always does so in a calculated, obvious way. Weapon 2 was essentially Apartheid Bad!, and Weapon 3 goes out of its way to confront gangs and black-on-black crime.

Of course, I don’t object to Donner’s POV, and I doubt anyone else would, either – which is the problem. Donner tends to take on pretty safe subjects, and he presents them in such a schoolmarm manner that the social commentary drags down the films. Donner shoehorns in his opinions in a way that actively hurts his flicks.

Weapon 3 also wastes Joe Pesci. His turn as crooked accountant Leo Getz became a highlight of Weapon 2, but here he feels like a gratuitous presence. He’s only in Weapon 3 because he was an audience favorite three years earlier, so the filmmakers cram him into this sequel for no logical reason. Pesci doesn’t hurt the flick but he doesn’t fit it well, either.

All of these factors ensure that Weapon 3 is a flawed film, and it’s probably the most brainless of the first three; it’s more of a generic “blow-‘em-up” than its predecessors. That said, it delivers a more interesting plot and villain than Weapon 2, so at least it shows a step up in quality. It’s a watchable – if erratic – action movie.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C

Lethal Weapon 3 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Overall, this was an appealing transfer.

Only a few issues affected sharpness, as I saw a smidgen of softness in some wide shots. However, the majority of the movie avoided these concerns and delivered a concise, distinctive presentation. No problems with shimmering or jaggies materialized, and the image appeared to lack edge haloes or noise reduction. It came across as film-like and lacked any signs of print flaws as well.

Colors looked solid. Weapon 3 provided a natural palette that showed good range and clarity, so expect a lot of appealing hues. Blacks were dark and dense, and low-light shots seemed clear and well-developed. The minor softness dropped the flick below “A” level, but I thought it was a pretty strong image as a whole.

Though the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Weapon 3 held up fairly well after 20 years, it did come with some issues. For the most part, the movie featured a good soundfield. Music showed nice stereo imaging, and effects spread around the spectrum well. Of course, the action scenes featured the best use of the various channels, and they mixed together to create a pretty active and engaging setting. The only negative stemmed from placement in the front, as elements could be a little too speaker-specific. Still, the soundscape worked fine as a whole.

Audio quality was also a little erratic but usually good. Most of the time, speech was acceptably natural, though some brittleness crept in at times. Effects also could be a little rough on occasion, but most of those elements seemed full and accurate. Music fared well, as the score was distinctive and impressive. The smattering of concerns knocked my grade down to a “B”, but this remained a generally strong mix.

Like the first two movies, Weapon 3 offers an audio commentary from director Richard Donner. Like the first two movies, he sits with collaborator Derek Hoffman – named for the first time! – and an off-mic interviewer. Donner chats about action, stunts and effects, some character/story topics, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, and a few other areas.

Since the first two commentaries were slow and spotty, I had no reason to believe this one would be any better. And I was right to maintain that belief, as the Weapon 3 track is a near carbon copy of the first two. Lots of dead air occurs, and much of the material on display seems pretty banal.

That said, this track is probably the most informative of the first three, as Donner occasionally manages to provide decent notes. However, it’s also the commentary that shows Donner’s memory flaws the most prominently. He often states that he doesn’t remember aspects of the shoot. Heck, he can’t even recall in what decade he shot Weapon 3; he starts to say he made it in the 60s but corrects himself to say “70s”. He and Hoffman also argue about the movie’s end credits song, as Donner doesn’t remember/refuses to admit it’s from Elton John. The incredible inconsistency of Donner’s memory undermines the whole thing, honestly, as it’s hard to know how much of his comments one can trust.

(As an aside, I kind of hoped that Donner and/or Hoffman would mention how many Weapon 3 segments clearly borrowed from Jaws. There’s the famous “comparing wound foreplay” scene that comes straight from the Quint/Hooper competition on the Orca, and I also strongly suspect the sequence in which the mother of the dead kid slaps Murtaugh at the funeral borrows from the bit between Chief Brody and Mrs. Kintner. Since Donner can’t even remember the name of the movie’s screenwriter, it shouldn’t come as a shock that he doesn’t touch on this subject, but it would’ve been interesting to hear someone acknowledge the Jaws allusions.)

Three Additional Scenes go for three minutes, 43 seconds. We get “Did You Forget Something?” (0:51), “Doggie Heaven” (1:56) and “Interrogation” (0:55). In “Forget”, Murtaugh’s wife reminds him to wear his bulletproof vest, while “Heaven” shows a little banter between Riggs and a contractor. Finally, “Interrogation” demonstrates the threatening manner Murtaugh and the others coax information out of a witness. “Interrogation” is decent – though over the top – and might’ve worked in the final film, but the other two seem forgettable.

In addition to both teaser and theatrical trailers, we get a music video for “It’s Probably Me” by Sting and Eric Clapton. The song is fairly forgettable, and the video’s a stinker. It mixes movie shots – some from prior Weapon flicks – with dull shots of Sting, Clapton and others in the studio. It’s a cheap excuse for a video.

Lethal Weapon 3 delivers an action flick inferior to the original but better than the initial sequel. It’s an up and down experience with enough thrills to make it watchable; it just doesn’t seem consistent enough to soar. The Blu-ray offers very good picture, reasonably positive audio and supplements led by yet another flawed commentary. Despite that, this is the second best Lethal Weapon flick and a pretty nice Blu-ray.

Note that as of May 2012, this version of the film is current available only as part of the five-disc “Lethal Weapon Collection”. It includes all four of the flicks in the franchise and presents unique Blu-rays; the box does not simply repackage the versions already available individually. It also features a fifth platter with bonus materials.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.8 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main