Lethal Weapon 4

Bomb Rating: 

As moments in my life go, watching "Lethal Weapon 4" ranks right up there with:

1. Walking into the street and seeing the aftermath of my cat being hit by a car.
2. Eating poisoned chicken in a Mexican restaurant and then spending half the night filling a toilet and a bathtub with vomit
3. That fall evening in 1984 when my mother had to break the news to me that Walter Mondale would not be the next President of the United States and that my extensive collection of nude Mondale/Ferraro engravings would be utterly worthless.

Had my proctologist given me my weekly examination with a jackhammer, it would have been less painful than this movie, which has finally dropped all pretense and turned Mel Gibson and Danny Glover into the Beavis and Butthead of law enforcement. The only real difference is that instead of peppering the incoherent dialogue with regular chants of "heh, heh, heh," we have Joe Pesci interjecting his "okay, okay, okays." If there's anything resembling character development in this movie, it's that Pesci's character, Leo Getz, has added a new word to his vocabulary: "whatever." Undoubtedly this expanded acting challenge was offered to Pesci after numerous letter writers promised Warner Brothers that they'd personally force a series of awkwardly shaped cooking utensils down Pesci's throat if they ever heard that "okay, okay, okay" again.

If there's anything remotely redeeming about this film it's that Jet Li is in it as the bad guy, a Hong Kong triad member. Unfortunately, I was so eager for him to decapitate the principal cast and clear the way for a semi-tolerable "Lethal Weapon 5" that when it didn't happen I nearly succeeded in killing an innocent ticket-taker with an acrobatic, 360-degree flying scissors kick. The story (if you really want to call it that) concerns immigrant smuggling and counterfeiting and is so disjointed it makes one long for a cinematic adaptation of "Finnegan's Wake."

The back stories are supposed to keep "Lethal Weapon" fans happy. Murtaugh might be on the take. He also doesn't know that a young detective, Lee Butters (Chris Rock), has married his daughter. Lorna (Rene Russo) is pregnant. Riggs is thinking of marrying her but is afraid his dead wife might be offended. Frankly, given this hideous aberration of a movie, I was surprised she didn't spin out of the grave from sheer torque.

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