Lethal Weapon Quadrilogy in 4 sentences (sort of)


By James Field

Having recently set myself the task of finding the optimum film for those times when the only neurons you need firing are left splattered around the mise en scene, I spent a full day binge watching all the Lethal Weapons and avoiding thoughts more complex than “Wow, cars in the 80s exploded really easily!”

With this fresh in mind, here is my attempt at a summary review of the epic love story of Riggs and Murtaugh, as fast paced and pithy as the action-packed shoot-first-quip-later life of an LA police detective back when police brutality and LAPD meant explody fun, and not horrendous institutional racism…simpler times.

Avert your eyes…SPOILERZ!

1) Mad Max is a cop on the edge but now he’s called Riggs and he’s even madder, or is he? either way his new partner Murtaugh is getting too old and repeatedly shot at for this shit, especially since someone drove a car into his house and the man to blame is the only person in the world crazier than Riggs, Gary Fucking Busey!! EXPLOSIONS!…but wait where’s Murtaugh’s daughter?…now it’s personal, time to… FIGHT IN THE RAIN!

2) Some time has passed, like Riggs’ crazy mid-distance stare, but the love of a good partner means now he’s not suicide crazy, phew, unfortunately aparteid South Africa is and it doesn’t care about personal growth because they’re arseholes and they don’t care about anything except exotic fish (apparently)! and don’t bother calling the explosion factory, everyone is out blowing the shit out of LA because some arian called ‘Convenient Plot Contrivance’ killed Riggs’ wife years ago, so now it’s REALLY personal! and Murtaugh’s house gets blown up again while he’s on the toilet POO BOOM BOOM!!

3) In a shocking new development someone at Warner Bros. needs to buy a gold plated yacht, so Riggs and Murtaugh are on the case, right after they solve the mystery of the missing plot, which seemingly disappeared along with the script somewhere after the final great quip of the last movie and before the first terrible one of this studio banker. Our heroes high-speed-sleep-walk between explosions and gunfights, something about a property developer, internal affairs is in there somewhere, I don’t know, Joe Pesci’s blonde now but it hasn’t made him any less annoying, but at least Rene Russo finally gives Riggs hope for a relationship that isn’t ruined by South Africans with diplomatic immunity that somehow means they do whatever the fuck they want anywhere, as long as they remember the right article to quote from a UN charter.

4) Hooray they’re back and this time everyones having babies, Riggs has a new era appropriate badass leather jacket, Murtaugh has stopped ageing allowing Riggs to catch up with him, and Jet Li AND Chris Rock are both in this movie!! I could stop there and it would already be a huge return to form, but wait…the Triads are doing bad things, whilst setting up Murtaugh for some nice social commentary and character development, Chris Rock is actually doing an impromtu standup routine in the middle of the movie (really, tell me it’s not), and OOOOWW SHIIIIT they’ve gone and done it, those pesky Triads have really gone and done it this time…now it’s SUPER SERIOUS PERSONAL! Jet Li and his posse try to kill pregnant mothers and Murtaugh’s house, yes, gets destroyed again. Leading to a menage a trois punch fest in the rain between Riggs, Murtaugh and Jet Li. KPOW! BANG! A genuinely awesome end to the saga, so satisfying that we allow them an overly sentimental baby-birthing/hospital-marriage/family-photo epilogue, “no, we’re a family” Ugh!

Aaaaand breathe…

I might have got carried away, that was more like four paragraphs than sentences in the end, but give me break it’s been a long day. Fuck it “I’m getting too old for this shit!”

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