Lethal Weapon 4

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Details At A Glance

Category Action Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 3 (Lethal Weapons 1, 2, and 3)
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time
122 minutes
(not 127 as per cover)
Other Extras Cast & Crew Biographies
Featurette-Pure Lethal-Outtakes 1/2/3 (31 mins)
Featurette-Cut/Extended Scenes 1/2/3 (17 mins)
Cast & Crew Interviews
Featurette-B-Roll Footage (10 mins)
RSDL/Flipper Flipper for Extras
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 4 Director Richard Donner

Warner Home Video
Starring Mel Gibson
Danny Glover
Joe Pesci
Rene Russo
Chris Rock
Jet Li
Case Snapper
RRP $29.95 Music Michael Kamen
Eric Clapton
David Sanborn

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision ?
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes

Plot Synopsis

    They should have stopped after 3. That's the conclusion I have come to after watching Lethal Weapon 4 for the first time today - I gave it a miss at the cinema. The first three movies were great. This one is a dud. Sure, the explosions are bigger and the action is more intense, but this is the first time in a Lethal Weapon movie where the script is really bad.

    Mel Gibson and Danny Glover reprise their roles as Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. Joe Pesci as Leo Getz is reduced by this script to a cartoon-like buffoon with little comedic merit ("OK, OK, OK"). Rene Russo also returns as Lorna Cole, this time heavily pregnant with Martin's baby. Chris Rock, the most annoying comic in America, plays Lee Butters, who is married to Roger's daughter who is also heavily pregnant, all somehow unbeknownst to Roger. The main villain of this piece is Jet Li playing Wah Sing Ku, a representative of a Chinese Triad who prefers hand-to-hand combat to do his killing.

    Other than Jet Li who makes an excellent and very nasty arch-villain, all the other characters are one-dimensional, and quite secondary to the progression from one action sequence to the next. Interspersed between the action sequences are painfully bad attempts at the typical banter between the characters, which in the past had been very well done and was one of the hallmarks of the Lethal Weapon series.

    All-in-all, even though the explosions are bigger and better than ever before, and the stunts are bigger and better than ever before, Lethal Weapon 4 left me very disappointed. There is one bright spot - the DVD is rated MA, whereas the Australian theatrical release was rated M - some gore has been reinstated into this transfer.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is terrible to start with, but then improves about 15 minutes in.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was very sharp and clear at all times. Shadow detail was excellent, and there was no low level noise.

    The colour in the first 15 minutes or so of the movie was grossly oversaturated, and was terrible to look at. This improved, but remained quite heavily saturated throughout. This is a movie that is best watched with the colour control turned down a few notches.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of more aliasing than I would have liked to see in a current Warner Brothers transfer, but it remained at an acceptable level. Film artefacts were basically non-existent, as you would expect in a movie of this recent vintage.


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD; an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    Dialogue was almost inaudible for the first 15 minutes of the movie, being both unclear and drowned out by ambience. This was very irritating and was a major problem with this movie, not that the dialogue was all that good to begin with. This did improve as the movie progressed (the relative volume of the dialogue, not the quality of the dialogue).

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The musical score was by Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton and David Sanborn. Nothing remarkable here.

     The surround channels were aggressively used by the soundtrack for copious gunshots and explosions. It is a real pity about the nearly inaudible dialogue at the start of the movie, as otherwise this is an excellent soundtrack, superbly enveloping.

   The .1 channel, for the first time in quite a while on my system, received a serious workout, with nearly continuous use to support the special effects. It was well-integrated into the overall soundtrack.


    There are lots of extras on this disc, all contained on Side B except for the Cast & Crew Biographies which are on both sides of the disc. Unless otherwise noted, all the Side B material is presented in an aspect ratio of 4:3, non-16x9 enhanced with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound.


    The main menu is plain and functional. It is 16x9 enhanced.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    These are of average length.
Featurette - Pure Lethal (31 mins)

    This is narrated by an oddly-animated Danny Glover, and consists of outtakes from the first 3 Lethal Weapon movies. This is a good watch.
Featurette - Cut/Extended Scenes, Lethal Weapons 1, 2 and 3 (17 mins)
    These are three separate featurettes showing a number of scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor. They are presented sans narration, which makes them considerably less interesting than the Pure Lethal featurette, but they are a worthwhile contribution. They are presented in the original aspect ratios of the first three movies.

Interview Gallery - Cast & Crew

    Roadshow Home Entertainment, take note. This is how to present Cast & Crew Interviews, each one as one sequence with the questions displayed in between shots. These are quite interesting to watch.

Featurette - B-Roll Footage (10 mins)

    This consists of over-the-shoulder shots of the filming of the movie, much in the same vein as Roadshow Home Entertainment "Making Of" featurettes. This is unnarrated, and is of limited interest.

Theatrical Trailers - Lethal Weapons 1, 2, 3, and 4

    All four movies' trailers are here. It is interesting to compare the increasing sophistication of the trailers over time, starting with a dated mono-sounding trailer for Lethal Weapon 1 to the surround-encoded Lethal Weapon 4 trailer.

Missing Extras

    We miss out on the Director's Commentary track of the Region 1 disc.


    All the action in the world cannot hide a poor script. Lethal Weapon 4 has a poor script. I suggest a rental of this disc before you purchase it.

    The video quality is good except for early on where the colour is grossly oversaturated.

    The audio quality is great except for early on where the dialogue is all but inaudible.

    The extras present are comprehensive, and only lacking in a director's commentary track (this is present on the Region 1 version of this disc).

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
19th May 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer