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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Richard Donner
Cast:
Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Rene Russo, Chris Rock, Jet Li
Writing Credits:
Shane Black, Jonathan Lemkin, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Channing Gibson

Tagline:
The Gang's All Here.

Synopsis:
Mel Gibson and Danny Glover return as buddy cops Riggs and Murtaugh, with Joe Pesci riding comedy shotgun as chatterbox Leo. Murtaugh is still the family man. Riggs is still the gonzo loose cannon and - what's this? - family man. His will he/won't he marriage to Cole (Rene Russo) is one of the new wrinkles in this powerhouse crowd-pleaser that also stars comedy favorite Chris Rock and international action star Jet Li. Wedding bells, ammo shells, explosive laughter - this one's fully loaded!

Box Office:
Budget
$140 million.
Opening Weekend
$34.048 million on 3117 screens.
Domestic Gross
$129.734 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 Stereo 2.0
Portuguese Dolby Stereo 2.0
Czech Dolby Stereo 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: 127 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 and Co-Producers J. Mills Goodloe and Geoff Johns
• “Pure Lethal!” Documentary
• Theatrical Trailer


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Lethal Weapon 4: The Lethal Weapon Collection [Blu-Ray] (1998)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 30, 2012)

1998’s Lethal Weapon 4 was made on a ridiculously accelerated schedule and it showed. The movie offers a rough hodge-podge of elements that never comes together, and the film provides nothing but a sad shadow of the original.

Over the first three flicks, the series built up a roster of running characters, but the main focus remained cops Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover). Early in the film, they receive promotions to captain, but they’re still involved in the muck of fighting crime. On a casual fishing trip with obnoxious motor-mouthed buddy Leo Getz (Joe Pesci), the trio encounters a problem with a ship that eventually goes boom. The Asian freighter smuggled in some illegal aliens, and Murtaugh decides to help them to safety.

From there, Murtaugh and Riggs pursue a crime ring that deals with Asian circles. They try to aid the illegal immigrants as the track the problems to their source. In addition, a lot of personal topics complicate matters, as some pregnancies and other issues appear.

When I first saw Lethal 4 in 1998, I’d never heard of Jet Li, and his appearance left a positive impact on me. Actually, this flick remains the only time I’ve enjoyed his work; I’ve seen a few of his starring efforts and I found all of them to be mediocre at best. The man can’t act – at least not in English – but he seemed perfectly cast within this small but powerful role. His fluid and quick style of martial arts added a real sense of flair to the movie. Granted, this seems less special now that so many flicks show that Hong Kong influence – it appeared much more original back in 1998 – but Li still brought a nice sense of action and pizzazz to the movie.

Unfortunately, the rest of the film totally fell flat. Lethal 4 showed the cast and crew on autopilot. All the basic elements appeared, but they seemed tired and weak. For example, Riggs still spouted all of his one-liners, but these showed no signs of inspiration of humor. Instead, they just got irritating quickly.

Essentially, Lethal Weapon 4 was nothing more than a poor compilation of crummy jokes and flat action sequences. Li brought periodic signs of life to the film, but those occurred too infrequently to make it palatable. Lethal 4 offered very little entertainment and seemed largely like a waste of time.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Lethal Weapon 4 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The most recent Weapon flick brought us the strongest transfer of the four.

Sharpness appeared solid. The movie consistently came across as distinct and accurate. I saw virtually no signs of softness or fuzziness, as the film always remained crisp and well defined. Jagged edges and shimmering caused no concerns, and edge haloes were absent. No print flaws cropped up in this clean presentation.

Colors looked vivid and bright. The movie showed a somewhat cool palette at times, but the Blu-ray replicated the tones with good vibrancy and accuracy. The hues were consistently strong, and even the occasional red light appeared clear and appropriately saturated. Black levels seemed deep and rich, while shadow detail looked accurately heavy without any excessive opacity. Across the board, this was a satisfying image.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Lethal Weapon 4 offered a good but occasionally flawed experience. The soundfield itself seemed beyond reproach, as all five channels provided a lot of information through most of the movie. Music showed good stereo presence and separation, while effects blasted from all around us much of the time. The movie launched with a literally explosive action sequence via the psycho shooter, and it kept up that level of activity from start to (almost) finish.

The front channels showed solid breadth and movement, while the surrounds kicked in a wealth of unique information that blended cleanly with the forward spectrum. I expected a terrific soundfield from the film, and it didn’t disappoint.

However, audio quality seemed a little lackluster for a movie of this vintage. Dialogue always remained intelligible, but I thought the lines came across as somewhat flat and edgy on occasion. That wasn’t a major concern, but I felt speech lacked the natural qualities I expected.

Loud effects showed good clarity and accuracy for the most part, though I heard a minor amount of high-end shrillness. Bass demonstrated good power and depth for explosions and other elements of that sort. However, mid-range audio seemed a little bland and dull; the track too strongly favored the high and low realms without enough emphasis on the middle.

Music showed similar concerns. Overall, the score sounded reasonably clean and distinct, but it seemed like an “all or nothing” mix; highs seemed clear and bass was vivid, but the middle range came across less effectively. Some of this may be nit-picking on my part, as Lethal Weapon 4 generally worked well as an auditory experience, but I felt it demonstrated too many small flaws to merit anything above a “B+”.

Lethal Weapon 4 packs a few extras. First we find an audio commentary from director Richard Donner plus co-producers J. Mills Goodloe and Geoff Johns. They sit together for this running, screen-specific piece. At the start, Donner states that the others do all the talking, whereas in truth, he heavily dominates the program. Goodloe and Johns chime in occasionally, but Donner stars and provides an exceedingly chatty presence.

This commentary earned a lot of detractors over the years, primarily because Donner often veers off onto topics that don’t relate to Lethal Weapon 4. At the start, he discusses some of the film’s effects, and he also covers its rushed production schedule and development.

After that, the focus becomes more scattered. For example, Donner might start to relate to something that deals with Lethal 4 but then moves into a story that connects to another part of his career. Since Lethal 4 stinks, I felt more than happy to hear about Donner’s more successful flicks. Overall, he provided a lot of fun and lively remarks, and he gave us a lot of good information about his past. The track dragged at times, but I generally found this to be a witty and engaging commentary.

As an aside, it was a bit of a shock to listen to this commentary after the sluggish tracks for the first three. Donner recorded the Weapon 4 piece back in 1998 but did the discussions of the prior three flicks in 2011 or 2012. Donner shows a radical drop in energy over that span; he was so disengaged and logy in the modern commentaries that it became a real surprise to hear how vital he appeared here.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a decent documentary called Pure Lethal. Hosted by Danny Glover, “Pure Lethal” actually isn’t a true documentary. Instead, the 30-minute, 32-second program essentially acts as a long blooper reel. It mainly includes outtakes, and Glover comments upon these. In addition, we get some comments from Donner, actors Mel Gibson and Joe Pesci, and producer Joel Silver.

We learn a little about some of the films and see some outtakes, behind the scenes shots and improvs essentially deals just with the first three movies, as it includes little about Lethal Weapon 4. It also shows the original ending to the first film. While not a great program, “Pure Lethal” probably will seem fun for fans of the series.

Lethal Weapon 4 provides a slapdash and limp affair that goes nowhere and provides a terrible ending to the series. Ripped out in record time, it shows its quick schedule and feels like the commercial product it is. The Blu-ray delivers excellent visuals and generally good audio along with a few interesting supplements. Although I have no big complaints about the Blu-ray, the movie itself remains a dud and a disappointment.

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.

To rate this film, visit the original review of LETHAL WEAPON 4

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